The High Holidays are almost here with their message of hope and redemption: hope for a sweet New Year and, this year, hope that everyone, everywhere in the world, will be free from the devastating coronavirus, and hope that the millions who have lost their livelihoods will get back to work. It is also a time to reflect on how we, acting from a sense of justice and compassion, can do our part to make things better.

Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks reminds us: “Jews gave to the world the idea of time as a narrative of hope, which meant that what is lost can be regained, what is destroyed can be rebuilt, what disappears may one day return…. And it’s the message the world needs right now. We have a great deal that has been lost or ruined in our world—economically, politically, educationally and, above all, socially. And we have to show what it is never to give up hope—that we can rebuild what has been ruined.”

We will rebuild together and, hopefully, with more awareness of our interdependence. Mayan Hands, a fair-trade, non-profit organization, has partnered for 30 years with 200 talented Mayan weavers. Selling their beautiful, handcrafted items in a fair-trade market, the women have been able to lift their families out of the relentless poverty rampant in rural Guatemala.


At this time, however, due to the pandemic, sales of their products have gone down 70% and the women have seen their work, and their income, reduced to a minimum. Thanks to the generosity of Mayan Hands’ donors, in lieu of work orders, the women received two subsidies, one in April and one in June, that have enabled them to buy their basic needs.

It is clear, however, how much they miss having the work that has sustained their families and supported their children’s educations. “We are going through a very difficult time,” said Abelina C. “In Guatemala, many people have died and many have lost their jobs. We have not had any work orders for three months, and who knows if we will ever get back to work.”

Through 30 years of working together, we have seen their self-esteem and independence strengthened by the opportunity to work. Mayan Hands is committed to supporting its artisan partners through this challenging time. The women have worked hard for many years to create unique, quality products, gaining the respect of customers in the global marketplace. As their partners on this journey, we are committed to finding new ways to increase sales and get these women back to work.

With this goal in mind, we have set up the project “Rebuilding Together: Hope and Sweetness” for the New Year. Help our artisan partners get back on their feet by sending your loved ones a gift that will elevate their High Holiday celebrations and make them even more beautiful.

We are offering three options: a gift box with a handwoven challah cover (in one of three colors) and a jar of kosher honey, sustainably sourced in the U.S.; a gift box with a pine-needle and wild-grass basket, which can be used for apples on your holiday table, and a jar of honey; and a combination gift box with a challah cover, basket and jar of honey. A project description will be included with all gift boxes, along with your personal note, if you choose.

Learn more here.

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