Giving and Recieving: A Gift from the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago

Door l'Door is a labor of love. With each day, I am touched by the lives I touch when I give a mezuzah to an individual or family. AND I am also blown away by the emotions I feel when I receive mezuzot (more than one mezuzah) from those who want to give a mezuzah to those who have experienced the loss of their beloved homes. Never in my wildest dreams did I expect that I would have the opportunity to make a difference in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey or any natural disaster for that matter. With every ounce of my being, I felt like I had almost nothing to give. I say almost because I knew I could give my love and hugs; I knew I could cook a few meals and clean peoples belongings; and I knew that I could open up my home to families in need of a home or perhaps to volunteers from outside of Houston who wanted to help. But the truth is that I felt helpless. I believed that whatever I could do wouldn't really make a difference. One afternoon that all changed when I posted on Facebook that I wanted to purchase a few kosher scrolls to give to friends and congregants. The responses that followed made me realize that I couldn't just give to a few people, there were so many Jewish families who had their homes devastated by Hurricane Harvey. Just the mention of wanting to collect a few kosher scrolls led to sparks of love flying. Friends and colleagues all over the United States wanted to help, they wanted to give scrolls to those in need. And with that first mention, people started to collect money for scrolls, purchase scrolls and then make mezuzah cases to house the precious parchments. A couple of days after my first Facebook post asking about where to purchase kosher scrolls, the first two kosher scrolls arrived at my home, then another three, and then another two, slowly they have been coming in with promises of more. And then we had a national NFTY convention in which Jewish teens from all over our region under the artistic leadership of one of the many advisors, Michelle Renfrow, made fused glass mezuzah cases for our mezuzah recipients. With that my mission for Door l'Door grew:

When Jewish homes are destroyed, Door l'Door will provide each family with a new mezuzah.

Together, we can restore their spirits, nourish their souls, and renew their faith.

While my initial hope was to give mezuzot to those impacted by Hurricane Harvey in Houston, I soon realized that I wanted to give to those impacted by Hurricanes Ike and Maria and those impacted by earthquakes in Mexico and wild fires in Northern California. Jewish homes and congregations, a Jewish camp and Jewish owned businesses are needing to be rebuilt and I want to help all of them. Tonight came the largest donation to date. Door l'Door received 100 kosher scrolls and cases from the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago. These can be distributed immediately to those that had their homes devastated by Hurricane Harvey. While I was given a head's up about this precious gift a little more than a week ago, I was stunned by my reaction. I am not sure if the Chicago Federation volunteers who are visiting Houston knew it, but I was literally shaking when I saw the box. And as soon as I got to my car after receiving the scrolls, I could barely contain the tears that fell. And then came a new flood of tears once I got home and opened the box when I saw that each beautiful scroll would have a case to go with it. Tonight, for the first time in years, I realized that I was going to finally make a difference. With the help and love of our Jewish community as well as others, over 120 families to date will receive a kosher mezuzah and case. May their spirits, souls, and faith be impacted for good. I only need about 950 more scrolls and cases. I can do it with your help. With love, light, and gratitude, Chava

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