Pamela Klier-Weidner wrote -
This December 21st, I will turn 50 years old. I have spent most of my life not really thinking about, or asking for birthday presents. (I was a weird kid.) It's just not really my thing. I am alive, I live indoors, have food to eat, and have a host of family, friends and colleagues who I absolutely love. So, I consider myself a rich woman with a modest amount of money. More than anything, I want to be helpful to others. This drive to be helpful has been the core inspiration for all I did as a kid and all I do now.
In the past several years, some of you know I struggled with my own host of severe personal issues and especially when I dealt with my own serious illness as a single mom of two girls. While I knew at the time it would be logical and even a relief to request help with my obscene medical costs, I never asked. I'd thought about creating a personal fundraising site, and while I wasn't behaving as a martyr, I think I had faith that I'd get through it, and I did. When I began working at ORT as Campaign Director for the Metropolitan Chicago Region, it just felt like home. I waited a very long time to find the right fit, and I'm so grateful for my discernment and my acceptance of eating Ramen with great frequency.
My Mom, the incomparable Lois Klier, was dedicated to ORT when I was a wee one. She dove into the organization when I was almost 11 months old. I used to go along with her to meetings and events and while I don't remember everything about my childhood, I remember ORT. Everyone was so engaged and as dedicated to ORT as I've ever seen. Many of these ORT ambassadors are still deeply engaged and while some have died and they are sorely missed, their legacies are interspersed throughout ORT all over the world. I think that says a hell of a lot about the strength of a mission and vision.
While I was over the moon to carry on my Mother's legacy, I had no idea, until I arrived here at almost 50 years of age, how much this organization and its work would churn my own insides; how it would impact my whole life, my history and my own identity as a Jewish woman. I have learned that Jewish Continuity is important to me. I have learned that I MUST go to Israel. I am Jewish and I think I am finally owning and embracing it with a beautiful new lens.
So... this year, I am asking for one gift. There is an URGENT campaign to raise funds in the former Soviet Union. The ORT School and specifically the de Gunzburg School in St. Petersburg is in grave danger of losing its STEM programming. If they lose this programming, Jewish Continuity comes to a screeching halt. The science, technology, engineering and math is what brings students and their families to the school. If they lose that, they lose the Jewish education. This is especially important in such a secular society.
I am asking for $18, or "CHAI."
In Hebrew, the related word chaya means "life" or "long life", and is derived from the Hebrew word chai , meaning "life". It is a very common practice to "give chai," or in multiples of $18.
By "giving chai," you not only impact the future of students, their families and their communities, but you are giving me the very best 50th birthday I could ever hope for. If only half of my Facebook friends gave $18, I'd make my fundraising goal of $18,000 by 12/31/16. If you're thinking, "Why am I giving to this?" I will give you some good reasons. This is multiple choice:
- I care about education
- I care about Jewish Continuity
- I care about children
- I care about Pam
- I care about Lois Klier
- I care about my ancestors in the former Soviet Union and would like to be a part of positive impact for these communities
- I care about my family who was involved with ORT for years
- I am an agent of change and that's just how I roll
- I have tons of "chai" under my bed and have to prep for spring cleaning, so I'm going to need to give at least 18 "chais" to this urgent fundraising campaign!
- I care about donating three "chais, " in hopes of enhancing Pam's life by enhancing the life of ORT's schools and programming
- I care, but I have no mula. Please share widely with your networks!
- All of the above
There's no wrong answer and you catch my subtle drift. Even if we've never met in person, I'm putting myself out there with passion, love and with appreciation for all of the individuals who in some way, impact my life. You may not know it, but you do make a difference in my life. I hope with all of my might that I impact you in the same way, and that you'll invest in ORT. This will be a direct and powerful message to my heart, that I have impacted you and your life and that you are invested in me too. Thank you in advance you philanthropist, you.
P.S. CHAI there.