Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Happy Hanukkah!

A Selection of Chicago's Jewish Congregations, in Relation to Poverty and Known Tutor/Mentor Programs

"For it is said, 'You shall strengthen the stranger and the dweller in your midst and live with him,' {Leviticus XXV:35} that is to say, strengthen him until he needs no longer fall [upon the mercy of the community] or be in need." - Eight Degrees of Charity: Rambam, Hilchot Mat'not Ani'im 10:1,7-14 (Maimonides, Mishneh Torah, Laws of Gifts of [that belong to] the Poor)

(Part 3 of T/MC's 2010 "Mapping Solutions" online gallery)
As Hanukkah continues this holiday season, I have chosen to quote Jewish rabbi and philosopher Maimonides, from his writings in the Mishneh Torah, regarding charity or tzedakah. I am also featuring the map Tutor/Mentor Connection (T/MC) has designed to show the locations of over 100 known Jewish congregations (as exists in the T/MC database. Please let us know if yours is not here).

It is our hope (not just during Hanukkah, but every day) to find spiritual leaders in these locations that might help us tie scripture to our mission... and help us make sense of our work to the area's religious community.

Leaders at these locations have the power to increase the reach, frequency and consistency of tutoring/mentoring programs for the poor... ultimately helping thousands of kids make better decisions and find success in life, in spite of high concentrations of poorly-performing schools in high-poverty areas. It is our hope that our work contributes to safer communities and stronger economies for all in the future.

Looking at the map, Jewish congregations are typically located in more affluent communities, and many are clustered near I94 (a major artery leading into high-poverty communities throughout Chicago). Thus, many Jewish congregations are in strong positions to take leadership roles that point volunteers, donors, and attention to tutor/mentor programs that already exist... or to neighborhoods where new programs need to be created.

This holiday season, you might choose to use our online map to locate a non-profit program near you or your congregation; programs like Cabrini Connections that would greatly benefit from a holiday gift of tzedakah.

Many blessings, and much peace and good fortune to people of Jewish faith in our community this holiday season! Happy Hanukkah!


We at Tutor/Mentor Connection (T/MC) have spent the past several years using maps to identify and analyze areas of our city where support for at-risk youth needs to grow, in order to make our students brighter, our workforce stronger, and our streets safer.

We operate on a non-profit budget and rely on donations and charity to continue our work, using state-of-the-art GIS technologies in support of our community-based mission.

Note: since 2011 the Tutor/Mentor Connection has been operated by Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC. While this is not a tax exempt organization, it still depends on contributions to continue this work. Please consider a small donation this holiday season.

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