Archive for : Hanukkah

8 Nights of Giving Thanks: Turn Negatives Into Positives

Here at Repair the World November is Gratitude Month – a month dedicated to giving thanks for everything we are grateful for. And this week it’s also Hanukkah! To celebrate, Repair the World presents 8 Nights of Giving Thanks: tips and thoughts for filling the Festival of Lights with gratitude.

Are you a glass half empty or a glass half full type of person? (Or one of those smart cookies who says the glass is always full – half with liquid, and half with air!) Now is your chance to live on the happy side of life.

Everybody has ups and downs in the course of their year, month, or eve day. On the fifth night of giving thanks, take a few minutes to turn some negatives in your life into positives by finding their silver lining. The more positive thoughts you think, the happier life will be – in this season of giving thanks and all year round.

8 Nights of Giving Thanks: Keep a Gratitude Journal

Here at Repair the World November is Gratitude Month – a month dedicated to giving thanks for everything we are grateful for. And this week is also Hanukkah! To celebrate, Repair the World presents 8 Nights of Giving Thanks: tips and thoughts for filling the Festival of Lights with gratitude.

Gratitude is a wonderful thing, but it doesn’t always come naturally. One way to cultivate a sense of thankfulness is to start a gratitude journal. It’s easy: just write down the top 2 (or 5 or 10!) things you feel grateful for right now, and repeat on a regular basis.

Starting a gratitude journal can actually change your whole outlook on life. The more you actively think about and write down the things you fee; grateful for, the more you’ll begin to notice those moments appearing in your life. Here’s how to get started:

1. Get a journal. You can make notes on your computer if you like, but we recommend using a real, paper journal. It’s more fun that way!

2. Set a fixed journalling time. It can be lunch time, when you get home from work/school, right before bed – whenever makes the most sense for you. And consistency is key, so keep with it. Set a reminder on your phone to help you remember.

3. Write something. Some days you’ve got gratitude coming out of your ears; other days, not so much. But whether you write about something huge (the birth of your baby niece, graduating college, or the thoughtful birthday gift you received), or small (the smile you shared with the person checking out your groceries, not losing your keys for once), get in the practice of finding and writing about gratitude in your daily life.

4. Read it. Every month or two, take 20 minutes to read through what you’ve written. We bet you’ll have forgotten all about that one amazing thing that happened 5 weeks ago – and that reading about it will bring those feelings of gratitude right back!

Do you keep a gratitude journal? Share your advice and tips in the comments below or by tweeting @repairtheworld.

8 Nights of Giving Thanks: Let People Know You Appreciate Them

Here at Repair the World November is Gratitude Month – a month dedicated to giving thanks for everything we are grateful for. And this week it’s also Hanukkah! To celebrate, Repair the World presents 8 Nights of Giving Thanks: tips and thoughts for filling the Festival of Lights with gratitude.

Do you ever feel under-appreciated? Do you ever find yourself thinking that all your hard work has gone unnoticed? We’ve all been there. And together, we can all change that!

On the fourth night of giving thanks, make a commitment to give someone a compliment every day. Yep, every single day. Like the mailman’s tie? Tell him! Appreciate the sandwich your friend shared with you the other day when you forgot to bring yours? Let them know how generous they are. Think your coworker’s been doing an awesome job lately? Make their day with a compliment. (And maybe, if you’re feeling super generous, bring them a cupcake while you’re at it.) Show the people that you’re close to, or even those you do not know that you are grateful for them. You will make their day, and yours too.

8 Nights of Giving Thanks: Gratitude at the Thanksgiving Table

Here at Repair the World November is Gratitude Month – a month dedicated to giving thanks for everything we are grateful for. And starting tonight it’s alsoHanukkah! To celebrate, Repair the World presents 8 Nights of Giving Thanks: tips and thoughts for filling the Festival of Lights with gratitude.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, so tonight – as we light the first Hanukkah candles (very early this year, we know!) – is the perfect time to think about how to bring gratitude to your table on Thanksgiving and all year round.

In between prepping your turkey, baking a pumpkin pie, and mashing those potatoes, take a second to write up some simple “gratitude cards” for your table. They could say things: “What are you thankful for this year?” “I couldn’t live without _______.” “My wish for everyone at this table: _______” or “Who are you most thankful for?” Decorate them however you’d like and scatter them across your dinner table tomorrow, encouraging guests to pick them up and answer them.

Jewish tradition also has a long tradition of giving thanks by blessing food before a meal, and expressing our satisfaction for having eating it after. Learn more about those blessings here and here, or find your own ways to express gratitude for the incredible bounty of Thanksgiving.

How will you give thanks at your Thanksgiving table? Let us know in the comments or by tweeting us at @repairtheworld.

