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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I went to a meeting today at my synagogue, discussing the budget for a Hebrew School project we're doing. While we're waiting to start, three of the women on the committee start discussing what they spent on back-to-school clothes (a lot) complaining about how their kids "have" to have designer clothes, etc...

Next we get to the gap in the budget, and how to fill it. Yours truly comes up with a bright idea - this is for a special charitable project kids are doing this fall for poor Jewish children in Morocco - maybe we could have each family donate what they would spend on one pair of jeans for their children, and ask the kids to make do with one less (please understand that the children in question are older kids, and the families largely quite comfortable economically - we are putting no parameters on what would be appropriate to spend - a family that buys $50 jeans could donate $50, a family that buys 50 cent jeans at good will could do the same) pair in their (demonstrably) large wardrobes.

You should have seen the expression of horror! One of the Moms admitted this would be fair, but said she couldn't possibly ask her daughter to give up a pair of jeans, so she'd just buy both. Another Mom said, "Well, I've never been to a thrift shop, but maybe I'd better check it out so I know how much to donate."

I couldn't believe it. We're sitting there talking about providing basic religious materials to impoverished Jews in another country, and these women are saying their precious children can't possibly go without 1 pair of jeans. I was very quiet at this point, and then as I was leaving, I asked how many pairs of jeans they thought their kids had - and everyone said at least 10.

These aren't bad people. They donate money to charity. But they seem to me representative of the problems people have of looking past money to ever see G-d.

Please, someone, tell me it isn't just my synagogue?!?

Sharon
 

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Nope, don't think it's just your synagogue at all. You only need to look at some of the absurd displays of consumerism that pass for bar/bat mitzvahs to see that. :rolleyes: It is sad, though. How old are the kids involved with this project? Maybe their parents should put it up to them: either have a car wash or bake sale or whatever to raise the money, or give up the price of a pair of jeans. It really shouldn't come to that, though; I know that I've got more clothes than I know what to do with, it seems like, and I know very, very few young people who aren't the same. And this crap about having to have the most trendy of everything is just... argh. Don't get me started.
 

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Nope, not just yours. Not just your location, not just your religion, not just your local demographic, not just....

But then, I'm still steamed about the "starter homes" that they built locally here about three years ago - you know, the ones that "start at $130,000".
 

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Agreed. It's America in general. It's sad. It's depressing even. To make it worse, I keep reading about how other countries are (supposedly) working hard to be just like the USA. *sigh*
 

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High in the Hebrew Himalayas overlooking Los Angeles sits the “Shul with a pool” They put in a school for the kiddlets. OMG what these kids did was amazing. Stores in Beverly Hills were deluged with these little girls buying $900 dresses for school at Bernini. They later opened up “Baby Bernini” to serve the kindergarten.

These people are so giving its amazing, but smart wealthy people sometimes don’t have a lick of sense. It takes tons of brainpower to become a neonatal malpractice soft tissue specialist. They spend so much time with a book they forget to go out and get their hands dirty.

It is not the religion but our culture that has changed. Your suggestion was a good one. All you can do is set a good example.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
You know, the reason I didn't suggest a bake sale, or a car wash (the kids are 12-14) or something like it is that the kids do these things, and I think they are kind of wasteful. That is, no one really needs more cake in my neighborhood, and the stupid cars look fine to me - why waste water to pretty up people's *cars.* They already do an auction where you can buy their time for useful things like lawn work, etc... for another project. I don't have a pre-teen, but if it were me, and we wanted them to really contribute to charity, I'd rather they gave something up, rather than simply sell something no one really needs. They are really too young to do a lot of serious, money earning work, and if I put my kids to work, I'd want the work to be good and useful, and in the services of G-d, not dumping precious water on someone's Mercedes :p .

The thing is, my synagogue is comparatively good on these issues in some cases. But boy did this tick me off.

Sharon
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
LagoVistaFarm said:
High in the Hebrew Himalayas overlooking Los Angeles sits the “Shul with a pool” They put in a school for the kiddlets. OMG what these kids did was amazing. Stores in Beverly Hills were deluged with these little girls buying $900 dresses for school at Bernini. They later opened up “Baby Bernini” to serve the kindergarten.

These people are so giving its amazing, but smart wealthy people sometimes don’t have a lick of sense. It takes tons of brainpower to become a neonatal malpractice soft tissue specialist. They spend so much time with a book they forget to go out and get their hands dirty.

