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Rabbi Mendelson's Shiur Performs Chesed Shel Emes

by Noam Putterman ('18)


This past Monday, Rabbi Mendelson's shiur ventured to Bayside Cemetery, located in Queens, New York, to engage in a true Chesed Shel Emes - an act of kindness which cannot be compensated for. They were to spend their morning and part of their afternoon cleaning this old Jewish cemetery of branches, logs, and debris, while also clearing frayed and decrepit gravestones. Upon arrival, the talmidim were treated to apples and granola bars while taking a seat at the entrance of the cemetery.

They listened to an interactive lecture from a representative of Community Alliance for Jewish-Affiliated Cemeteries (CAJAC). It began with a brief history of the Jews and cemeteries in America, and ended with the current situation of some Jewish cemeteries: unclean, many unmarked graves, and disorganized records. The lecture made clear the need for the talmidim to participate in this act of chesed, and respect the dead by cleaning their resting places.

The talmidim were divided into two groups: those who would pick up logs and sticks, and those who would clean the graves. The latter was done by spraying a solution of vinegar and water on the grave and cleaning it with a brush. Although the gravestones were not immediately cleaned, the talmidim were assured that rain would eventually complete the cleaning process. Later, the groups switched, and the trip ended with a Kaddish led by Yaakov Lauer ('18). The talmidim of Rabbi Mendelson's shiur were thrilled with being able to perform this selfless chesed, and look forward to participating in more opportunities for meaningful acts of kindness.