Posted on March 6, 2012
Tomorrow night begins the holiday of Purim and Jews around the world will be celebrating. As you may not know, in many communities throughout the country, organizations send representatives out on this holiday to people’s home to dance and bring Purim cheer…in the hopes that these hosts will be thankful, open their checkbooks and make a donation to the represented organization.
Many organizations use this visit as a way to raise awareness for their cause and often times significant financial support. Growing up in Chicago, I remember a variety of groups coming to my doorstep for exactly this purpose. Those that came to the door were numerous and varied and often from out-of-town…and we were considered a “regular” family…I can only imagine who came knocking on the machers’ doors.
Last week an Areyvut donor, familiar with this Purim practice and highly committed to our Mitzvah Clowning Program suggested that I go around on Purim with a group of Mitzvah Clowns requesting that people support our work in the community. This donor even offered to match, dollar for dollar, the amount of money raised. After some reflection and deliberation with community figures I have decided that the Areyvut Mitzvah Clowns will not be going from house to house this Purim in an effort to fundraise. It’s not that we don’t need the money to support this innovative program…we do, but we also believe in treating others in a way that we would want to be treated.
It is rare to find someone approached by a group such as those that fundraise on Purim who is enthusiastic and excited about donating money to their particular cause. In fact, these visits can often make the donor families uncomfortable resulting in their making alternate arrangements to be out for the better part of the day to avoid this intrusion and monetary requests.
Areyvut’s Mitzvah Clowning Program has taught more than 200 people- most of them middle and high school students- a skill and chesed they can use throughout their lives. We have Mitzvah Clown groups in Bergen County, Queens, Westchester and the Twin Cities that visit senior citizens, children with special needs and others in need of healing every month. At the rate we are going, we are on track to visit at least 3,000 people and partner with more than 20 agencies. This program is unique, powerful and brings joy to others every month of the year, not just in Adar.
Those of you in the Bergen County area are invited (with your families) to join us on Purim (Thursday, March 8th) at CareOne from 12:30-1:30 to see Areyvut’s Mitzvah Clowns in action.
You can make a gift online at https://www.areyvut.org/donate/ or you can send in a check made payable to Areyvut and send it to 147 South Washington Avenue, Bergenfield, NJ 07621 and please put Mitzvah Clowning in the memo. Gifts at any level can be made in honor or in memory of someone and all gifts are tax deductible and appreciated.