Chanukah in Corvallis, Oregon

Shalom Aleichem!

At the end of this email, there will be a short appeal for your financial support in honor of Chanukah.

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What is the key to happiness? Don’t we all wish we had that elusive key!Corvallis Chanukah 2

While I certainly can’t claim to be privy to any special insights, please permit me to share a thought with you.

“Serve G-d with joy,” wrote King David in Psalms. While at first glance this verse seems to be an instruction as to how one should serve the Creator, it can also be read as a promise: “Serve G-d, [and you will live] with joy.”

Why does serving G-d make you joyous? Because if you only serve yourself, it will be very hard to every be truly happy. Serve G-d through prayer, Torah study and mitzvot; and serve G-d and man through acts of goodness and kindness. This will bring you joy.

The key, perhaps, is to go beyond oneself.

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I always enjoy keeping in touch with QC alumni. One such alum, Spencer, is currently a grad student at Oregon State University in Corvallis.

Spencer is a proud Jew. When the holiday of Sukkot came, he consulted with me on how to construct a kosher Sukkah.

I called him a few weeks ago and asked how the Sukkah worked out. Now, Corvallis is a long stretch from the Jewish community of New York, but he told me that he found Jews coming out of the woodwork, and hosted a nice party in his Sukkah. In the midst of the party, his neighbor poked his head in. Thinking that they were being too loud, Spencer quickly apologized and assured his neighbor that they would keep it down.

“No,” the neighbor replied, “I just haven’t seen a Sukkah in so long!”

When I asked him if he needed a menorah for Chanukah, he responded in the affirmative, and I asked if perhaps any of the Jews who joined him in his Sukkah might also want a menorah. He said that he would be happy to share the light in Corvallis!

After packing up a box with menorah kits (candles & dreidel included!) and some tasty NY treats, I went to the Post Office and shipped it to Corvallis.

Corvallis Chanukah 1Spencer texted me when he received the menorahs: “It really does spread a special feeling to everyone, no matter how connected they are.”

The menorah tells us to go beyond ourselves. It should be kindled in a location where it is visible to the public, such as in a window or at your front doorstep. Publicize the miracles. Share the lights.

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Tzipah and I need your help. It’s been 9 years since we moved to Queens. 9 years of weekly Shabbat meals; one-on-one Torah study sessions; homemade chicken soup delivered to students under the weather (it’s called “Txt4Soup”); and yes, 15 menorah kits sent to Corvallis …it all comes with a price tag, and I am responsible for raising 100% of the budget. We are not funded by a central organization.

Would I be too bold if I asked you to consider a $500 donation today, in honor of the light of Chanukah? If that’s too much, how about $360 or $250? Any amount helps. Thank you in advance for considering becoming my partner in this unique and holy effort: Your gift will literally help keep the flames of Yiddishkeit burning!

Shabbat Shalom and Happy Chanukah!