November 18, 2008
Hanukkah in the Big Easy!
A few weeks ago I began a conversation with Orlie Prince and her family – Hanukkah was coming and the family wanted to do something more meaningful than exchanging gifts – they wanted to help other people. As Orlie shared with me:
This year Chanukah is all about giving for us. We feel very fortunate to have as much as we do and feel even more fortunate that we are in a position to help others during this holiday season.
They realized that the city of New Orleans had not yet recovered from the damage wrought by Hurricane Katrina and chose to travel there for a week of mitzvahs and Hanukkah celebration. How could we help?
Realizing the difficulties that arise in doing any volunteer work during the Christmas-New Year break, I introduced Orlie to Samantha Lakin, a Teach for America volunteer working with a special education class in one of the area’s poorest neighborhoods. Sam is not only a dynamic young woman, we know from firsthand experience just how creative and inspired she is when it comes to this type of mitzvah work. There was no doubt that connecting Sam to Orlie would produce special opportunities for everyone.
Within about 10 days, all arrangements have been made and the Prince family, including Rachel and Tamar, their two daughters, have made a generous commitment to help Sam’s class in whatever ways are identified by Sam and her fellow teacher. Rachel and Tamar have written letters to the class and even shopped for special DVD’s that Samantha has requested. And, as often happens, Rachel’s public school teacher wants to establish a relationship with Samantha’s class as well… mitzvah goreret mitzvah… one mitzvah surely leads to another!
We are excited about this connection and say Yasher Koach to the Prince family for their generosity and their intention to make Hanukkah a truly "giving" holiday.