As we spend this Chanukah Sunday with our families, many of us will think about the heroism demonstrated by the Maccabees, a small band of Jews who stood up for their beliefs against the Greeks and the Syrians. Fighting off an army is an act that most of us will never experience, but, as part of this community and our global Jewish family, we, nonetheless, have the power to perform acts of heroism every day.
Thanks to THE ASSOCIATED’s Annual Campaign, a centralized fund which makes possible the vital programs and services offered through our system of local agencies and our overseas partners, the vulnerable have heroes to turn to in their hours of need.
- Those heroes might be the social workers and counselors at Jewish Community Services who help a mother coping with joblessness and mounting bills find work and feed her family.
- Those heroes might be young adult volunteers serving potato latkes to adults with special needs at a Chanukah gathering at the Jewish Community Center.
- Those heroes might be the youth counselors working with Israeli students holed up in bomb shelters during rocket fire in our sister city, Ashkelon.
- Those heroes might be organizational coaches and teachers providing a child with learning differences the tools needed to be successful in the class room through Shemesh.
- Those heroes might be the team at Weinberg Village who keep the older adult residents engaged, happy and safe in their homes.
- Those heroes might be the therapists providing counseling to survivors of domestic violence and trauma through CHANA and the Shofar Coalition.
- Those heroes might be the dedicated donors and volunteers whose selfless contributions to our community make all of this, and much more, possible.
In Baltimore, we are blessed to have a system of heroes who work together to ensure that daily needs are met with compassion and speed and that future generations are nurtured and guided toward a vibrant tomorrow. The beauty of our community is that, at any given time, any one of us has the power to be a hero, to be that spark of light in someone else’s life. Ask any one of the thousands of volunteers who find their place in THE ASSOCIATED system each year and they will likely tell you that serving that role, fulfilling that mitzvah, fills them with more joy and reward than the effort they put forth.
If you have not yet taken the opportunity to be a hero in our community, to be the person whose gift of talent, time and resources touches countless lives, I invite you to get involved today and feel the warmth that comes from making a difference in our world. You can make your contribution at www.associated.org/donatenow or volunteer your time through Jewish Volunteer Connection, www.jvcbaltimore.org. (Giving your gift before December 31 will enable you to enjoy a tax benefit for 2011.)
And if you are among the heroes in our community – either a professional in our system or a volunteer or donor to THE ASSOCIATED – I thank you for the work you do on behalf of all the people in Baltimore, Israel and in Jewish communities around the globe who cannot thank you themselves. You are all my heroes and I am so proud that we are part of the same team. Happy Chanukah.