Thursday, 30 October 2014

American Tikkun Olam Custom for Hanukkah


In another few weeks we're going to celebrate the next holiday on the Jewish calendar – Hanukkah.

Many of us are accustomed to receiving a gift each night but I just read about one young woman in Massachusetts who has turned this custom around, making it a Tikkun Olam project.

Her name is Maxine Harvey. As long as she can remember, her family collected everything given at their annual Hanukkah party and donated them to local families in need. When a close family friend who happened to be a social worker passed away in 2006, Maxine wanted to create a lasting memorial for her. The way she did it was expand upon her family custom by launching an organization that would collect, store and distribute donated items to needy families. She called her project “Debbie's Treasure Chest.”

When Maxine started this project she was 10 years old! Today she is 18, a freshman at Clark University, and “Debbie's Treasure Chest” is a thriving enterprise with 50,000 different toys, clothing, toiletries, home furnishings and all types of holiday decorations. Maxine reports that 1,500 families have benefitted from “Debbie's Treasure Chest.” She proudly says: “It is great that a small thing like a toy or a toothbrush can mean so much to someone. It is very gratifying to know that.”

Wow!!! What a way to interpret the giving part of Hanukkah. Thank you Maxine for showing us that Hanukkah is not all about me but all about you.


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