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Reflections on Day of Giving

I wrote this blog after the Day of Giving and so much has changed in this short time due to the Coronavirus. With all the uncertainty around us, our new social distancing and now, Bialik’s Online Learning Program, I have seen our community come together for the greater good to look out for one another and do what’s best for us as a collective Bialik family. This is who we are as a community, and it makes the amazing generosity I witnessed on the Day of Giving even more poignant. So, while this post was written about my thoughts and feelings after our  incredible Day of Giving, I think the message of generosity and caring for one another resonates even louder now, as we experience these unsettling times. 

– Heather

Teach me and I may remember. Involve me and I will learn.

Benjamin Franklin


Something fantastic happened in our city at the beginning of March.

A total of 5,875 donors banded together to raise $6.5 million in support of Toronto’s Jewish day schools and Jewish education. Through the generosity of 565 donors, Bialik raised upwards of $370,000. With the help of 50 volunteers, the Day of Giving was abuzz with energy, excitement and camaraderie. I have no doubt that it left an indelible impression on everyone who was involved — I know that I am still in awe.


At pickup time, many parents came in to make their donations with their child or children at their side. It got me thinking about how we, as parents, are responsible for imparting so many things to our children, and that learning to give back should be no exception. How can we harness the power of young people and help them develop a lifetime philanthropic spirit? How can we empower our children through our own acts of charity?

The word philanthropy is Greek meaning “loving humanity.” Simply put, it is an altruistic choice one makes to improve the welfare of the human condition. It is a value instilled and shared by many cultures, especially in Judaism. We all know the rewarding feeling that goes with acts of kindness or service that make an impact, and is something that we, as Jews, hold true to our hearts. Sharing our time, our treasure and our talent gives us a heightened sense of connection to others and the importance of making sure it remains generative is not just empowering, but crucial.

There are so many different ways to teach our children about giving back. Whether it is donating used toys and clothes to worthy organizations, social advocacy or participating in a food drive. The annual UJA Walk for Israel is a simple, yet incredible, way to make our children feel part of something that is bigger than them, and teaches them that they are playing a part in making a difference. 

I encourage you to have deliberate conversations about your own philanthropic destinations and why you choose to give where you do. This will give your children the tools and the role modelling to understand the values and the principles of Tzedakah. 

Actions speak louder than words. When we model the good, we know that we leave an impression. When children learn to give from an early age, it soon becomes second nature. Giving begets giving, as we have witnessed. 

These days, when everyone is an influencer, I encourage you to be an influencer where it counts. Make a real impact and teach your children about charitable acts and giving back. It might be the best thing you do today!


Heather Gutmann

Director of Development