8 Nights of Giving Thanks: Night 1

Here at Repair the World November is Gratitude Month – a month dedicated to giving thanks for everything we are grateful for. And starting tonight it’s also Hanukkah! To celebrate, Repair the World presents 8 Nights of Giving Thanks: tips and thoughts for filling the Festival of Lights with gratitude.
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Repair the World’s 8 Nights of Sandy Service

Hanukkah is almost here. That means, it’s time for latkes (and all other types of delicious oily food), spinning dreidels and SERVICE! That’s where Repair the World’s Eight Nights of Sandy Service comes in.

Last year, we launched our “Eight Nights of Service” series, which suggested an awesome volunteer project, donation opportunity or other way to spread tikkun olam (repairing the world) and get involved during the holiday – one for each night. Hanukkah is about miracles, after all, so what better way to celebrate than by doing good? (And eating doughnuts, of course.)

This year, in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, which devastated many communities throughout the tri-state area and beyond, we’re dedicating our Hanukkah series to ways you can spread both short and longer-term relief to the impacted people and neighborhoods, and shine Hanukkah’s light into the darkness left by the storm.

Starting Sunday, Dec 9 keep your eyes peeled for each Sandy-related service idea – and this Hanukkah, let your spirit for helping other last for eight days and nights!

#8SANDYNIGHTS OF SERVICE POSTS

Night 1! Join Repair the World in Making Literacy Kits
Night 2! Donate your Apartment through AirBnB
Night 3! Give Gifts that Support Victims
Night 4! 12.12.12 The Concert for Sandy Relief
Night 5! Schedule a Blood Donation Appointment
Night 6! Listen to Matisyahu’s Hanukkah Song
Night 7! Help New Jersey Recover
Night 8! Support 350.org’s Climate Change Work

What miracles will YOU make this year? Tweet us @repairtheworld #8Sandynights.

Chanukah: A Time to Rededicate Communities

On Chanukah, the Jewish community celebrates the rededication of the ancient Temple that was desecrated by people who did not tolerate Jews and their practices. We learn about the miracle of the oil following that military victory – but truly, the triumph of Chanukah is that the Maccabees managed to create social change. Specifically, they fought for a society that would allow them to live, learn and worship as they pleased.

Before winning that important victory, educating their young children was still a priority for the Jewish people – to the point where, when forbidden from engaging in Torah study, the Jews hid in caves and risked their lives to study and teach Torah. Today, we commemorate the determination of the Jewish people to educate their children by playing with a dreidel (a top). Jewish children would play with a dreidel when soldiers would approach them to see if they were learning.

These were the priorities, even when oppressed: education, legacy, maintaining their community.

While circumstances are very different today, we live in communities where children living in poverty do not have access to high-quality education. Communities throughout our region have encountered desecration: crime, poor academic achievement, lack of job opportunities; the list goes on and on. We can either accept this status quo, or like the Maccabees, fight to ensure that education is improved and accessible to all.

The Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life (ISJL)’s Department of Community Engagement, through a Jewish service-learning fellowship program created by Repair the World, is launching a project that will increase impact and meaningful service opportunities for Jews living in the South. Repair the World, like the ISJL, aims to make service a more defining part of American Jewish life by infusing service-learning with Jewish sources, values and traditions.

The ISJL is in the early stages of piloting an initiative that will work closely with several congregations to develop ongoing and meaningful Jewish service-learning projects that will impact the educational experience of youth in each of their communities.

After conducting some preliminary surveys and research we decided to focus on education, because it is an area of great need in our region and of great interest to ISJL’s partner congregations. These congregations will benefit from Repair the World’s established service models and tools.

Each participating congregation will convene a group of congregants who will commit to meet monthly to discuss potential project ideas, learn about their local community and join in Jewish text studies. The outcome of these conversations is that the congregation will select a project that can meaningfully impact their community.

As we celebrate the rededication of the Temple, congregations throughout the South can envision rededicated communities where all children have access to education of the highest quality.

The ISJL seeks to assist congregations develop existing or new programs that will foster social change in their communities. Can you imagine this program in your community? If you can, please contact Malkie Schwartz at 601.362.6357 or [email protected].

Respectively, Repair the World is piloting a national education campaign aimed at connecting American young Jewish professionals as volunteer tutors and mentors assisting our nation’s students, and seeks to collaborate with the ISJL on this important endeavor.

To learn more about Repair the World and to read more about the Repair Fellowship and other service programs being implemented around the country, please visit www.werepair.org.

About Malkie Schwartz

Malkie Schwartz is the director of Department of Community Engagement at the Institute of Southern Jewish Life in Jackson, Miss.