Teens Learn Jewish Values, Philanthropy
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Blogs from the 2016-2017 Saltzman Youth Panel
by Reagan Anthony
On Sunday, October 9, the 2016-17 Saltzman Youth Panel opened our first meeting by talking about an amazing individual. There are many words to describe Maurice Saltzman – orphan, businessman, and entrepreneur are just a few that come to mind. The most important word I can use to describe Mr. Saltzman would be teacher. A great philanthropist, he embodied the Jewish value of Arevut, a moral obligation to other Jewish people, and indirectly, allows us to learn to do the same.
At our first meeting, surrounded by 39 of my peers, we were asked a question we had been asked countless times before: "If you have one million dollars, how would we spend it?" For most, if not all of us, that question has always been anecdotal. But on Sunday, for the first time, it beared some weight. Together, the 40 of us would be allocating $34,000 to the Jewish community and $6,000 to an organization in our greater Cleveland community – a total of $40,000.
As we went around the room sharing our hypothetical beneficiaries, I noticed our shared interest: medical research, education, and hunger to name a few. None of us, however, picked a specifically Jewish cause. When someone pointed that out, I immediately looked inward. I am currently serving as the Regional Vice President of Judaic Programming and Community Service of The Ohio Northern Region BBYO, so why didn't I think of a Jewish cause?
All of us were in the room because we had been touched by the Federation in different ways. The answer was clear – our Jewish values were apparent in our chosen causes. The value of Pikuach Nefesh (the saving of a life) in medical research and VeShinantam LeVanecha (you shall teach your children) in education, to name a few.
Independently, we made a commitment to allocate our money in a way that best represents our values; To give back to the community that has given us so much in different ways.
Mr. Saltzman was many things – a husband, a father, a mensch, a leader – but he was also a teacher. As we started the New Year with our first session as the newest cohort of the Saltzman Youth Panel, we remember, honor, and strive to fulfill our promise by responding to the needs in the community and our commitment to the Jewish people.
Reagan Anthony is a senior at Orange High School and a member of The Temple-Tifereth Israel. She is active in BBYO, Republication Jewish Coalition, Israeli Culture Club, and is a counselor at Camp Wise.