Why I Give...Giving Tuesday for Jewish Educators
Jewish educators + money. Usually it’s the start of some kind of self-deprecating joke. Because we all know the reality - no one goes into Jewish education for the money. We should [of course] all be paid a transparent, living wage, and should be appropriately compensated for all that we do, but when it comes to the ‘why’ of Jewish education, I don’t know anyone who would list in their top reasons that they chose this career path anything having to do with the $$$ it promised.
How Jewish educators do and don’t get compensated is an important topic, for another time. But today I want to talk about how we give. It’s getting to be that time of year. With a super early Thanksgiving, Giving Tuesday is right around the corner (November 27, 2018!), with Chanukah following, and, for many of us, the final weeks of our Annual Campaigns or fundraising years right around the corner after that. This is the season when, among many other things, people are asking for donations. And we’re getting asked - my inbox is currently full of requests from my various alma maters, every museum I’ve ever set foot in, and more organizations with a J in their titles than I know what to do with. It’s overwhelming, first of all, and it’s all too easy to opt out. After all, like so many of you, I feel like I’m constantly giving of myself - I give of my time, I give of my mental health, and I give 100% of my effort to the Jewish community all year. So while it’s well and good for other people to donate, I’m giving in other ways - why should I give of my non-millionaire salary as well?
I believe Jewish educators should donate to Jewish organizations. We need to walk the talk.
We all know the importance of what our organizations do, and why it’s worthwhile to give to them. After all, we’re out there, every day, living it. Educating the next generation, connecting with adults who haven’t yet found their niche in the Jewish community, building relationships across denominational, geographic, and ideological lines. We see the results in the looks of wonder, the ‘a-ha moments,’ and the relationships that are fostered. And we also see the back end - the less heartwarming, but 100% necessary pieces that go into making any initiative successful. Things like the cost of food, and printing, and literally keeping the lights on. We know every bit of what goes into our programs, and I believe it’s on us, as well as the rest of the community, to support that effort, both within our own organizations, and in the countless others that are out there making a difference every day.
In full transparency, I don’t have a ton of money to give - dog ownership comes with a cost! But certain organizations that touch me will receive a donation this year, because I believe as a Jewish educator, it’s on me, as well as on others, to ensure that the critical work of strengthening the Jewish people can continue to grow and thrive.