All Dressed Up And No Place To Go


My routine blood test was scheduled for 8:30 this morning.  I was so excited to be going to someplace, anyplace, that I considered wearing a suit to the University Hospital building in Chagrin Highlands.  I didn’t.  Wearing a suit would be counter-productive to a blood test.  I may wear one tomorrow, just to sit by myself in the office.  The tie could be optional.

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I saw this on Facebook.  The woman was complaining about her governor, Andrew Cuomo, closing access to her country club’s golf course.  In a country where over 20,000 of our fellow citizens have died from a pandemic and at least 500,000 people are known to have been diagnosed with this terrible illness, this woman’s biggest problem involves a sand wedge.  Our doctors, nurses, police, and paramedics are rushing headlong into harm’s way, knowing full well that they lack the protective gear to insure their own safety.  Millions of workers have lost their source of income.  And small business owners like dentists, barbers, restaurateurs, and retail store owners have shut their doors with no guarantee whether they will ever reopen.   These people represent the best of us.  Wynton Marsalis recently said, “Let’s see if we are who we said we were before this”.   That challenge is today.

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Linked In has devolved into a second-rate Facebook.  The only difference, some days, is the lack of kitten pictures.  A recent Linked In post noted a $1,000,000 contribution to COVID 19 research from Dolly Parton.  You needn’t be a Dolly Parton fan, or even like country music, to know that Ms. Parton has generously donated to worthy causes for years.  And, a million bucks is a million bucks.  But it wasn’t enough for some people.  Instead of appreciating her effort, or simply ignoring the post, some felt it necessary to criticize the amount.  It wasn’t enough.  After all, Dolly Parton is very successful and wealthy.  She should be giving more.  You’ve seen these posts on various social media platforms.  Pick a name, you know them, Bloomberg, Bezos, Gates.  What are they doing and why aren’t they doing more?  Truly those are the wrong questions.  Bloomberg, Parton, et al don’t need to answer to us.  The right question is what are we doing?  Now is the time to step up any way we can.  Some of us will donate money to food banks, churches, synagogues, and other organizations that will get food and services to the people who need our help the most.  Others are sewing masks and helping health care workers and the most at risk gain greater safety.  Food distribution centers need volunteers.  There are a myriad of ways to help.

Jewish tradition teaches us that there are eight levels of Tzedakah, charitable giving.  According to Maimonides:

The highest form of charity is to help sustain a person before they become impoverished by offering a substantial gift in a dignified manner, or by extending a suitable loan, or by helping them find employment or establish themselves in business so as to make it unnecessary for them to become dependent on others.

 We each have the opportunity to help our fellow Americans today.  You don’t need to put on a suit.  And you won’t need a putter.

Stay Safe.  Stay Healthy.


Picture – All Dressed Up And No Place To Go – David L Cunix