The Human Side of the Story

For the week ending 9 July 2011 / 6 Tammuz 5771

The Coat Merry-Go-Round

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

One of the beautiful features of religious communal life in Israelis the service provided by the used clothes centers popularly known as gemachim (GEMilAt CHassadim). These centers receive used clothes from local contributors and foreign charitable organizations and distribute them to needy families, or offer them for sale at token prices and then apply the income to other charitable projects.

In their haste to clear their homes of long-unused clothes families sometimes mistakenly place an item that is currently in use into the packages they bring to centers. A woman recently called the Kiryat Mattersdorf, Jerusalem branch of the "Beged Yad Leyad" network of used clothes centers to report that she had mistakenly included her young daughter’s coat in the package she had brought there. She could not afford to buy a new coat and when informed by the center’s director that it was virtually impossible to locate her daughter’s coat in the mountains of clothes to be sorted, the distraught lady put in a request to buy a used girl’s coat if one turned up in the sorting process. It wasn’t long before such a coat became available and reached its happy customer. Then came another call from this lady to the director, laughingly informing her that the coat she received was exactly the one she had mistakenly given away!

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