It is not the religion but our culture that has changed. Your suggestion was a good one. All you can do is set a good example.
Sheesh - let me be clear, my little middle class shul in a small city near me is *not* like that. When I say they buy designer clothes, I don't mean the originals. But they do order from fancy catalogs, and buy "middle class fancy." I saw someone once at Yom Kippur services complain that he had to park his new car on the grass - for cripes sake, you aren't even supposed to be driving on the holiday.

We're one of only a couple of families who not only donate to our shul yard sale, we shop there :) . Lots of good stuff - we had a woman I know drop off a huge pile of like-new (some were new) girls clothes. I said, but wait, won't your younger daughter want to wear these? She said no, she doesn't like to wear her sister's thing :rolleyes: . But this woman isn't rich - she and her husband are struggling. It has just never occurred to her that she has some control over this stuff, and could say to her daughter, "tough patooties."

Sharon
 

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Sharon in NY said:
Sheesh - let me be clear, my little middle class shul in a small city near me is *not* like that. When I say they buy designer clothes, I don't mean the originals. But they do order from fancy catalogs, and buy "middle class fancy." I saw someone once at Yom Kippur services complain that he had to park his new car on the grass - for cripes sake, you aren't even supposed to be driving on the holiday.

We're one of only a couple of families who not only donate to our shul yard sale, we shop there :) . Lots of good stuff - we had a woman I know drop off a huge pile of like-new (some were new) girls clothes. I said, but wait, won't your younger daughter want to wear these? She said no, she doesn't like to wear her sister's thing :rolleyes: . But this woman isn't rich - she and her husband are struggling. It has just never occurred to her that she has some control over this stuff, and could say to her daughter, "tough patooties."

Sharon
I've never even said "tough patooties" to my boys. I've asked the middle one (youngest isn't old enough to notice yet) if it bothers him wearing his older brother's hand me downs most of the time, and he assured me that no, he likes wearing the things that were Mitchell's.

Of course, we always try to buy some things new - like racing suits (swimming, they just don't hold up), socks and underwear, and jeans (older brother's usually get turned into shorts after holes are worn in the knees anyway!). But practically every shirt, all dress clothes, coats and jackets, dress shoes, sandals and any others that aren't worn clean through are handed down.

I'm so lucky!

But I have a friend who is the same way - she gave me a bunch of stuff for another friend's daughter that her older daughter had outgrown. I commented on how cute a couple of the dresses were and asked didn't she want to keep them for Hannah? She said no, she wouldn't wear them anyway, because they were her sister's :shrug: !? Oh well, my other friend's little girl was thrilled to have them!
 

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saw someone once at Yom Kippur services complain that he had to park his new car on the grass - for cripes sake, you aren't even supposed to be driving on the holiday.
*facepalm*

You know, the reason I didn't suggest a bake sale, or a car wash (the kids are 12-14) or something like it is that the kids do these things, and I think they are kind of wasteful.
I think that's a completely fair point, and I agree that it makes much more sense for the kids to go without a new pair of jeans than it does to have another bake sale or something. The thing is, though, even if those women hadn't come right out and said so, I'd bet money that this wouldn't have wound up being a case of little Susie getting one fewer pair of jeans for back to school- it would have wound up with Susie getting the same amount of stuff she always gets, while Mom gives her thirty bucks or whatever to cover the shul project. Which is irritating in and of itself, and maybe I'm just cynical, but I think that's the most likely thing. Then again, at least it would cut out the middle man aspect of a bake sale.

I can see why you're annoyed; it's an obligation to help fellow human beings in general and fellow Jews in particular. It's not just some feel-good suggestion from G-d, and I'm pretty sure that the Torah doesn't say, "Repair the world... unless you really want that awesome pair of curvy, boot-cut jeans from the Gap." And I know that the people you're talking about aren't saying they won't participate, but I agree that it would be a good object lesson for the kids to appreciate the idea of giving up one of the many things they have in order to help out someone else.
 

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Parking on grass for the Holiday! How crude. Do you have any idea what grass can do to a new pair of Prada shoes?

These aren't bad people, they are just clue impaired. You really should save up a few thousand and I'll hook you up with a ticket scalper who can get you great seats for the high holidays. The studio people do great lighting and sound. They actually roll credits at the end of one of the services we took my mom to. Babs Steisand was supposed to be there so she wanted to go.
 

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LagoVistaFarm said:
Parking on grass for the Holiday! How crude. Do you have any idea what grass can do to a new pair of Prada shoes?

These aren't bad people, they are just clue impaired. You really should save up a few thousand and I'll hook you up with a ticket scalper who can get you great seats for the high holidays. The studio people do great lighting and sound. They actually roll credits at the end of one of the services we took my mom to. Babs Steisand was supposed to be there so she wanted to go.
Good grief.
 

