As parents, Margaret and I teach our three girls that life is about choices. For better or worse, what we choose to do with our time, talent, and money defines us. Giving financially is important ' it's something that we strongly believe in'but we feel that giving of ourselves is even more important. When we were growing up, our parents set the example of service. Whether it was Margaret's dad taking on the thankless task of running for the State House as a Democrat in Kansas, or my mother breaking ground as the first female President of Temple Beth El in Augusta, we learned from our families. I can't remember a time when my dad wasn't serving on one volunteer board or another. This was something that they, in turn, had learned from their parents: when our daughter was in the Toddler Room at the JCA, every day we would say good morning to the portrait in the hall of my grandfather, Joe Schatz, who served as President of Portland's JCC between 1966-1968.
More than a decade ago, we made the choice to leave our careers in New York City and return to Maine. We have a small farm, and we raise our daughters with the example of hard work and responsibility. Service, to our community and our beliefs, is a big part of our family life. We are proud to play an active part in Maine's Jewish community, a legacy that stretches back five generations in my family. Whether we are serving on the board of Levey Day School, leading the Mother's Circle or a challah baking workshop at the J, or inviting the Next Dor families to our farm for havdalah and goat hike, we see community participation as one of the most rewarding aspects of our lives.
We are proud to see that our girls have begun following our example, l'dor v'dor. This year, I brought our oldest daughter, Charlotte, who is in 5th grade at Levey, with me to volunteer for the JCA Annual Campaign on Super Sunday. I thought it would be a good experience for her to see me making calls: she could observe, and maybe participate by helping sort donor cards. To my surprise, we were only there a short while before she asked to make a call herself, and successfully solicited a donor for a $300 pledge.
Community doesn't happen on its own. It takes the commitment to extend yourself, and to trust that others will do the same. But the rewards are beyond compare. When we choose to share our time and enthusiasm, when we put in the work, we create something larger than ourselves.
Review from #MyGivingStory