In the kitchen, left to right, are Stacey Kettleman, Leah Reghatti, Francie Steen, Deborah and David Freedman, Shelley Ail and Linda Rothberg. (photo from Beth Tikvah)
This Purim, Beth Tikvah Congregation packaged more than 240 holiday bundles, delivering one to every member household – spreading not only joy, but raising funds for the synagogue’s preschool and Hebrew school.
“As we enter the month of Adar, our tradition teaches, we must increase joy,” explained Rabbi Susie Tendler, the congregation’s spiritual leader. “The talmudic statement (Ta’anit 29a) is not specific about whose joy we are increasing, rather that it is incumbent upon us to spread joy and cheer, brightening these dark days. Communities around the globe have certainly been wrestling with how to deepen connections and spread joy this past year. Beth Tikvah decided to take the wisdom of our tradition and do so through festive and colourful mishloach manot, Purim packages, that went to every member family living in British Columbia.”
The effort was multigenerational. There were the volunteers in the kitchen, who made more than 1,000 hamantashen. B’nai mitzvah families and the congregation’s youth groups (USY and Kadima) helped assemble the packages. There were the volunteers who counted, sorted and put the finishing touches on the packages, and those who picked up and delivered the packages all over Richmond and Vancouver. And, of course, the whole endeavour would not have been possible without those who funded it.
In addition to all the congregants who ordered the mishloach manot and volunteered in various ways, Isha L’Isha was a sponsor of the initiative, Leanne Hazon supported the program “relentlessly during all hours of the day,” Alon Sabi designed the ordering system, and BT program manager Yvette Sabi created the boxes.
“For me,” said Tendler, “particularly during COVID, the opportunity to hang a bundle from someone’s door, ring the bell, and then step back three metres or so, and wish someone a happy holiday personally was splendid. However, the joy did not stop there. We received an outpouring of communications from people testifying to the joy and surprise felt from these packages which, in turn, deepened the joy felt by all of the volunteers. It is true, sometimes the little things bring the biggest smiles, and one smile significantly sparks another smile.