How Can I Not?


110813_laura-blackI believe we are all more the same than different. We try to be good parents, children, siblings and friends. We strive to live by good values.

We want to provide for our families. We want to see our children reach their own goals and define their own paths. We want to laugh, and we want to feel.  We want to do, and we want to experience. We yearn to learn, and we seek to teach.

We want to cherish our loved ones, and we want to cherish sacred moments. We want good health. And we want purpose. We want to feel valued, and we want strong connections.

We all just do the best that we can. But sometimes that’s not enough. Sometime we just can’t.

Some of us are hungry. Some of us are lacking for shelter. Some of us cannot afford our medicines. Some of us can’t heat our homes. Some of us can’t fix our roofs.  And some of us can’t even walk to the mailbox.

Some of us live with an abusive spouse. Some of us are fighting deadly addictions. And some of us can’t afford one more moment drowning in loneliness. And some of us just need a place to grow.

As a member of this Baltimore Jewish community, we have help. We have The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore.

We have a place that will help take care of our needs if we are not able to do it alone. We have a place that will provide roofs over our heads and food for our children. We have a place that will open its arms and take care of its most vulnerable. And we have a place that will allow us to enjoy the greatest gift of all, the gift of giving.  Whether through our dollars or our hours, we have a place where we can make a difference.

So, how can we not help?  How can we not see the needs of our fellow Jews? And, if we see the needs, how can we not help?

Every year, we get together on Super Sunday, harnessing the incredible energy of our community to support this mission, just as we did on Oct. 27. There is something so special about a phone-a-thon where in one room, we see young and old, teens and elementary-age children, Jews of all denominations, volunteering for one great cause:  to make our Baltimore Jewish community that much better.

At Super Sunday, there was Lewis Penn, who has not missed a Super Sunday since 1955 — back when volunteers used to go door to door to ask for donations.  There were children who came with their parents for the first time, making their first calls and raising hundreds of dollars. There were longtime supporters and first-time supporters all feeding off the energy of one person talking to another person to help a third person.

We had the opportunity to experience the caring and giving of this magnificent community.  We took the chance to see that we are all the same more than we are different.

Why do I choose to give?  How can I not?

Laura Black was co-chair of The Associated’s 2013 Super Sunday with her husband, Charles Klein.

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