by Anita Diamant

Anita Diamant

The Yiddish word schnorrer has more than one meaning. It can be used to describe a habitual moocher, someone who never picks up the check, or a low-level jerk, a no-goodnik. However, the first definition in most dictionaries is “beggar.”

There are all kinds of schnorrers: panhandlers on the street, the kid who knocks on your door collecting for UNICEF, and me, too.

In December I become a big schnorrer for Mayyim Hayyim.

This is not easy for me. Asking friends and acquaintances for donations can feel presumptuous – like I’m trying to cash in on our relationships. On the other hand, when my friends ask me to support good causes and organizations they care about, I am happy to give what I can. I also applaud them for asking because I know it’s not easy for them either.

A professional fundraiser once told me that asking for money gives him joy because he is providing others the opportunity to do something that will make them feel good.

I hope that my schnorring for Mayyim Hayyim calls up a vision of the kind of Jewish world we all want to build — fully inclusive, beautiful, intellectually honest, spiritually alive and joyful. I hope that giving to Mayyim Hayyim makes people feel terrific knowing they are helping to make that vision a reality.

It has been said (a million times) that people only give if they are asked. It has also been said (as often) that people tend to give when asked by people they know and care about. So I will keep asking.

In fact, I’m asking now. And I promise that you’ll feel great knowing you helped Mayyim Hayyim continue to comfort and celebrate, teach and inspire, flourish and lead in 2014. Please don’t assume “someone else” can take care of this. Or that your gift won’t matter that much. I schnorr because your contribution –$18, $180, or $1,800 – makes a difference.

Thank you for giving me the chance to do the mitzvah of asking.

Thank you for doing the mitzvah of giving.

Wishing you all good things in 2014.