Giving Day 5779 

 By the Grace of G‑d

Dear Friend,

It warms my heart that during these ten days of Teshuva we will be uniting thousands of you - our Jewish brothers and sisters all around the world - in one giant virtual tzedaka box. Through your gift of tzedaka you are spreading the light, hope and energy of Torah and mitzvah’s in Thailand!


P. a middle aged woman approached me on Rosh Hashana. Basically, she had run away from the sad things in her life to an island in Thailand and contemplated ‘ending it…’. Before she did so, she figured she would pop in to a Rosh Hashana with fellow Jews. Needless to say by the end of the Rosh Hashana she is back on track and trying to make things work.

Your money saves lives! Physically. Emotionally. Spiritually.

The lives of others. And our very own lives. Especially during these ten days when G‑d is deciding the future of our year, tzedaka is even more critical and meaningful.

The advances of technology provide some pretty cool twists to age old concepts.

Take charity for example. Our Sages taught thousands of years ago that giving even modest amounts is important and significant for ‘every penny adds up to a total that becomes large’. In the olden days it meant having charity boxes full of small change which when tallied up could be a sizeable amount.

My father taught us this lesson in his annual ‘Chanuka gelt’ tradition. On the fifth night of Chanuka he gave us a ‘big’ amount of money. ‘Big’ in the sense that he told us to stick out our hands cupped together and filled them with pennies. We were thrilled to have so ‘much’ money and would sit down to count and recount the amount. I can’t say that the person manning the cash register at our ‘shop for Chanuka gelt gifts’ expedition, was all that excited about us paying for our purchases with our bags of ‘wealth’. But it definitely taught us that small amounts add up.

In our internet technology age, you can see this ancient teaching come to life in the ‘crowdfunding’ concept. The aim of a ‘Giving-Day’ campaign is to garner donations from a broad collective group. When a large group of people unite to contribute even small sums, the result is impactful.  Amounts that would on their own not make a bid splash, join together to become a significant and impactful amount. The numbers flashing on the screen as the accumulated pennies are tallied, provide a virtual effect that evokes a satisfying feeling of ‘do-goodness’.

Remember though that we still need the ‘classic’ tzedaka boxes as well! There is no replacement for the ‘jingle’ and ‘clanking’ of coins which still requires the classic tzedaka box. The Rebbe would often advice that we surround ourselves with real and tangible tzedaka boxes so that ‘giving’ become ingrained into our living habits.

I am thankful and indebted to the ‘matchers’ who have committed to significant donations in order to match the ‘crowd’ giving of the next thirty-six hours!

But right now it is to you, the ‘crowd’ that I am looking to.

We desperately need to reach our target so that we receive the funds needed to keep our doors open and lights (and air conditioners) on!

I am confident and optimistic that you, my dear reader, friend and supporter, will participate in our ‘giving-day’ according to your ability. And please reach out to your friends. The hearts of Jewish people are open during these High Holidays to charity and they will no doubt like to participate.

It is not only the funds we are seeking to solicit. I look forward to receiving your blessings and words of encouragement as well.

To quote the words of our sages:

‘whether one gives a lot, or one gives a bit, as long as one has good, holy intentions to do what G‑d wants’!

No amount is too small. Every individual counts!

With blessings for being sealed for a good and sweet year!

Rabbi Yosef Kantor