I have just come from a local clergy meeting where we met with representatives of numerous charity and self-help organizations from Northern Westchester. We who live relatively comfortable lives, in truth, we know so little about hunger and poverty and the aloneness that so many endure in our own community.
While our congregation is involved in numerous worthy social action causes, I feel a need to respond to what I just heard-to at least do something in the face of the great need that is out there.
What comes to mind is organizing a CHILDREN’S SHOE DRIVE for the Community Center of Northern Westchester, located in Katonah. Those of us with children or grandchildren have countless pairs of gently-worn sneakers and shoes that they have outgrown and that are sitting in closets. Our children will never again wear them, even as there are so many young children out there whose parents cannot afford to buy them the sneakers they have outworn.
I know that this message is intended for most for our families with children. But perhaps those of you with grandchildren can also participate by speaking with your own children to share in this children’s shoe drive.
It is summer and children will be playing outside. Many of us are able to make their play a little more enjoyable by doing so little.
I walked out of that meeting and was reminded of the teaching of our sage: “It is not required of you that you complete the task, but neither are you free to turn away from it.”
Let this “little” project be our current response to that teaching. And let me add that “social action” efforts have always been one of the priorities of our congregation and a way in which we translate our Jewish value of “supporting the needy.” And while we have a social action “task force,” we would welcome more people to help us with the outreach work that we do. So please let me know if you are interested in being a part of these efforts or contact Rich Leroy who is chair of the Social Action Committee.
But for today and tomorrow, please go through your closets and collect those shoes that your children have outgrown. You can bring them to my office with the knowing that those shoes will soon be worn by a happy and grateful child whose parents will feel a bit empowered because they surprised their children with a gift.
Rabbi David Greenberg