The Game That Pays Out

Two years ago, during the passing and throwing of the mahjong tiles, Joanne DePalma had an idea. It was her feeling that the women who play their weekly game at Adat Chaverim should somehow and in someway contribute to the building of a future home for Adat Chaverim.

Her idea? To contribute a quarter from each player (both regular players and substitutes) when a “wall game” occurs. Great idea! The eight ladies in the regular game bought into this idea

So, what is a “wall game?” Seasoned mahjong players will know the answer to this question. For those who have not had the privilege of playing the game, mahjong requires that a set pattern and combination of tiles is needed to win a game. The patterns are dictated by an official card. The specific tiles of the patterns and combinations that is chosen by an individual player is played out with three other players by picking, passing or throwing tiles until someone completes the chosen pattern and calls “MahJong!” Players pick tiles from a “wall” which is setup in front of each player. As each play picks a tile the walls diminish. For many mahjong groups the winner of the hand is entitled to a small monetary payment – usually $.25 or more (depending on the complexity of the hand). And, then, the play begins again.

A “wall game” occurs when no one player “calls” for mahjong – has the correct tiles, in the correct pattern to win the “hand.” How often does this happen in an evening of games. According to player Susan Schniderman, not too often. “Maybe once or twice in an evening,” Barbara Schwartz chimed in with additional agreement from the group – who were busy playing out a hand.

So, starting after the High Holy Days of 2014, the Tuesday Evening Ladies Mahjong group decided they wanted to buy into the new synagogue. For two years – ending with the High Holy Days of 2016, each regular player and each substitute contributed a quarter when a “wall” game occurred.

And, it paid off. The group proudly presented a check for $500 to Terry Sigle, Chair of the Capital Campaign. Now, that’s a lot of quarters!

“We’re very proud (to contribute)” remarked Joann DePalma.

Thanks to:
Natala Assa, Joann DePalma, Donna Flushman, Lee Greenstein, Linda Kalman, Bobbie London, Susan Schniderman and Barbara Schwartz and the Mahjong substitutes – our ladies of the Tuesday Evening Mahjong Game