Baruch Hashem, we made it!
Baruch Hashem, we surpassed our goal of $6,000 for our annual Rosh Hashanah Appeal. Thanks to everyone who participated and helped us reach it. It is a true testament to the amazing generosity exhibited by our community. May Hashem bless you with a happy, healthy and sweet new year!
Someone recently commented that this community is amazing, because every year as I am faced with the challenge of raising the necessary monies, the community rises to the challenge. And indeed, a quick Google search brings up the fact that the Jewish community is the most philanthropic. I started to wonder why that is the case.
Truly, giving our hard-earned money to charity is not natural for most. When one is inundated with requests for funds from various organizations, how many solicitations end up in the recycling bin without even being opened?
I think a few factors make the Jewish people especially giving. To start with, the Torah teaches, “You shall surely give a 10th of your produce,” which we understand to mean a 10th of our net income to charity. This has been ingrained in us since the founding of our nation. Furthermore, the Rabbis tell us that if we give our proper tithe, that Hashem will repay us in kind. However, if we give less, our net income will be reduced proportionally.
In addition, historically, when we lived in other countries, the ruling governments allowed us to be self-governing, for the most part, because we collected the various taxes as determined by the Torah and took care of our own people. The governments were happy to leave us alone as long as they received the money that they wanted.
There is also a concept in Jewish thought, namely “kol Yisrael araivim zeh b’zeh”- that we are all interconnected and responsible for each other. We rejoice with each other and mourn with each other. It doesn’t matter where we are in the world, when we hear of a Jewish community in peril, we do whatever we can, because they are our family. Family helps family without wanting reciprocity. This may also be a reason that we don’t send invitations to a brit milah or, chas v’shalom - G-d forbid, a house of mourning. Family doesn’t need such formalities; we only have to show up.
These reasons may be the underlying causes of our community’s largesse. Regardless, all I can say is “Thank you” for once again answering my call. I look forward to our continued partnership.
Rabbi Fred Nebel
Director of Jewish Family Services,
Jewish Federation of St. Joseph Valley
Phone: (574) 233-1164