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Sharon, I feel your pain. I am endlessly amazed at how materialistic and SELFISH people tend to be. People become so attached to things that in my mind have no real value, other than the arbitrary dollar value they assign to it. Having said that, I really think you should share your feelings with your fellow synagogue members. Perhaps your viewpoint could shed some light for people that have simply gotten caught up in this modern, material world.
 

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I am not trying to cause thread drift, so I hope my comment fits in with this topic.

Saw a news report on how the greatest givers to charity percentage-wise are the working poor. The very rich (those who are multi-millionaires and billionaires) do give very large amounts of money, but because those people make up such a small percentage of the charity-giving population, they come in at a much lower rate in terms of donations. Also, the non-working poor, meaning those on public assistance and welfare benefits give very little. The middle class who are not wealthy but are financially secure actually still give less than the working poor. The working poor is defined by those who live at near or below the poverty level and are employed. These working poor give the most to charity in terms of percentages.

Also, the citizens of the U.S. give more to charity in global terms than the citizens of most other developed countries, even countries like France, Germany, the U.K., etc. I'm not talking about the U.S. government, but the citizens.

I also don't understand why those who have so much can feel they can't help those who have nothing. I have a couple of family members who are this way, though. Kids spoiled rotten, always demanding bigger, better, newer, and they just throw the old stuff away. Last year I got two kids mountain bikes of theirs, probably rode a dozen times, and I donated them to the church for the Christmas toys program.

Our little church is probably considered a very poor church, but I have to say that it is one of the most giving churches I know of in terms of the actual help and good that is done. We don't have much to give, but together we can always come up with quite a bit. For example, we had a school supply drive the past two Sundays, and we ended up with boxes and boxes of supplies, and at least 100+ backpacks. We have a food collection once a month, and together we always manage to fill the bed of at least one and sometimes two pickup trucks stacked high with nonperishable foods, and we give donations to the local food bank to help people buy fresh foods. And we only have about 25-30 members in our church; none of us 'wealthy' and more than a few of us at or below poverty level.
 

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It's the way everyone is these days, Sharon. In fact it's been going on for quite some time. About 20 years ago I needed to take a winter coat to the dry cleaners to be cleaned (I rarely go to the dry cleaners unless it is absolutely necessary as it is expensive and I don't like the chemicals, etc.). That Saturday, while standing in line behind a lady who was being waited on, I overheard her conversation with the clerk about how expensive things were and the cost of living etc. etc. Then she came up with: We've decided we're just going to have to cut back on Christmas presents for the kids this year. We're only going to spend $1,000 on each of them, rather than $2,000.

I just about bit a hole in my lip to keep my mouth shut. When the lady left, the clerk and I had a nice chat about "old-fashioned" holidays with trees trimmed with homemade ornaments and cookies, Christmas stockings with oranges in the toe (and those oranges were special) and a few nuts and a bit of peppermint candy, plus maybe one game, some socks, undies, mittens, or other necessary articles of clothing. And certainly not $2,000 worth or even $1,000 of anything for anybody.

Yup, it surely seems that few people out there can appreciate the little things and having a few special things. Nope, they need bigger and better and newer . . . old is no good. Scheesch!! Now ya got me started!! LOL

MaryNY
 

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Why should anyone have to cut back you said they all have money.

The point was to provide jeans for other children who need them.

Just ask them to donate the jeans or the money to by a pair.

And it should not be anyone elses business how many gave, and who did not.

Maybe some will give two pairs of jeans.

The need being filled is what is inportant.

No who went without ! ! !

bumpus
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But Bumpus, I think the point (at least the one that I got) was that the other members seemed horrified to think that they might actually have to do without something they wanted - not needed, but wanted.
 

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Christine in OK said:
But Bumpus, I think the point (at least the one that I got) was that the other members seemed horrified to think that they might actually have to do without something they wanted - not needed, but wanted.
Well I have a completely different point.


They also have a right not to give also.

A need was purposed by one person for consiferation by the others, and the people responded they way that they wanted to, and Giving is the way to supply the need.

How it is done should make no difference as long as it is legal.
And NO ... A family should not have to forfeit anything to fill another's need unless they want to.

How a person gives should be personal, or you have people shocked, or disappointed, when they see people respond in a manner in which they themselves do not like.

That is why you have this problem the way it is now.

One family may give no pairs and another family may give 5 paires.


Give in secret and The Lord will reward you openly ! ! !

bumpus
 
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