Please join us on July 14, 2019 at Congregation Emanu-El B’ne Jeshurun, located at 2020 W. Brown Deer Rd., River Hills, WI 53217, for a community celebration of the impactful life of my Abba, Jerry Benjamin, Z”L. Doors open at 10AM and the program will begin promptly at 11AM. seating is open and is expected to fill completely. Please plan accordingly.
While this event is free and open to the entire community, as those of you who knew him best will recall, Abba regularly took advantage of his own personal gatherings (birthdays especially) to help motivate people to give tzedakah (charity). In his tradition we are suggesting, whether you attend or not, that you consider a minimum gift of $36 to tzedakah in honor of Abba. Abba regularly liked to remind us that you never get if you never ask. He also liked to remind us that it feels really good to give tzedakah and so by asking we are really doing you a favor.
Why $36? In case you don’t know, here’s a quick primer on gematria. Gematria is a Jewish mystical practice of assigning a number to each letter in the Hebrew alphabet and then observing the value of words. The word in Hebrew for life is Chai. The first letter, the chet, has a numerical value of eight and the second letter, the yud, has a numerical value of ten. Together they have a value of 18 and so there is a practice of giving in multiples of 18 (double chai would be 36). If you are able to give more it will only feel that much better. For example, you might be in a position of giving for each year of Abba’s life (67 Chai would be 1206 which is the same numerical equivalent as the Hebrew word קשתות which means archery–if your are aiming for a higher gift that could be a bull’s eye!).
The list of places to which Abba gave over the years is massive. I’ll just tell you about two that received the most attention recently. The first is the scholarship fund at the Milwaukee Institute for Art and Design (more affectionately known as MIAD). Abba loved MIAD and when he learned they were struggling, back in the early 2000’s, he joined their board of trustees. The school is now growing and flourishing. You can join in his supportive efforts by giving to their scholarship fund. More information on their website.
The second is the Milwaukee Coalition for Jewish Learning. Abba always looked for ways to advance Jewish learning. He was tickled by the fact that this local organization included honoring all corners of the local Jewish education scene. Sure, they honor various teachers as one might expect, but they recognize that it takes a village and at the event last year when they honored Abba they also honored a custodian at one of the local schools. More information on their website.
If you are joining us from out of town, there are a few things to know. First, please email me as soon as possible to let me know when you will be arriving and how long you will be staying. Second, Milwaukee’s airport is called General Mitchel International Airport and is abbreviated MKE. Finally, there are three hotels relatively close to the event. We have a reduced rate under the name “Benjamin Gathering” at two out of the three hotels listed below. There are a limited number of rooms offered at this special rate and you must act fast (see deadlines below). The hotels are:
- the Fairfield Inn (7035 N Port Washington Rd, Glendale, WI 53217) which is the newest of the three has rooms for $169/night using the group rate “Benjamin Gathering” and must be booked by July 3
- the Residence Inn (7003 N Port Washington Rd, Glendale, WI 53217) which is next door to the Fairfield is around $200/night, but you get a kitchen
- the Four Points Sheraton (8900 N Kildeer Ct, Brown Deer, Milwaukee, WI 53209) is $129/night using the group rate “Benjamin Gathering,” must be booked by July 1, and offers a shuttle from the airport
And for you visual learners, here’s a quick map of the three: