Thanks: A DC Poem

For U.S.A. chagim
We love July Fourth
Memorial Day’s meaning
And Labor Day’s worth
Veteran’s Day’s solemn
MLK Day’s inspiring
Columbus Day is about an explorer not tiring
But of all of these days
When our offices rest,
We all should agree
That Thanksgiving’s the best.

It’s the food
It’s the family
It’s an ancestral vision
Even though most of us
Aren’t related to Pilgrims
So with belly’s a-swollen
With victuals digestible
Here are some of the figures
That we thank at our table

We’re thankful for donors,
Volunteers and teachers,
Subscribers, new members
And fitness goal reachers.
We’re thankful for films
For Authorial speakers
For treadmill addicts
Who wear-out their sneakers.
We’re thankful for Circles,
Scott, Dupont and Logan
Thanks for the ‘hood
Someone named “Borderstan

Of course we are thankful
for our partners, Federation.
For synagogue rabbis
And all congregations:
Like Bet Mish and Micah
DC Minyan and Adas
Wash-Hebrew and T.I.
With religious org status
Kesher, Sinai, Ohev
For the ‘gogue on Sixth Street
Rosh Pina and wherever more than
10 Jews can meet

Thank you Vince Gray
And to the government of DC
From our rep Jack Evans
To our local ANC.
For the folks on the Hill,
Boehner, Cantor and Reid,
It not just thanks
But a deal that you need.
Once the debt deal is done
Or before if you’re open,
Thanks, please give a vote
To Eleanor Holmes Norton.

Thanks for Obama,
And Mitt and Newt too,
We’ll see who’s most thankful
In Twenty, One-Two.
And Occupy K Street
And Tea Party Nation
And David Petraeus
And Alex Ovechkin.

Thanks to the Nats,
The Skins and the Caps
The Wizards get thanks
When the lockout gets scrapped.
So thanks to Rex Grossman,
Davey Johnson, Mike Rizzo
The Shanahan clan,
And bald Bruce Boudreau.

Thanks Michael Kaiser
A toast to Todd Gray
Thanks Reggie Love,
Who is going away.
Thanks City Paper and
The Post’s Reliable Source
Thanks weather-guy Bob Ryan
And Nat’s Slugger Mike Morse.

Thanks Wale, thanks Kojo
Thanks Hilda Solis
Thanks Justice Kagan
And the Metro Police.
Thanks Dr. Jill Biden,
And George Pelecanos,
Thanks Ezra Klein
Welcome home Wilson Ramos.

Give thanks for the thanks
That you know that you’re due.
Give thanks for the J
Cause we give thanks for you.

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Why the Jewish Federation’s Super Sunday Doesn’t Suck

button-supersundayAt the risk of losing whatever credibility I might have established for this blog’s attempt to walk the line between adhering to organizationally approved messaging and an authentic, opinionated voice engaged in a dialogue on the interwebs; I rise in defense of the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington’s Super Sunday. It takes place this Sunday (duh), February 22.

That’s right. I rise in defense of the annual ritual which many active and semi-active members of the Jewish community deride for combining the subtlety of a flim-flam phone solicitor with the charm of a maternal guilt trip. For many this day alone justifies the annual expense of caller i.d. For others, it is a chore dutifully awaited with the dread approximating that of a colonoscopy–somewhat uncomfortable, mildly humiliating, easily (natch) ridiculed, but ultimately good for you and your family.

And I’m here to say, “Get over it.”

Let’s deal with a few of the standard objections:

I don’t like being asked to give money to Israel.
However you feel about Israel and its government (if they have one yet), you’re not paying for F-16s or tear gas. Rather the money is distributed through partner agencies which include the Jewish Agency for Israel and is generally used for such devious purposes as aiding new immigrants, the poor and disadvantaged.  Although the reality is that a great deal of the money is used to support local agencies (including my employer) that probably have affected your life for the better at some point or another. If you got something against JCCs, Jewish day schools, summer camps, group homes for the disabled and hot nutrition programs for the elderly, then by all means hang up.

I don’t like giving money over the phone.
Fine you can give online. Do it soon enough and we won’t call you. Although I better not catch you ordering from a catalog over the phone or prepaying for that Chinese delivery.

I don’t like calling and asking strangers for money.
That’s fine, there are other ways to help. But, really, unless you have extreme phone-anxiety, that reason is a little bit of a cop-out. If you want a Jewish community you have to step up and help make it happen. When you make a call, succeed or fail, you’re helping to make it happen. There’s a script you can follow, and not everyone you call is going to be a jerk to you. In fact, on many calls I’ve made, there’s a tacit agreement that the caller and the called are to perform the ritual of asking for a pledge and then giving it in some increment of $18.  It is perfunctory, but oddly satisfying.

Come on, doesn’t the Red Cross or Amnesty International need the money more?
I bet you give your money somewhere. Okay. How well do they spend it? Do you give to the Red Cross? Human Rights Campaign? Amnesty International? Local public radio or tv? The Boys and Girls Club? According to Charity Navigator, an online watchdog of non-profit efficiency (or lack thereof), the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington has a higher overall rating than any of those (JFGW’s 65.84 vs. 49.2, 56.62, 47.3 and 50.87 and 48.98 respectively). Don’t even get me started on the Boy Scouts (bunch of degenerates).

Aren’t you trying a little too hard? Can there really be anything cool about Super Sunday?
I don’t know, is this girl cool? Finally, tell me this girl isn’t cool AND raising money for the Jewish community? [UPDATE: The embedding doesn’t work, but double click on the image or follow this link to YouTube. Believe me, it is worth it.]

See you Sunday.

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