Norman Spatz - Men’s Club President
The Bottom Line on the Memorial Candles
Each year that I have been a member of the Shaare Zion Men’s Club, one of the highlights of our Spring calendar has been the candle drive – a campaign to deliver two memorial candles to the door of each of our member’s homes – to mark Yom Ha’Sho’ah and Yom HaZikkaron in a personal act of remembrance. By the time this issue comes to your home, these days will have passed, and I hope that you lit the candles and found meaning in that act. I would also like to thank all those who worked on the candle campaign this year, both packing and delivering.
Getting the candles to your door involves a lot of effort on the part of those who arrange for the candles to be delivered to the synagogue, those who pack them into the thematic plastic bag along with the appropriate messages, and those who deliver them to the houses of their neighbours. Last year, it cost the Men’s’ Club $800 over what we received in donations to carry out the project. In years gone by, we were able to involve participants in the B’nai Mitzvah Programme, but this year the schedules simply didn’t mesh, and we were on our own for packing and delivery.
This year I did the math and went to the Shaare Zion Executive meeting on March 12 to suggest that we stop doing this programme. I felt that not enough of our members wanted to support it either in money or in time. Furthermore, there are public events sponsored by the Consul General of Israel to mark both occasions. I was most surprised by the responses of a number of Board Members who were strongly opposed to ending the programme. These responses came from people who admitted to having never donated to the programme, but felt strongly that this gesture was important to maintain.
So what are we supposed to do?
We will maintain the programme at least for next year, and see if we can’t make it more self-supporting. I thought of a number of reasons why people don’t donate.
It’s too complicated to give. Personally, I don’t use the mail a lot these days. All of my bills are paid online. Contributing to the candle campaign is now an option on the Shaare Zion website. You can log on and donate.
People don’t know what to give. The candles are surprisingly pricey. The Yom Ha’Sho’ah candles come in at just under $2, once you add in freight charges. The white memorial candles come in at under 75 cents. But wait, there’s more! The bags cost about 25 cents, the pizza for the day that we pack must be considered as well. Looking at this entire operation, and calculating deliveries, office time etc, we still come in under four dollars each. That being said, if you multiply this by 800 families, the costs are over three thousand dollars… and very few people actually donate.
If enough of you donated eighteen dollars or even ten dollars, we could cover our costs. Please donate to the candle campaign on the website… or write out a cheque and put it in the mail.
Our website now has photos from the events we ran in February, the Super Bowl, the Blood Drive and the Scotch Tasting. We are looking forward to more events of a social and community service nature over the summer – as soon as we catch our breath. Look for announcements in the weekly Shabbat Newsletter and online.
Check out some photos from our most recent events!
Scotch Tasting February 28, 2013
Blood Drive February 13, 2013
Super Bowl February 3, 2013