My grandfather passed away surprisingly about two months ago. Recently, we received a letter from an elementary school in Florida, informing us that a donation of Chai has been made by our American family friends to this school, in commemoration of him. I remember seeing this type of donations before, when I was working at a summer camp in Georgia last summer: American Jews make donations in multiplies of 18, to all sorts of facilities and institutions, and get their loved ones’ names, or even their own names, engraved on the walls of place receiving the donation.
This type of donation is not common here in Israel, while in the U.S it appears to be a grand part of the Jewish culture. Reading this letter, knowing my grandfather has been commemorated in return of a modest yet very kind donation, put a smile on my face and filled my heart with completion. This is truly an admirable thing that should be adapted by Jewish communities all over the world. It is simply beautiful and beautifully simple, to make a donation according to your abilities, which is appreciated, no matter how high it is.
This shows pure kindness and acceptance of all, which are two of the qualities which describe the Jewish culture in general, and the American-Jewish culture specifically.
It is not difficult to show appreciation for all donations, but sometimes we tend to forget to do so. It is easy to get lost in pride, and sniff at modest donations, while respecting grand amounts of money. This is the reason letters like the one we received are so heartwarming.
I am very grateful for your never forgetting the true values of Judaism and of humanity. This everlasting commemoration of my grandfather in a school far away from here put true, genuine smiles on my family’s faces, for the first time in weeks. Thank you.