Meet Some of our Donors from the Endowment Book of Life
We thank all our planned-gift donors for their generous support. Here are some of their stories.
I am seventy-nine years old. My father and mother were both born in the United States. My father died in an accident when I was only five years old, and I hardly remember him. My mother died when I was eleven. I grew up in St. Louis, Missouri in the thirties and forties, living with an aunt and uncle who raised me. I had almost no religious education, although I always knew that I was Jewish. In 1949 I married Betty Jean Applebaum who was raised in a small town on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. She had no Jewish upbringing.
When I was fifty, we were invited to go on a mission to Israel with The Associated. I remember saying to Betty Jean: “All Jews go to Israel at one point or another during their lives.… let’s go and get it over with!” That mission (the first of seven) was an awakening of our Jewishness. Since then, we both feel proud to be Jews, and we thank The Associated for how it has changed our lives. The Martin S. Himeles, Sr. Foundation was established with The Associated, to make certain that our annual gift is perpetuated, and to help us meet other charitable obligations. We allow each of our seven grandchildren to give $500 a year to various charities that they choose, and these gifts are paid for by our Foundation. We feel that this is yet another way to teach them the meaning of tzedakah, and to stress the importance of charitable giving.
In some sense, my desire to endow my annual gift to The Associated represents an affirmation of my belief in the future of the Jewish people and the Baltimore Jewish community, in particular. Our people have endured and thrived through thousands of years and challenges. I am willing to bet on our Jewish community that it will be here in the future. I want to participate in the Jewish community long after I am no longer physically present on this earth. In some respects, this is also a stab at immortality. I want to stand up and be counted as a member of the Jewish community even after I die.
This brings me to a further reason for endowing my annual gift. While I do not know if my children will live in Baltimore, I am confident they will participate in their own Jewish communities. But, I do know where I come from – where my life, family and identity were nurtured. I am eternally grateful to the Baltimore Jewish community, and endowing my gift enables me to express this gratitude in an eternal way.
I moved to Baltimore from Baton Rouge, Louisiana in 1987. I moved to Baltimore because I wanted to part of a more vibrant Jewish community. It was also very important to me to raise a Jewish family in a strong Jewish community. Soon after I arrived, I was introduced to the Associated Jewish Charities. Since then, I have had the opportunity to be involved in many aspects of The Associated’s work (I was president of the Baltimore Jewish Council from 2002-2004). My involvement with The Associated taught me how important it is to support the Jewish community, both locally and around the world. The sad truth is that if we do not make the effort to help our own community thrive, no one else will.
Regardless of our Jewish affiliation, we must do everything in our power to perpetuate Judaism in the world. This cannot be achieved if we do not instill these values in our children. I am proud of my commitment to the Jewish community, and I hope that my children will continue this legacy.
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