Sunday, January 1, 2012

Rabbi Min on Nedivut

Generosity, Expansiveness - Basic Jewish Value #17:  The mission statement of Jewish Family Service of New Mexico reads: “Guided by Jewish values, we offer targeted social services that help preserve and improve the quality of life for New Mexicans.” What are these Jewish values? How do they help guide the day-to-day work that we do at JFS? When new employees join the staff of JFS, they are introduced to eighteen of these basic Jewish values.

The Hebrew word, Nedivut, which describes this Jewish value, is derived from the Hebrew root n-d-v, meaning doing something willingly, a voluntary rendering, often described in religious traditions as a “free-will offering”. The same root is used to describe abundance, as when in Psalm 68:9, the Bible mentions plentiful rain. At this season of the year, when capitalism and tradition combine to urge us to spend exorbitantly, it is useful to reflect on what giving generously of our own free will is really about: recognizing our responsibility to share our abundance, feeling gratitude for all we have, and giving from our hearts.

JFS is grateful for all the generosity we have been blessed to receive: the donations of money, in-kind donations, and of creative ideas, the gift of volunteers being willing to share their time, talent and expertise, the contributions of food for the food pantry, cooking oil for the Chanukah oil campaign, diapers for needy families. We are grateful for our treasured partnerships with other organizations across the state, Jewish congregations and non-profits as well as the many governmental and organizational funding groups which support our work. We are grateful for our supportive work environment, in which staff willingly helps each other help the clients we serve. We are grateful to our clients, who teach us every day about the importance of human connection and caring. And, we thank you, the readers of this monthly e-newsletter, for your readership, thoughtfulness and caring.

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