The Gift That Gives Back to You


view1_lindaelmanWith the arrival of November, Americans started to prepare for Thanksgiving. Of all the American holidays, Thanksgiving seems to resonate most with Jews, as Thanksgiving’s theme centers around hakorat hatov, gratitude. It is a time to reflect on how grateful we are for the gifts that are bestowed on us by G-d that allow us to give to others. We are grateful for the friendships we form in being part of this giving community.

Although Jews like to think of ourselves as givers, in reality we are also receivers. We all benefit from the strength of our community. We all benefit from the strong institutions in Baltimore, whether they are the synagogues, the Jewish Community Center, The Associated’s agencies, the schools … The list is endless. So many of our children and grandchildren receive books and programming through the Center for Jewish Education’s PJ Library. Many of our children or grandchildren have gone on a free trip to Israel through Birthright.

So we are not only givers, we are takers as well. We are able to live fulfilling Jewish lives in a wonderful Jewish community in large measure because of the foundation laid and the continued support provided by The Associated. Much of the time, the gift we give, which we intend to benefit others, is also helping ourselves and our own families.

This year, The Associated will again participate in #GivingTuesday. #GivingTuesday is celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving, right after Black Friday and Cyber Monday. #GivingTuesday has become a global movement to kick off the charitable season in the greater community. It provides an opportunity to bring together nonprofits, businesses and individuals to address local challenges. The Associated has been an integral part of this unique program since its inception five years ago.

In its first year, The Associated raised more money than any other nonprofit in the country on that day. For The Associated, #GivingTuesday is one of our biggest fundraising days of the year. #GivingTuesday provides a great opportunity to teach our children the Jewish values of gratitude and giving back. It doesn’t matter how much we each give. What matters is that we all participate.

Please keep the uniquely Jewish concept of gratitude in mind when deciding on your gift to The Associated campaign this year. It is not only a gift that gives to others. It is a gift that gives back to you.

Linda S. Elman is chair of The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore’s women’s campaign.

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