On December 7, your phone will ring and someone much like you will ask you for money. Just say yes. The volunteer will be calling from the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington and asking you to support our community at home and abroad with your contribution. Just say yes.
I write a column like this every year for Super Sunday, which occurs every year. And every year the message is the same. Federation invests your dollars, along with everyone else’s dollars, in the real work of Jewish life. Your contribution will do some good all by its self, but combined with the contributions of others will shape the life of a teenager in Northern Virginia, feed a pensioner in the former Soviet Union, and heal the wound of a victim of terror in Israel. The reliability of the message may dull the miraculous nature of this work. So even if you are not inspired with pride and accomplishment, just say yes.
This year has not been a banner year for charities in general, and Federation is no exception. In spite of some large gifts that have helped to balance the books, contributions from “the people” have diminished. By increasing your donation, you can send the message that tzedakah remains a top priority for our community, even in financially challenging times. Can a major philanthropy still meet its obligations in these circumstances? With your contribution you can just say yes.
If you are REALLY inspired, then you can inspire others that day and that week as well. Call (301) 348-7350 to volunteer to call others and encourage them to give. When you are asked if you’d like to work Super Sunday (and Super Week, which follows), you know what to do – just say yes.
Isn’t it great to be able to say yes to something? Especially when, by doing so, you are not only saying yes to a mitzvah, but you are also saying yes to life.
On another front, I heard from lots of people about my column on being tested for breast cancer. Some people pointed out disagreements in the public press. Others were really angry. So to those of you whom I upset – my apologies.
Never take specific medical advice from a rabbi (and only rarely spiritual advice from a doctor). It is very important to follow your physician’s advice about testing for genetic proclivities. But to care for yourself with preventative measures, including exercise, proper diet and the like, is indeed a mitzvah. How much the more so is it the case if by doing so you can reduce the risk of disease later in life.
The only thing in my column that seems unchallenged is the notion that earlier pregnancies can assist the body in its auto-immune system. So I repeat, as unpopular as it is: earlier marriage and family for those young enough to choose now has added personal benefit.