Em had an initially Very Disappointing Day today, wherein her soccer team lost its second playoff game in these double-elimination playoffs, ending their (really wonderful for many reasons) season. At the end of the game she was told by her coach that she had apparently missed the cutoff for the all-star league by just a couple of girls; he wasn't at the 'draft' because he was coaching their game, but the report he got didn't include her name.
So it was a double thrill when Coach D called tonight (and left a message on Baroy's cell, AND emailed Baroy as well) to tell Em that she had indeed made the team, and was she interested in playing for him during the All-Star season?
You could have read the fine print on a contract using the glow of delight from her face. Me, I was kind of looking forward to being done with soccer for the year. But I can't begrudge her this. She so loves playing this game, and to be singled out as an all-star, after being the highest-ranked of the younger half of the team...Like I said, I can't begrudge.
I went to a short adult-ed class at my synagogue this morning, where we talked about Chanukah and its meaning and how to make it more meaningful, etc. At the end, I asked my rabbi about the whole new book thing, and it's official: I need to let it go.
Well, that's giving myself a little too little in the way of credit. What he actually said to me, in short, was that it was perfectly reasonable for agencies/groups/organizations to ask for new and unwrapped toys and even books. But he also said that it was perfectly reasonable for me to respond to that by saying, "In that case, I don't have anything to give you," and to go off and find a group that would be happy to take what I have to offer. And, most importantly, he said that while, yes, there is this commandment to give tzedakah (a Hebrew word which both does and doesn't mean charity), there is no commandment that says I have to give tzedakah to my school district's Healthy Start program. If what I have or want to give does not match up with what they need, I should move on. I shouldn't resent them, but neither should I feel badly for not doing it their way.
And so that's what I'm going to do. I'm going to let it go. I'm even going to try not to make a big (OK, bigger) deal over why I'm not giving to this specific toy and book drive. I'm just not going to give, and I'm going to try really, really hard not to assume that I'm being looked at as a cheap Jew for not giving. I will, instead, bring my gently used books to the places my rabbi suggested today, and if I am asked by anyone at school, I will say that I've already done my charitable giving for the holiday season and leave it at that.
Or, at least, that's the plan.
Now, if I can only stop myself from snarling at the gay-hating evangelical Salvation Army crews outside every single frigging supermarket in the world right now, I'll be damned near eligible for sainthood. If Jews had saints, I mean. And if saints were allowed to curse like sailors.