Why do we spend a Sunday morning just before Chanukah driving all over the San Fernando and Conejo Valleys delivering boxes of sufganiot to every Congregation Or Ami household?
Best practices in community engagement implore us to bring the community to the congregant, instead of waiting always for the congregant to come to the community. So…
When sadness strikes, when a loved one dies, the community gathers at the home of the mourners, creating a minyan of ten people at least, so that they can say Kaddish without having to venture out. We deliver seudot aveilut, meals of consolation so they can eat without worrying about preparing the food.
With worry arises, as a loved one is ailing or recovering, the community engages in bikur cholim, visiting the sick, sending over chicken soup and other food, offering to help in concrete ways. Jewish tradition teaches that a visit reduces the suffering by at least 1/60.
When joy overflows, like a baby is born, we flood the family with cards of simcha (joy). We deliver meals and w
ish mazel tov to the new family.
A community says Henaynu
Henaynu. We are here for each other. We show it by our actions. We ensure that during the sad times and the happiest of times we share the burden or extend the joy.
And in the regular times, what do we do then?
At Congregation Or Ami we marshal our volunteers and deliver sweetest love to the congregation.
Each Chanukah, our Sufganiot Delivery Team, headed by Marsi Gore and Darryl Lieberstein, arrange for delicious jElla-filled sufganiot to find their way to the doors of everyone in the partnership that is Or Ami. Using the latest mapping technologies, they organize boxes, maps and volunteers to bring sweetness to the doorways.
Nothing tastes tastes finer than hand delivered donuts – cooked in oil in remembrance of the oil that lasted for eight nights – in celebration of our Festival of Lights.
So, last week we hosted a Holiday shopping Childspree for 50 at risk youth. Next week we hope to finish collecting tzedakah to purchase a truck for a Food Forward, and organization that will use it to deliver fresh fruit and vegetables to 97,000 people a week, addressing the hunger in our area.
But this week, we just share the regular. Jelly filled donuts arrive at home, delivered by a smiling Or Ami congregant. This is just one of the ways we hope to remind our community that they matter to us, that our holidays are sweet at their core, and that we hold each and every person as dear and special to us.
(And we always add a disclaimer that if for some reason you did not receive your sufganiot, please let us know. We will hand deliver fresh ones to you.)