Making a Difference – the Female Way!

Photo: PBL Photography

By Nancy Ditkofsky
Chair, Women’s Campaign - Combined Jewish Appeal 2011

As women, it is our nature to help and not stand idle.  The Montreal Jewish community is blessed to have so many dedicated women volunteers that are willing to lend a hand, provide a meal, knit a scarf, sort clothing, walk 25 kilometers or man telephones to ask for donations. We are not afraid to roll up our sleeves and really help.

Women give from their hearts. Our actions are led by our emotions. When we hear a sad story, we are moved to tears; when we see an injustice, we are compelled to lend a hand; when we hear of a need, we are driven to volunteer our time and to donate our dollars to meet this need.

Today, women are doing so much for their community. Through Women’s Philanthropy and Women’s Campaign, there are thousands of us out there making a difference every day. We are serving meals at Le Café which provides over 21,000 free kosher meals every year to those in need. We are hosting social activities for employees of the JEM Workshop which helps integrate people with mental health challenges into the community. We are donating funds which ensure that 2,219 low-income seniors are provided with support for basic needs like food, transportation, dental care and housing. Women of all ages, all backgrounds, at any stage of their lives are giving of themselves in a variety of ways to ensure the betterment of this community.

But we still need to do more. As women, we want to know that these types of services exist to help people in need.  And we want to know that no one is being left behind; that all those that have a need have somewhere to go to have it filled. To truly state that we are the community with the highest quality of Jewish life in North America, we must make sure that every single person is cared for. To do that, women must continue to dig, and dig deeper, into their pockets so that they can influence the creation and development of these services that are so vitally needed and ensure that the gaps that currently exist are filled.

But perhaps the most compelling reason why women should donate in their own name is our children.  Children learn by example. They learn from watching their environment and copying.   Children watch their mothers, their grandmothers, their aunts, their sisters, their friends. They listen to their stories and their lessons.

If we want our children to care about others and help them in times of need, we must do so ourselves. We must “talk” about Tzedakah and Tikun Olum, but more importantly, we must show our children that we “do” Tzedakah and Tikun Olum.  We must teach our children that contributing to our Jewish community has its inner rewards.  If we want our children to open up their hearts and care about one another, we must set the example and do so ourselves.

Federation CJA is the hand that brings everyone together; the glue that binds, the backbone that keeps us connected and strong. Please think of our community’s growing needs and our commitment to securing Montreal as the city with the highest quality of Jewish life.  Please think of your children and the lessons you want them to learn and how you want them to be responsible members of the Jewish community and please think of the community you want to leave behind for them.

There are many ways that you can be involved and make this difference. Volunteer at any Tikun Olam Volunteer (TOV) initiative. Come to any Women’s Campaign event like the delicious Night of 100 Dinners on October 27th. Give generously and give in your own name: one act of kindness can make a difference; one example of Tzedakah can spark a tradition of giving. And, as a community, we can really show our children how much we can achieve together. How, together, we can inspire a bright and vibrant Jewish future for them, for tomorrow.

Photo: PBL Photography

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