The power of one plus one


It’s amazing what can happen when one person of good will decides to take action.

On Aug. 26, a drunk yobo urinated on the prayer rugs of a mosque in Queens, NY, before flipping worshippers the bird. Blogger Rachel Barenblat, aka the Velveteen Rabbi, was appalled.

Barenblat, who is also a Renewal rabbinical student, put out a call via Twitter and on her blog, asking for donations to help the mosque steam-clean the rugs. She wanted the mosque to know there are plenty of Americans who haven’t given in to the current wave of Muslim bigotry sweeping the nation.

Within 48 hours she’d raised $1,180, mostly in small increments of $5, $10, $18 and $20.

I’m sitting back and marveling at the awesome things we can accomplish when we pull together…A few people mentioned being low-income; many people said they wished they could give more. But small donations add up, and there’s something incredibly moving for me in the fact that we raised over a thousand dollars in one weekend in this way. I hope we’ve been able to show our Muslim friends and neighbors (offline and online) that despite the recent rise in Islamophobia, those who are preaching fear and hatred do not represent all of us.

Last week she sent off the check, which mosque administrators told her will go toward buying a new prayer rug.

Barenblat hopes to be ordained in January 2011.


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