Friends, in this week's Shabbat message, Kim Margolis of Jewish Family Services shares an inspiring way that you can help families in need while teaching the children in your life the value of good deeds. I hope you will participate. Shabbat Shalom. - Howard
"Summertime and the livin' is easy...." It's hard to believe August is already here, the last month of summer, and the new school year will begin soon. Judaism emphasizes the importance of education, and the Torah has been a guiding light for us in this respect throughout the generations.
In this week's Torah portion, Va'etchanan, the Israelites are commanded three different times to educate their children. The parshah also includes the first part of the Sh'ma prayer, which declares the fundamentals of the Jewish faith: to study and to educate the next generation about the importance of the mitzvot (commandments). As we recite in the Sh'ma, "teach them to your children, discuss them while you sit in your home and while you walk on the way, when you retire and when you arise."
In this week's portion, G-d also reminds the Israelites that by performing all of the mitzvot, they set an example for their children, who will in turn behave accordingly. As adults, we are expected to behave appropriately because we understand the difference between right and wrong; children, on the other hand, may not instinctively know good from evil. One of the sacred tasks we have as parents is to serve as role models and teach our children moral values.
Just as our Torah portion discusses the importance of education and mitzvot, Jewish Family Services (JFS) is committed to education and to ensuring that our clients start the school year on a positive note. This month we are proud to partner with the Mandell JCC's Family Room Parenting Center, PJ Library, and the Jewish Children's Service Organization (JCSO) on the Third Annual Back to School Drive, which benefits low-income children throughout Greater Hartford. Our goal is to prepare children with the tools they need to feel organized, confident and motivated to succeed in the classroom.
Through the Back to School Drive and the community support programs JFS provides - such as the Anja Rosenberg Kosher Food Pantry, Tara's Closet and Jewish Employment Transition Services (JETS) - we can help to remove barriers to learning, so that struggling families can focus on addressing other challenges in their lives. By participating in the Back to School Drive, you have the opportunity to teach your children and grandchildren the value of performing mitzvot or good deeds and giving back to those in need. You can learn more about the drive by clicking here.
Thank you for embracing possibility.
Director of Development
Jewish Family Services