Saturday, September 20, 2014

Broadway & 37th Street on the Mitzvah Tank

Broadway and 37th street in Manhattan is in the heart of the garment district, and the tank parks there every thursday afternoon. On my previous is it on Tuesday, the rabbi suggested I stop by to meet some interesting people. I was not disappointed. There was a constant stream of regulars who work in the area and stopped in to put on t'filin and schmooze with the rabbi. The two gentlemen who worked the street outside the tank, asking passers-by if they were Jewish, discovered two men who said they had never worn t'filin (at least not since their bar mitzvah fifty or city years previously). Women stopped in also, just to listen to the sound of the shofar. At 3pm a group gathered for the afternoon prayer, and afterwards for the reading of the Torah portion for the day. And once again I was granted the mitzvah fulfilling the Levi aliya. It was a very fulfilling day, and I got quite a few pictures to boot.

Some women stopped in to listen to the shofar:

 Regulars stopped by just to say hello, give some tzedakah, and put on t'filin:

A group of young yeshiva students were visiting the area, bought some kosher pizza, and said hello to the rabbi:

 And we read the torah portion for the day:

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Mitzvah Tank on 47th Street

On Tuesday afternoon I spent a few hours with the good people of the Mitzvah Tank that  is found at various locations in Manhattan during the week. The 'tank', operated by Rabbi Levi Baumgarten, is an outreach facility of the Chabad Lubavitch Hasidim based in Grown Heights, Brooklyn. The 'tank' offers a facility for Jews to participate in a short afternoon prayer service ( Mincha), put on t'filin, and at this time of year - for a month before the Rosh Hashana holiday - to hear the sound of the shofar. Usually one or more of the people with the 'tank' stand outside and ask passers-by if they are Jewish. If not, they are honored with a 'God bless you, have a good day'. If they are, however, the mitzvah-tanker will invite them (if it's a man) to put on t'filin and/or (it it's a woman) to listen to the shofar.

I love to photograph the action inside the 'tank' and out on the street. On Tuesday the tank started out on 42nd Street and Madison Ave. and then moved to the 47th Street diamond district. Tomorrow I'm hoping to spend the afternoon on the 'tank' in the garment district (on 37th Street).

Here's some pics of the action on Tuesday: