Giving Tuesday

Rabbi's Message - November 30, 2021

Rabbi Tina Sobo

It’s been a big weekend for Jewish Americans.  First there was Thanksgiving, with its meal prep, traditionally large gatherings, or pandemically small ones.  Then we could take advantage of Black Friday deals (last minute Chanukkah shopping anyone?).  Then Shabbat.  Then Chanukkah began on Sunday.  Then perhaps we also took a look at Cyber Monday deals from the COVID-safety of our homes.  And now, it's Tuesday.  But its still not just a regular Tuesday, its #GivingTuesday, which much like the American Thanksgiving traditions and commercial “holidays” around it, has grown in prominence over the last several years.

Giving Tuesday, the Tuesday following Thanksgiving.  The Tuesday which, as Rabbi Paul Kipnes writes, “moves us away from the popular narcissistic ‘gimme-gimme’ culture (gimme presents, gimme food) instead turns us outward.  We find ourselves being especially thankful for the food, the family surrounding us and the blessings that uplift our lives.  If only we could harness those warm fuzzy feelings and transform them into a force for tikkun… [Giving Tuesday] is a day when we are invited to give to others to act to create a better, brighter world.”  And this year, may it feel especially bright as we light our menorahs.

Whether you are waiting for online orders to arrive, or looking at a shiny new something purchased this weekend or not.  Whether you, or those in your household, are excitedly opening presents for Chanukkah, take some time today to give.  Be that monetarily to your preferred charities, donating new or used goods to others, or be that a simple act of kindness, or something else – use today to think about balancing the gratitude we have for the blessings in our lives represented by Thanksgiving, and for the freedom that Chanukkah represents, with acts that turn us outward to bring freedom and blessings to others.

I hope to see you tonight at Temple Israel to celebrate Chanukkah on this Giving Tuesday at our drive-thru and outdoor menorah lighting.  We encourage you to bring some donations from St. Vincent’s needs list, as we partner with them on this Giving Tuesday along with our Chanukkah fun!

Giving Tuesday

Giving Tuesday

Rabbi’s Message – December 1, 2020

Rabbi Karen Bodney-Halasz

This year has sent us into such unchartered territory, but fortunately, we have been able to weather this storm together as a congregation.   As we continue to navigate these waves of challenges, we can reflect on the ways we have adapted to our new environment.  
Our caring committee spearheaded outreach efforts to help alleviate feelings of isolation and loneliness.  We also developed new methods to continue meaningful Jewish living as a community.  It was a year of firsts: our first online annual congregational meeting, a “Zoom-Mitzvah,” virtual High Holiday services, and even holiday drive-thru experiences.  Our regular, ongoing programs such as Shabbat worship services, Torah study, and religious school look different, but still evoke the essence of Temple Israel.  While we may be physically separated, we are finding creative ways to lift one another up, increase our connectedness, and grow in our knowledge of Torah.
All of these things have only been possible because of members like you who have stepped up your participation and giving.  Your donations directly support the work of our rabbis and staff, and the programs and services that directly impact you, our friends, and our neighbors.  Thank you for your continued generosity even as you, too, have experienced the impact of this pandemic. 
Today has been designated as “Giving Tuesday,” which reminds us that we all have gifts to give and every act of generosity, big or small, makes a significant impact.  Please consider lending a helping hand to those most impacted by this pandemic by making a year-end donation to Temple Israel in honor of Giving Tuesday.  Your support will enable us to remain connected through kindness even without physical proximity.  Together we can continue to provide the financial, emotional and social supports that nurture our families and communities. 
Every act of giving, big or small, moves us closer in our quest of tikkun olam, repairing the world.  One day the storm will be over, but until then we must walk together in the rain.  Thank you for considering a year-end donation to Temple Israel.
May we all go forward in strength and good health.