Eight Tzedakah Ideas for Hanukkah Time

November 30, 2021

Eight Tzedakah Ideas for Hanukkah Time

It’s Hanukkah time! A time when families will eat latkes, sing songs, play dreidel, and give out gelt. According to many sources, including Wikipedia and NPR, the tradition of giving gelt is an interesting one. It started in the 17th century in Poland. In the shtetl, Hanukkah became a time of giving end-of-the-year tips. Gelt (or geld) is Yiddish for money. Families would give their children money for their teachers. From there, the tradition grew, and eventually American chocolatiers picked up on the gift/coin concept until we have the current form of gelt.

This is why Hanukkah is now a time of giving. Many families continue the tradition of giving tips, presents and gelt, but also a tradition of giving tzedakah. So, in honor of our eight days of Hanukkah, JF&CS would like to present eight ways our community can give back this year.

1. Donating to the Kosher Pantry

Helping to stock the Kosher Food Pantry at JF&CS is an easy way to help out. At your Hanukkah party, ask guests to bring a can of food. You can always drop by our Dunwoody offices with a few extra cans. There are bins located outside our building 24 hours a day. If you want an even easier way to help, you can purchase items from JF&CS’ Amazon Wish List.

2. Make a card to brighten someone’s day

Making a card can be fun for anyone in the family. All you need is some construction paper, some markers, and your imagination! Aviv Older Adult Services Celebrations program warms the hearts of elderly members of our community at a time of year that can be lonely without family. On our site there are instructions on how to make the cards.

3. Deliver meals to our Holocaust survivors

Helping our Holocaust Survivors Services Team is a way to give back and teach family members about an important part of our history. During the pandemic, socialization has been a huge issue for these vulnerable survivors. Instead of getting together, JF&CS has been delivering a special lunch to them. Our volunteers bring a sense of cheer along with a wonderful meal to these incredible people.

4. Spread smiles at the Dental Clinic

Another way to help someone smile, is through our Ben Massell Dental Clinic. This important institution is the only comprehensive, quality dental care available to Atlantan’s who can’t afford regular dentistry. If you’re in the dental field and can volunteer for even just half a day, it will be a fulfilling way to give back.

5. Become a One Good Deed visitor or phone friend

Our Aviv Older Adult Services helps brighten the days of older adults in our community. By being a part of the One Good Deed program, you can make a connection and build a relationship with one of our elder adults. Either in-person or through the safety of a phone call, you can make someone’s day just by sharing stories, jokes or talking about the latest book you’re reading.

6. Visit the sick through Bikkur Cholim

Being sick during Hanukkah or any other time of year is hard. The volunteers on the Bikkur Cholim team visit with Jewish patients in local hospitals and care facilities. You’ll offer a warm connection at a time when someone often feels disconnected and alone. Schedules for volunteering are flexible and training and support are provided by Rabbi Beiner and her team.

7. Become a Big PAL

Being a friend and role-model can be both fun and a great act of tzedakah. JF&CS’ PAL Program is Atlanta’s only Jewish Big Brother/Big Sister Program for children ages 5-17. The program offers a chance to get to know a child who has a single parent household, or is in a family with a sibling who has disabilities, and help them grow up into a mensch.

8. Giving some gelt

You can also support any of JF&CS programs by donating. As an organization, JF&CS depends on the community to continue the work of transforming people’s lives. Any amount will be appreciated. We rely on your generosity to support our community.

We hope everyone enjoys the holiday and this time of giving. If you’re interested in volunteering, donating or know someone who needs help, please give us a call. Happy Hanukkah!