By Becky Marks
Development Associate, JCUA
There are things in life we all take for granted: the roof over our head; food on the table; the privilege of voting—we as the Jewish people have inherited great blessings, but with that inheritance comes great responsibility.
As I was reading Parashat Toldot, I began to examine the notion of a birthright and an inherited responsibility.
In the parashah Esau, as the firstborn, would traditionally receive the birthright from his father Isaac, but the Torah explains that Esau took it for granted. His disdain becomes apparent when he trades this great inheritance for a mere bowl of lentil soup that Jacob is preparing.
As Jews, we all inherit a birthright—a responsibility to better the world we live in. However, it was not until I started working at the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs that I was exposed to a Judaism of Social Justice.
At JCUA, Judaism is not merely understood as scripture and worship, but a commitment to bring about justice through social action.
Each year, during an annual dinner, JCUA honors the day-to-day work and the overall accomplishments of socially conscious individuals who act on the values that Rabbi Robert J. Marx, our founder, lives and teaches. This year, we have chosen to award the Saks Family with the award.
Esther Saks and her late husband Alan passed on a birthright to their daughters, Ruth, Beth, Jane and Naomi, just as Isaac did onto Jacob and his father Abraham onto him.
Esther and Alan bestowed upon their daughters a remarkable foundation of social responsibility. Each daughter carries out this inherited commitment and social consciousness as she pursues an individual life of social justice.
A model for future generations, the Saks family is a rare and wonderful demonstration of how community responsibility and personal generosity work together to make the world a more just place.
Join us in honoring this incredible family on Nov. 18 at the Millennium Knickerbocker Chicago.