In the midst of national and international antisemitism, fear and insecurity, a Stoughton synagogue community sees beyond that to embrace and raise the spirits of vulnerable local children facing basic insecurity at Christmas.

In 2016, Ahavath Torah Congregation was approached by the Stoughton Public School System with a bakasha (request): create a space where people within the community could celebrate the Christmas holiday.

Our congregants got to work. The week before Christmas, ATC served a full turkey dinner with all the fixings in the social hall. Our multi-purpose room was filled with donated items for families to take home. The bimah (pulpit) was decorated and set for pictures with Santa. Congregants and community members participated in “adopt -a-child,” and Santa was able to distribute gift bags to many families.

Over the years, this chessed (act of kindness) has grown and shifted to meet the needs of the community. Today was year eight, and a year to remember! More than 70 children came through our Christmas drive-thru to see Santa.

The value of chessed is seen by many as Judaism’s most important ethical virtue, and it’s so much more than just kindnessChessed is imagination. It’s spirit. It’s often described as “giving oneself fully, with love and compassion.”

Ahavath Torah Congregation is not just a building in the center of town. It’s a central part of the village, committed to doing acts of chessed for the surrounding community.

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