For many, the term “December dilemma” brings to mind comparisons between Christmas and Hanukkah. This year, with the holidays in close proximity to one another, some thought provoking conversations about identity, observance, tradition, sensitivity and of course, retail trends, are inevitable. However, regardless of one’s faith, or consumer proclivities, a more subtle, but meaningful December “dilemma” is ever-present: where, how much, and when to give. With year-end tax incentives closing in, the “festival of philanthropy” is upon us!
Charitable giving is a core value that resonates strongly with the Jewish holiday cycle. Tax breaks aside, the festivals give us pause to reflect upon our religious freedom, good fortune, and the tradition of tzedakah that serves to elevate the season. On Purim, we encourage matanot l’evyonim (gifts to the poor), on Pesach we give ma’ot chitten (literally “money for wheat”), before Yom Kippur we hold food drives, and so on. During Hanukkah, we give gelt - not just to our loved ones, but to the causes we love.
Over the past month, email, print media, snail mail and voice mail have all become important vehicles for fundraising. The spike in the volume of “asks” is overwhelming - so many good causes, limited funds, and little time. And so, with only one week left to 2011, we hope that BHI will also merit your careful philanthropic consideration.
With our mission of supporting student scholarships, Jewish education, and important Judaic resources, the Baltimore Hebrew Institute at Towson University continues to enrich our community in countless ways. In just over two years, Towson University has become home to a thriving array of both undergraduate, graduate, and adult education courses and programs. BHI is proud of its affiliated faculty’s achievements, community events, and the exceptional BHI Judaica Collection at the Albert Cook Library on campus.
Next week, Towson University will launch the first Israel Immersion Study Abroad program. Fourteen students will travel to Israel with Dr. Hana Bor to study and experience the richness of this extraordinary country. This interdisciplinary course entitled Exploring Cross-Cultural Educational and Social Services in Baltimore and Israel will engage this diverse group of students from the College of Education and the College of Liberal Arts in exploring Israeli approaches to education and family services and applying those experiences to their work in Baltimore. Along with studying, students on this trip will volunteer in Ashkelon working with Ethiopian children, the senior community and children with developmental challenges.
To learn more about what’s happenning at BHI and Towson University, check our BHI website newsletter archives. And let us help you with your December dilemma!
Please click here for gifts to the BHI Judaica Collection, or here for gifts to scholarship or program support (use the comments box to direct your gift for unique purposes).
OR, mail tax deductible gifts payable to:
Baltimore Hebrew Institute
8000 York Rd.
Towson, MD 21252
Wishing you a joyous and light-filled holiday and a wonderful 2012!
Erika Pardes Schon