The Spirit of Giving

The Spirit of Giving

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    ​Maya Karmely
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    "We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give."
     
    During this Jewish holiday season Consul Maya Karmely reflects on what a Jewish holiday spirit means to her.
     
    Usually when you think about a Jewish holiday you think: food, family, friends, gifts, more foods festivities- and a feeling of togetherness of sitting around the holiday's table (with some food).
    But one of the most moving traditions of the Jewish holidays dates back to the scriptures and is the central theme of being Jewish - Tzedakah (Charity) - Giving to the poor.
    According to Jewish law and tradition, reaching out to those in need is not considered voluntary but rather viewed as obligatory.
    This custom of Jewish holidays has been practiced throughout history in every country and community, and when Israel was established the spirit of giving was brought and incorporated in the very being of the young nation. "Giving back to the community" became an idiom and a custom that everyone wants to take part in.
    During the holiday season in Israel, the people of Israel become one big family: Supermarkets collect food for the poor, businesses or organizations come together and donate their time to fix up community centers and schools, and some people even open their house and invite people to join their holiday table.
    When I came to Chicago I was happy to see that this beautiful tradition is also vibrant here. This month, the Consulate shared this holiday spirit of giving to our local community.
    We welcome you to do the same!
     The Ark and Tov were a few places that shared with us what they need. Please let us know of more places