Dear Readers,

As the editor of, I appreciate the far reach and power that the Internet has in creating and spreading positive learning experiences. I regularly receive communication from readers in remote places who are so appreciative of being part of our virtual community. And I cherish every single one of these letters.

But it wasn’t until recently that I discovered how technology can actually transform a neighborhood into a community—connecting strangers and making them into one big family, while providing daily practical help.

When we moved to Pomona in Upstate New York, I was asked by different neighbors if I wanted to be put on various WhatsApp groups. Before long, I was on a block chat, several neighborhood groups, a school-bus group, a shul group and more!

Daily, I get updates about where the school bus is on its long winding route, which helps us know how much time until the bus will be at our corner. Weekly, I hear about learning opportunities, shul times and other interesting community activities or programs. I also learn about clothes, toys or furniture that is no longer needed and can be picked up to be used by others, recommendations for doctors, cleaning help or information about fixing things around the house.

But as I read the chats, I notice something even more amazing.

“Anyone have a bottle of milk that they can spare till next week, so I don’t have to run to the store right now?”

“Anyone driving to ... (nearby town) who can pick up a package for me?”

“Anyone happen to be in the kosher supermarket now that can pick me up something that’s waiting and paid for at the customer-service counter?”

And surprisingly, within seconds, the positive responses come in, offering lifts to locations, packages dropped off, extra groceries purchased and so much more.

Even more amazingly, I am noticing that the good will just keeps on spreading as more and more people offer their time or resources to help others.

A new friend who recently moved to the area told me in synagogue this past Shabbat, “I couldn’t believe how many people were offering to inconvenience themselves in order to help out others that they don’t even know in our community. When I saw that, I, too, felt that I wanted to do whatever I can to help. Instead of ignoring a request or thinking let someone else volunteer, I just want to jump in and be the one to respond!”

Goodness is so contagious! One small act to help another quickly multiplies into am entire neighborhood of people eager to help one another.

When seeing a community so organized and connected—and so willing to help—it makes me wonder how wonderful it would be to have this in every neighborhood!

Can you share ways, small or big, in which we can make our communities or neighborhoods better?

(And yes, I do have an unopened bottle of milk to spare. With pleasure!)

Chana Weisberg

Editor, TJW