Supporting the Community is a Mitzvah

Judaica Baskets Community Project

Inspired by clergy in the Sonoma region, our Federation is coordinating a community project for Jewish families who lost their homes in the North Bay wildfires. This is a heartfelt effort done in partnership with local synagogues, Jewish preschools, day schools and high schools, Judaica stores, affinity groups, nonprofit organizations, and individuals. The Project performs a mitzvah by adopting and assembling Judaica baskets that will be distributed to families as they begin to rebuild their lives. We know that so much of our own Judaica is passed down by generation, collected with love, and attached to special memories. This inspirational gesture is meant to replace lost treasures through community warmth, support, and healing.

The call from Sonoma clergy came late one night while the skies were red and the fires were raging. Could we find a way to replace the treasured Judaica Jewish families lost in the fires? Through this project, the community is answering that call together – yes. It’s all about sharing the love, spreading the mitzvah, and helping to heal the North Bay as one united Jewish community.

Presently, we are aware of 52 affiliated Jewish families who lost their homes, and we know that number is even greater since many unaffiliated Jewish families live in the area. This project is ideal for students and families to volunteer and have a hands-on giving experience in a time of need. Families can include cards of encouragement or small postcards/art from students. Additionally, this can be woven into a lesson on making a real difference, responding to crisis/disasters, and our universe of obligation to take care of one another.

We encourage you to support our Bay Area Judaica stores, knowing their inventory is sourced responsibly. We are pleased to have local Judaica stores including Afikomen, Dayenu, Fair Trade Judaica, and the Contemporary Jewish Museum participating, and Dayenu and the CJM are also offering a 20% discount to all customers shopping for the Judaica Basket Community Project. We recommend that baskets be assembed during the month of November. While the baskets should be beautiful, they do not need to be overly expensive. Finished baskets should be wrapped in a clear cellophane bag and tied with a bow.

Each basket should include:

  • Candlesticks and Shabbos candles
  • Kiddush cup
  • Challah cover
  • Mezuzah
  • Klaf
  • Menorah and candles
  • Dreidels
  • Havdallah set
  • Seder plate
  • Chumash (English and Hebrew)

The Federation will be arranging accessible drop off and pick-up locations in each region for ease, and baskets will be available for families to select privately at the Jewish Community Center of Sonoma County and other local synagogues.

We encourage you to spread the word and inspire your friends to take part in this project. For more information, contact Caroline Poland, or call 415.512.6252.

Thank you to all of the organizations and individuals who have participated in this project:

Synagogues: Peninsula Sinai Congregation, Congregation Sha'ar Zahav, Congregation Emanuel, Congregation Sherith Israel, Chabad of San Francisco, Congregation Adath Israel, Chabad Jewish Center of Sonoma
Jewish Day Schools: Bais Menachem Yeshiva School, Meira Academy, Wornick Jewish Day School, The Brandeis School of San Francisco
Preschools: PJCC Preschool, Shalom School
Jewish Organizations: Moise House, Honeymoon Israel, BimBam, PJCC, Osher Marin JCC
Judaica Stores: Afikomen, Fair Trade Judaica, Contemporary Jewish Museum Store, Dayenu
Affinity Funding Groups: San Francisco Jewish Women's Fund of the Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund
Individuals: Stephanie Lauter, Laura Goodman, Chaya Kurtz and the ladies of Crown Heights, Tirtza Pearl


November 17, 2017