In my sermon a few weeks ago (and reprinted here on the website) I wrote about Hanukkah, the gifting that takes place at this season and the ways in which many tangible gifts are, in fact, unwanted by the recipient. I wrote
…perhaps we need to rethink the balance and direct some of our part of that $4 billion toward doing something that will make a difference. The number of organizations that can benefit from such philanthropy is tremendous. But even more powerful than our individual gift is the way our actions can be expanded when done as part of a larger community.
What if, for example, this year each of our households were to pick an issue and not only donate to it, but also promote it within our Temple community. It could be as simple as sending us an email that says,
“For Chanukah this year we made a family donation to ___ organization in place of a gift one night. As part of that gift we want to tell you about the organization, why we picked it, how they do good in the world and how you too can get involved.”
Striking the right balance is what I’d like to encourage this year, and I would love to see members of our community using our Temple website, our Temple blog, and our Temple Facebook page to share their answers to those questions.
Temple member/leader Debbie Bernstein was kind enough to share the following-
This Chanukah, my family will be donating to the Ronald McDonald House Charities.
I began donating to this charity about twenty years ago when my friends started having children and I wanted to celebrate the birth of a baby by making a donation to a cause that specifically helps families More recently, friends of ours had the need to stay in a Ronald McDonald House while their son, Jake, was treated for cancer.
Last year, Jake began a wonderful tradition of making pancake breakfasts for the children and families staying at the Ronald McDonald House near Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital. My son, Ben, joined his good friend in this labor of love (and flour and eggs and syrup).
The website for this charity is http://www.rhmc.org.
We wish you all a Happy Chanukah!
Debbie, Andy, Ben, Jordan and Cameron
If your family is doing something similar please let us know. It is a wonderful way for us all to bring a bit more light into the world this Hanukkah.