In Conclusion: A Kavannah Before Buying
As you go forward with the planning for your celebration, you’ll have to make many purchasing decisions. As we’ve explored throughout this guide, Jewish families across our region are already approaching these purchases as an opportunity to affirm their values.
This booklet ends with a literal “take-away” — something (following) that you can cut out and take with you to keep close at hand in the weeks and months to come.
A kavannah is a sacred intention with which Jews approach a particular act. This “Kavannah Before Buying” is an invitation to bring the ideas in this guide forward into the decisions for your celebration. It is an invitation to pause for a moment and ask yourself some questions before making a purchase.
This kavannah is designed to fold around your credit or debit card like a tallis or tallit/Jewish prayer shawl. Just as a tallis’ four tassels remind us of our deepest values, this “wallet tallis” can wrap around your charge card as a reminder to pause long enough before a purchase to ask yourself some important questions.
Sometimes these questions have no easy answers, and sometimes a greener or more just choice isn’t practical given time or financial constraints. But in other cases, asking these questions can bring forth creative, joyful ideas that reflect your family’s vision for a better world. Either way, know that you are asking yourself these questions alongside many other local Jewish families. They, too, are approaching their celebrations with this same kavannah—to try to direct the dollars they spend in light of Jewish values.
Even small decisions add up. All together, Jewish families in the Washington area spend $30 million every year on celebrations, according to the Milestone Media Group. Working together, we can have a powerful impact. Imagine if we all directed even half of those dollars towards local organic farms; hotels where workers have a voice on the job; green businesses; fair trade gifts that support artisans far away; and good non-profit organizations. In other words, imagine if those dollars not only purchased joyful celebrations, but also went to work building a world that is green and just.
Join us by taking on the “Kavannah Before Buying” as a sacred intention for yourself and your family.
A Kavannah Before Buying:
- Is this something I need?
- Do I already own something that could serve the same purpose?
- Can I borrow one, find one used, or make one instead of buying new?
- Was it made locally?
- Was it made with environmentally preferable materials?
- Was it made with fair labor practices?
- Will it serve more than one purpose?
- Is it made well enough to last a useful amount of time?
- Will using it require excessive energy?
- Does it come in excessive packaging?
- Can I recycle or compost it when I'm done with it?
- If I'm still not sure, can I wait a month before deciding to buy it?
- If I do decide to buy this, how many/much will I really need?
- Will this purchase enhance the meaning and joy of my celebration?