Monday, September 6, 2010

Quilt Tzedakah

The Jewish New Year, which begins at sundown this coming Wednesday, is a time for introspection. A busy Jewish quilter in Ann Arbor, Michigan, who prefers to remain anonymous, sent me this message to share with others as we approach the High Holy Days:
"When I became a Jewish woman in 1996, I learned two phrases in Hebrew: tzedakah, which translates as justice and refers to charitable giving; and tikkun olam, which translates literally as “to repair the world” and means social action in English. It was not until ten years later, when I began quilting, that I found a way of making these words truly my own.

Every third or fourth quilt I make now is what I call a tzedakah quilt (one is shown here). Through my guild, many other quilters and I have donated quilts to our community’s women’s shelter. Learning about this program also inspired me to start donating quilts to a local children’s hospital, where there is an ongoing need for twin-size and baby quilts for the children admitted. I have also donated quilts for benefits, such as for our hospice care facility, and of course, I have given away many quilts just to family and friends.

These are my ways of giving back (tzedakah) and repairing a broken world (tikkun olam). The gift of a quilt has always been a gift of practicality and beauty, given with the hope of brightening a person’s surroundings and providing a pleasing, meaningful memory.

All forms of tzedakah and tikkun olam are important. It’s just nice to find a way of doing it that expresses all the love and care that a quilt does. I’m grateful to have discovered this tradition."

3 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing this....it is a lovely, inspirational story!

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  2. Joanne, Armstrong, BCSeptember 6, 2010 at 10:49 AM

    Thanks very much for posting this message. I have great respect for the depth of tradition in Jewish life and practice, and this gives more language for the strong charitable focus of so many quilters that I admire and appreciate.

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  3. Thanks for posting this beautiful sentiment. Your correspondent has shared beautifully of her faith tradition, but also of what many quilters are doing...creating change in the world, one quilt at a time.

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