Dear Editor,

This letter is what I would refer to as a human interest story, and considering the happenings in our world these past several weeks, especially in the Middle East, I felt this was a relevant and poignant story.

Sitting in my office this past Thursday afternoon were four women. Each came from distinctly different backgrounds, values, beliefs. One who I refer to as an "Angel" is an African-American woman of the cloth, another an American born Latina, an American born converted Muslim, and a Jewish one. I was a participant observer in this important, moving, and life saving meeting. One of them is in dire physical condition and needs an organ transplant and continuous medical attention with procedures done on a regular basis, in order to keep her alive. I wish I could use this forum to tell her "story", but that would go against all my professional values and ethics, and would risk my client's need and desire for anonymity. 

For weeks during the late summer, I attempted as an advocate for the one in question to reach out to several social services colleagues throughout the city and county, to see if I could enlist their assistance in helping with care for this woman. My request was that someone take on the role of "sponsor", agreeing to escort her to the transplant team meeting saying she will advocate on client's behalf in order to just get onto a transplant list. I emailed, phoned, practically begged for help for this mother. I wanted to believe the Muslim community would rally around their own, but I was shocked and dismayed that the kindness I expected to be able to receive on her behalf, was actually shunned. I was stunned and saddened.

I kept saying I was looking for an Angel, but my words were not listened to by anyone. But then, not ever ready to give up, I made one last call. This one was not futile, it in fact proved to be fruitful, and the" Angel" I so desperately sought, was found. I called the Paterson Pastor's Workshop, and because of these truly caring people who not only talk about helping mankind, but who actually rise to the occasion, gave their commitment to be there for this Muslim woman, as she fights for her life.

I don't quite understand the world I live in anymore as civility seems to be a thing of the past, caring seems only reserved for self, way too many talk the talk of peace and believing in humanity. When it comes right down to the line however, those very same people are not willing to step up to show their real sense of humanity. It's so very easy to talk. It's quite something else to put oneself on the line to do what's necessary to help another in need. The willingness of the Paterson Pastor's Workshop to stand up when the call was made has somewhat restored my faith in humanity, and to them I say," L' Chaim"!, to Life; to the belief that in all of us is the inherent desire to not alone talk the talk of having humanity, but are willing to prove their words. Their words, as so few others to me today, have meaning, and to them I say a very hearty, Thank you for your magnanimous gesture towards someone in need, and for being mensches - good, ethical people.....a rarity in these times.

Jackie Ross