When is a Gift More than a Gift?

Gifts come in a variety of ways, driven and motivated by a host of reasons and intentions. What motivates people to give is a very private matter, but gifts given with pure intention and of free will deserve special recognition.

This week’s Torah portion, T'rumah, describes the building of the Tabernacle and how the Israelites were instructed to contribute to that holy endeavor. The portion begins, "Tell the Israelite people to bring Me gifts." The Torah then adds, "You shall accept gifts for Me from every person whose heart so moves him."

What we learn is the importance of giving, not from obligation but freely from the heart. The Torah teaches us that connection to G­-d or things that are holy or of special meaning cannot be obtained by simply giving a gift. Whether we seek a higher spiritual connection or greater connection to one's community, one's gifts, actions and words should be driven by love, compassion and a caring heart.

This week our community was the recipient of such a gift. In response to the news that gravestones were vandalized at two Jewish cemeteries in Hartford, the Hartford Police Italian Officers Association immediately felt the need to respond and notified us of their intention to help. On Monday, members of the Association came to the Federation office and presented us with a check for $500 to help defray the cost of repairing the damaged gravestones.

This expression of caring and support, motivated by a sincere sense of connection to our community and driven by the values they hold dear, affirmed the common humanity we share.

On behalf of the Jewish community of Greater Hartford I want to thank Lt. Paul Cicero and the men and women of the Hartford Police Italian Officers Association whose generous check is only a small portion of the real gift they gave our community. We are forever grateful for the strong support we receive each day from the Hartford Police. They have been true and loyal partners. There is no price we can place on the gift of friendship.

Gifts of loving kindness help each of us recreate those holy spaces that once existed in the Mishkan. When we give from the heart, new bonds are formed between us and those most impacted by our gift. Opening one's heart and freely giving to a charity or cause of their choice can lift you spiritually, morally, and most importantly, it just makes you feel so good.

This Shabbat I want to thank all of you who, with open hearts, give to the Federation in support of our entire local and global community. Together we create and sustain those holy spaces that connect us in so many ways and allow us to share the joy we bring to those whose lives are forever changed by our kindness.

Shabbat Shalom.


Howard Sovronsky
President & CEO


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