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November 21, 2013
*Moses Maimonides, aka RaMBaM (1135-1204)
When the Christmas candy was displayed next to the Halloween candy on my grocery store’s shelves this past SEPTEMBER, I knew the holiday “noise” would be louder than ever. While the marketplace tries its hardest to entertain, enchant and entice us into giving the latest, greatest and most advanced thing, it’s really just wants, not needs that are being shouted about. Stepping away, breathing deeply and taking back control from those who want us to fill our homes with the impractical enables me to stay grounded in the essential—the true meaning of the holiday experience: special times with family, celebrating traditions and sharing the best of ourselves with others.
This is the time of year when Nedivut/Generosity is most needed and appreciated. Here are a few simple ways to be generous with your time and talents:
At this time of year, it does not matter whether your family is celebrating Hanukkah, Christmas, Diwali, Kwanzaa or a little bit of everything. Nedivut/Generosity translates across all religious and cultural lines.
Here are a number of books that may give you some ideas for giving generously to others:
Boxes for Katje by Candace Fleming. Illustrated by Stacy Dresen-McQueen.
After WWII, many people throughout Europe lived in desolated towns and villages with little food or clothing. When citizens of the United States discovered the problems they were having, many people began sending boxes of food and clothing over to help out. A Dutch girl named Katje (and her town) became the recipient of many gifts from an American girl named Rosie.
I Had a Hippopotamus written and illustrated by Hector Viveros Lee.
In this charming, brightly colored book, a young boy describes all the wild animals he shares with members of his family. Each animal turns out to be from a box of animal crackers.
Night Tree by Eve Bunting. Illustrated by Ted Rand.
On Christmas Eve a family goes out into the woods to search for a tree. When they find it, they decorate it with apples, popcorn and nuts so that the forest animals can celebrate this special night as well. This beautiful story about a lovely family tradition has multi-faith meaning.
Pickles to Pittsburgh written and colored by Judi Barrett. Illustrated by Ron Barrett.
In this sequel to Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, the town of Chewandswallow discovers a way to make “Lemonade out of Lemons.” Their town is ruined by the massive food items rained down on it, so the community forms “The Falling Food Company,” delivering free food to cities and towns all around the world.
The Mitzvah Project Book: Making Mitzvah Part of Your Bar/Bat Mitzvah and Part of Your Life by Liz Sunneby & Dianne Heiman.
While focused on the service projects now required by many religious schools for their Bar/Bat Mitzvah students, this book can be used by families to discover the perfect project to work on at this time of year. Arts & Crafts, Animals, Israel and the environment are just of few of the many topics researched in this informative book.
Books used in this review were provided by the publisher for review, are from my personal library or my local public library. I am an Amazon Affiliate. If you click on a book title referred to in this blog and purchase it from Amazon, I may receive a very small commission on your purchase. You will incur no additional cost, however. I appreciate your support.