Chanukah Is About Community

Chanukah_MarcLevin-webDoesn’t all that Thanksgivingukkah business feel so 5774? Chanukah is once again in its rightful place, with time to digest the turkey before making latkes and sufganiyot, but the Festival of Lights is not too far off. In fact, many of our community partners have already been organizing Chanukah tzedakah projects to benefit families and individuals who would not otherwise be able to afford gifts, special foods or basics for the holiday.

Each year, Jewish community groups and individual donors participate in the Chanukah Tzedakah Program. Some are matched with a particular family or individual and provide gifts specifically identified by their “match” recipients. Others donate gifts and gift cards that are distributed at the discretion of the Emergency Services team. And this year, one group is organizing a toiletries drive to help stock the Polack Food Bank with much-needed self-care items.

We decided to ask students, teachers and parents at the Stroum Jewish Community Center Early Childhood School to share some of their reflections about their participation in this special holiday program.

How does the Chanukah Tzedakah Program help you teach Jewish values?
“It helps us teach the kids about tikkun olam, or repairing the world. It is up to us and in our hands to take care of the world, to make it the place we want it to be and to fulfill our responsibility as Jews and citizens of the world.” ­– Parent

“By giving, we are showing that we don’t live for just ourselves, that we have community and must tend to that community in order to have prosperous and meaningful lives. It is unlikely any of us can live without some sense of support or community, and so we must contribute to maintain that environment.” – Parent

Why is it important to give?
“Tzedakah is a core Jewish value, and this program expressly shows our children how we implement this value. It allows us to ‘do’ and to teach by ‘doing.’”-Teacher

“Torah said it is a commandment.” –Student

“It’s important to understand and internalize the experience of giving because it actually makes you feel a certain way about yourself and those around you. It makes you aware of goodness and helps you identify who you are and how you want to live your life.”-Parent

“Not everyone has what you have.” ­-Student

How do you feel when you give?
“We feel a sense of warmth and happiness.” -Parent

“Responsible.” -Parent

“Fulfilled and proud.” -Parent

“Love.” -Student

On behalf of all the people who will receive some things they need and some things they want this Chanukah, we thank the individuals and groups who are participating in the 2014 Chanukah Tzedakah Program.

Frockt.VBy Deborah Frockt

Deb Frockt is Director of Marketing & Communications. She enjoys baking, beaching and learning about golf, both kinds of football, fashion and pop music from her husband and sons.


Feature image by Marc Levin.

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