Its 2018 and the world needs our help. It’s fortunate that we believe in the custom of Tzodoka. Each year at Yom Kippur it’s our tradition to give Charity. Charity that will make someone else’s life that little better. We will continue to support a number of charities, but this year there are two projects where I feel we can make a difference. One is in our own community and the other in Israel.

Support for people with dementia in our community

“Dementia” is a term covering a number of conditions and diseases which affect the brain. Symptoms include memory loss, confusion and problems with speech and understanding. The most common types of dementia are Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia. How sad is it that all of a sudden one of our loved ones goes from being part of the conversation to a stranger, from being a member of the family a partner a mum or dad a sister or brother then in one split second a stranger.

There are of course homes that take people in, but most people see this as a last resort and do their utmost to give care in their own home as this is an environment that is familiar and is comforting. But what about the carerss and the stress and unhappiness it causes those who are left to care. Here at Jacksons Row Rabbi Silverman has been discussing with me how we can help our members, who need our support.

I want to raise some funds to enable some training for our Rabbinic team which will allow us to train and involve other volunteers in our community that can help and support our member’s families that are suffering from this illness.

We can then offer some comfort and put in place practices and methods that stimulate these patients and make their lives happier, more interactive and fulfilling. So let’s make our Tzodokah donation really work in place that we call home.

Sponsor a Bar or Bat mitzvah for children in the Ethiopian community in Israel

In the late 1970s a programme was initiated to bring back to Israel the Ethiopian Jews who were living in and around the Sudan and Addis Ababa, in total over 100,000 Jews were brought back to Israel. Their historic return to our homeland is incredible but many are unfamiliar with the language, culture and social norms. And many of the older generation lack the educational or social skills to integrate fully into Israeli society. There is a scheme ran by the UJIA where you can sponsor a bar or bat mitzvah for Ethiopian children. This scheme is a lot more than just paying for a party; it’s actually a life changing experience for these children. One that helps educate and integrate into the wider community, and is now developing a new generation of Israelis that are becoming part of Israeli society.

What can we do? We can adopt a bar or bat mitzvah child and keep in touch with them as they progress through their learning to be an adult in the eyes of the Jewish religion, and we can help sponsor their education during this process, like a pen pal in the iPad age. Hopefully creating a bond between our own students and theirs and maybe even sharing a celebration in Israel. It’s a worthy cause one that will only help to strengthen our bond with Israel but one that will invest in the next generation of leaders and business people that will in turn help to promote the next generation of Israelis, and break down this barrier that is causing pain and suffering to our fellow Jews.

As Winston Churchill said “it is more agreeable to have the power to give than to receive”. This year let’s help those both here and Israel and with the knowledge that our donation does make a difference.

Danny Savage, BEM, President