Although we are well into the second month of the year, allow me to wish you a healthy, prosperous and successful 2017. In our “line of business”, there is no time wasted in getting back to “normal”, as our first distribution of the year was handed out on the day after we re-opened.
At Yad, we are sensitive and respectful of the fact that the month of January is largely taken up with everyone going back to work and children settling down to their new academic year and, for this reason, we dedicate this time to relationship building: meeting donors, setting up appointments and educating the community about the extent of our work, thereby increasing our database. The momentum has accelerated in and of itself, proving the effectiveness of our “softer” approach and the enthusiasm and interest shown to our Fundraisers by existing and prospective donors is most encouraging. I am confident that, with Hashem’s help, we will succeed in meeting our budget which will enable us to continue to play a leading role in dealing with the escalating nutritional insecurity within our community.
Although we closed for 3 weeks in December/January, I was “on call” for recipients who ran out of food and I organized a mid-holiday distribution for some 350 families who wouldn’t have managed to see the holidays through without our assistance. Needless to say, the stock in our in-house Supermarket has visibly diminished and, for this reason, Jody has started rolling out our “Chesed from the Garden of Eden” project which primarily involves all the Jewish Day Schools in Johannesburg. We appeal to the children for donations of groceries, giving them the opportunity to partake in the Mitzvot of Tzedakah and Chesed in a tangible and meaningful way. Jody’s characteristic jovial and bubbly personality is ideally suited to her role as Marketing and Events Manager and she insist on personally delivering our branded shopping bags, each with a suggested shopping list attached, to the various Principals, thereby keeping the excellent rapport between Yad and the Schools alive and vibrant! We take this opportunity to thank our co-sponsors,Adrienne Hersch Properties and Chatz Cellular for their continued support and belief in this vital and active community project.
Steve Marks probably needs no introduction, having made a name for himself as a former Afternoon Drive Talk Show Host on Chai FM. Steve joined our team last year, and manages the collections of donated goods; meets donors who drop off bags of clothing; ensures that all donations go to our central sorting area; and generally oversees the activities in our very productive outside area. His warm and compassionate nature endears him to our recipients and he enjoys interacting and assisting them in whichever way he can. I warmly welcome him as an important part of our team!
Purim is a Chag which our clients look forward to with eager anticipation because, what most of us tend to take for granted constitutes “treats” and “luxuries”to those who cannot afford them. We once again look forward to our entire community and all the Jewish Day Schools in getting involved in the Mitzvot of Mishloach Manot and Matanot L’evyonim for our recipients to enjoy.Our Bayit will be open all day Sunday the 12thof March so please pop-in and make your donations.
Last week, I was given a printed copy of Rabbi Daniel Cohen’s article, from Aish’s website, entitled “Turn the World On with Your Smile”. The last two paragraphs really spoke to me and gave me tremendous chizuk(encouragement) as I face up to the year ahead. Allow me to share those words with you:
“I’ve also discovered that when you offer positive words to someone else, when you give someone a needed emotional boost, you yourself are uplifted. People will often ask how I’m able, as a Rabbi, to give others comfort in times of grief and tragedy. They ask: “Isn’t it emotionally draining? What do you say when you walk into a house of sorrow? How do you comfort the bereaved?” I know that I can’t provide answers to why something has happened, but I can provide strength and hope. From my heart, I share that G-d will give them strength and that I and others are there for them. Just being present, sharing a kind word and praying with them, in turn, renews my strength.
When we only see life’s problems, we never realize the infinite possibilities latent in each day. There is a divine design in every moment. There is a Higher Power. No diversion is without merit or meaning. If you meet someone, there is a holy purpose in the encounter. If you experience a closed door and a lost opportunity, know that you’re being pushed to find another opening in your life that you never thought possible. No moment is for naught; no encounter is random.
Alice Friedman, Managing Director