“This is what my mother taught me,” insisted Bethia as she refused a financial reward for returning a missing wallet to its owner. “I did it because it’s the right thing to do, not for payment.”
Bethia is a longtime housekeeper for Caring Professionals’ program for Holocaust survivors. Each week she visits several homes in Boro Park where she helps out with light housekeeping, shopping, and errands. Originally from El Salvador, she works hard to provide for her family and sends money home to her aging parent. It’s not easy for her and sometimes she doesn’t have carfare at the end of the month.
As Bethia headed for the B train two weeks ago on a Tuesday afternoon, she found a blue wallet on the sidewalk. Opening it up while she waited for the train, she saw that it contained $820 in cash and some bills that had Hebrew letters. I will take it tomorrow to the woman I work for and she will help me locate the person who lost the wallet, she thought.
Mrs. W. was happy to help out. She found a cell phone number in the wallet and was able to locate the young Israeli man who was able to identify it. He was a chasan who had come to the U.S. for a wedding on Lag BaOmer. He was overjoyed to find that someone had found his wallet, papers, and money. He arranged to meet Mrs. W. and brought a cash gift for Bethia to show his appreciation for the safe return of his wallet.
Bethia refused to take it. She adheres to a higher standard. She once found $200 sticking out of a sefer and returned it to the retired rabbi for whom she cleans, says Mrs. L. She is famous at Caring Professionals for finding a hidden stash of $25,000 behind a refrigerator that she moved during her preparations of the home for Pesach. Her Holocaust-survivor patient had hidden it there “in case I have to run.”
Respect for her Jewish patients and all matters associated with their faith is another hallmark of her character, besides her honesty. When Bethia cleans a room, she is careful with sefarim. When she finds items with Hebrew writing in the street, she brings them to Mrs. L. to put into sheimos. She is interested in the faith of her patients and listens regularly to a radio program that features a Jewish rabbi. “ I pray to G-d to redeem the Jews, His favorites. I hope that I will go along when He takes them back to the Holy Land since I work for several Jewish families. I hope to go along and see what happens to these people.”
Caring Professionals’ home health aides and housekeepers are carefully vetted to take care of your loved one with knowledge of the Jewish traditions, honesty, and compassion. Reach out to us for private pay coverage, Medicaid home care, Holocaust-survivor services, and CDPAP (Consumer Directed Personal Care) services. Families have been trusting us for 25 years because we care. Our supportive coordinators have matchless customer service skills and will ensure that you have good help. Your patient’s safety and your peace of mind are paramount to us.
A veteran nonprofit leader, Faigie Horowitz, MS is a columnist, motivational speaker, and active community rebbetzin in Lawrence.