A Word from Rabbi Schulman - 6/22/18

Last week, I wrote about 26 national Jewish organizations who signed a letter opposing the Administration’s “zero-tolerance” policy for those seeking asylum in America. This week, an additional 325 Jewish communal organizations and synagogues added their names protesting the abhorrent practice of separating children from their parents.

I cannot recall any other issue in recent memory that has produced such across the board agreement in American Jewry. Sadly, it has taken the mistreatment of vulnerable children to generate this Jewish communal consensus.

Now for some brighter news. As you hopefully are aware, this past year teens at Temple studied tzedakah. Over the course of months they examined Jewish texts as a prism for determining non-profit organizations they wanted to support.

They initially suggested twenty different organizations. Eventually, our teens selected three. Big Dawgs Rescue, which saves the lives of homeless and abandoned pets, embodies the Jewish value of Tza’ar Ba’alei Chayim, not causing harm to living things. Greenpeace is an organization dedicated to combatting climate change, symbolizing the sanctity of life and our human responsibility to care for our planet. Lastly, Planned Parenthood was selected because our teens value its promotion of education so that women can make informed choices about reproductive health care.

Our teens promoted these three groups at our Lag B’Omer celebration. Adults in attendance had the opportunity to “chip in” their votes for any of the three organizations.

Big Dawgs got the most votes with Greenpeace and Planned Parenthood tied for second. And here’s the really good part. This wasn’t just a theoretical exercise for the students. Real dollars were involved: $3226 to be exact. That’s how much was in the tzedakah fund donated by B. Mitzvah families and students in Religious School over many years.

This week, checks were cut to the three organizations. Big Dawgs Rescue received half: $1613. Planned Parenthood and Greenpeace each received $806.50.

In the end, this was a win-win-win for everyone involved with our Sababa Sunday program. Our students learned about tzedakah and applied their knowledge in a real world manner. The generosity of adults was rewarded by seeing our teenagers become active participants in distributing their donations. Lastly, three worthy organizations received significant contribution of support. All of us at TBT can feel proud of our teens, our members, and our acts of righteousness.

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