By Talia Smolkin
During Tzeason of Tzedakah this year, we have the opportunity to look deeply at each other, at the people serving alongside us, and the people we are serving. It is easy to interact with others without truly seeing them, but Jewish tradition calls upon us to see each other as whole, complex individuals, made in the image of God. When we come together, how do we see each other?
Now is the time for us to stand as a Jewish community and Lexington community. With the range of views, beliefs, and feelings, we can come together. We can see each other. We can and need to take care of each other.
Every year at this time, we come together to volunteer at a variety of organizations in the wider Lexington community. We call this Tzeason of Tzedakah, a season in December filled with tzedakah-related activities. We cook, serve, and deliver food or full meals. We socialize and celebrate with those in need. We donate items to wonderful organizations in town. We do this with old friends and new, with others from across the Jewish community. We help many organizations that sorely need us to fill in as volunteers this time of year. It is fun, fulfilling, and shares with the Lexington community how amazing we are.
At the end of reading this article, of course you will send an e-mail, pick up the phone, or go to OUR WEBSITE to sign up. Many of you reading this article have been dedicated, volunteering with Tzeason of Tzedakah for a number of years. And many of you are fresh-faced, lovely new volunteers.
The question at hand is not whether or not you will participate. The question is, how will you participate? How will you infuse kavanah, meaningful intention, into Tzeason of Tzedakah?
Do more than sign up for a Tzeason of Tzedakah activity. Enter the space with open eyes. Truly search for each other and give each other kavod, respect. Bring light into winter’s darkness.Everyone is invited to participate in numerous volunteer opportunities. Each individual is welcome to join any volunteer opportunity, whether or not they are affiliated with the organization sponsoring the activity. Try something familiar or new:
• Hope Center’s HopeMobile* - Make sandwiches for distribution from Hope Center’s HopeMobile – Dec. 4, at Ohavay Zion Synagogue, 10 a.m. Sponsored by Ohavay Zion Synagogue.
• Stewart Home - Share Hanukkah activities with residents of Stewart Home School – Dec. 7. at 5 p.m. Meet at Jewish Federation of the Bluegrass to carpool.
• God’s Pantry* - Sort goods at God’s Pantry for those in need in Lexington – Time and Date TBA. Sponsored by Young Bluegrass Jews.
• God’s Pantry Backpacking - Pack food for Fayette County students to take home for winter break. Time and location TBA. Sponsored by Temple Adath Israel and Ohavay Zion Synagogue.
• Sayre Christian Village - Help run program for residents of Sayre – Dec. 20 at 2:30 p.m. Sponsored by The Lexington Havurah.
• Moveable Feast* - Deliver meals to those in need (training required and can be arranged) – Dec. 26, Arrive 4:30-5:00 p.m.
• Ronald McDonald House - Cook and serve dinner – Dec. 25, Arrive at 3:30 p.m. for cooking and/or 6:45 p.m. for serving dinner. Sponsored by Lexington Chapter of Hadassah.
• Catholic Action Center - Prepare and serve dinner. Sponsored by Temple Adath Israel.
o Dec. 23 - Cook (time TBA)
o Dec. 25 – Prep Food and/or serve dinner (time TBA)
• Mayfair Village - Help run program for residents – Dec. 25 at 2 p.m.
• Meals on Wheels - Deliver meals to those in need – Dec. 26 at 10:15 a.m. at Trinity Hill United Methodist Church. Sponsored by B’nai B’rith.
In addition to volunteering, there are opportunities to donate items. Donation bins will be available at Jewish Federation, Temple Adath Israel, and Ohavay Zion Synagogue.
• One Parent Scholar House* - From their website, this organization helps “single parents earn a college degree by providing affordable housing for their families, on-site care and development for their children, counseling, and support.” One Parent Scholar House is in need of:
o Diapers (sizes 4 and 5)
o Baby wipes
o Socks and underwear for boys and girls
• The Race For Education* - From their website, “Through academic development programs, tutoring, internships, financial literacy training and scholarships; The Race For Education provides opportunities for educational success for young people with significant financial need and academic challenges.” The Race for Education is in need of:
o Notebook paper (wide-ruled or college-ruled)
o Colorful 3x5 notecards
o Small jenga sets
o 2-pocket folders with prongs
o Electric pencil sharpeners
Charities marked with an asterisk (*) are participants in the GoodGiving Challenge. Please consider supporting them alongside JFB!
To sign up to volunteer or for more information, visit our website, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or call the Jewish Federation of the Bluegrass at (859) 268-0672.