Guest Blogger: Dana Tangir-Guenoun

By Lori on 04/13/2011 @ 06:56 PM

Karina Chocron and I are very happy and humbles to be the recipient of the 2011 Outstanding Volunteer Award from the Jewish Volunteer Center of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation. It is an honor for us to receive this award on behalf of all the volunteers of The Closet, who have made our efforts to build the first Community Closet in Miami a reality.

We are very thankful for the help and support of many of the departments and agencies of Federation and Skylake Synagogue for letting us use one of their properties for free to open The Closet.

A few weeks ago, I attended an amazing seminar “Leading with Meaning” with Dr. Erica Brown organized by Federation’s Olam Seminar Series. One of the sessions was about the “Call to Leadership, ” where she asked the participants if we ever felt “called” by a mission. I was able to respond without any hesitation that I received that call made by Rebetzein Hindy Rosenberg when she asked me to open a community store of used clothing. I felt she was giving me a mission that I couldn’t refuse. I am grateful to Hashem that I have the time, the support of my family and friends, and the skills to organize it and mobilize people to do it with me. I felt the responsibility to do it and months later it was a reality.

Then Dr. Brown asked if you have passed on those feelings to anyone else, and I said yes. When I asked my dear friend, Karina Chocron, to take this challenge with me, it as an instant partnership that has had strong roots since we were little girls growing up in Venezuela.

Today, thank G-d, The Closet is open 3 days a week. We have 50 volunteers working in turns every week. And each day, more and more fellow Jews are getting their clothes at the store.

Without the support of many donors and the human power behind The Closet this wouldn’t be possible. I hope that one day each community can have their own Community Closet where our people can get beautiful and gently used clothing for very low priceS so they can save money for other needs.

Our Torah teaches us that since the time of Adam and Chava, clothing was never looked at as being a purely inanimate object. The clothing of the Kohanim was meant to reflect “honor and glory.” To a great extent, that clothing made the person. The Torah gives importance to clothing because it contains some spirituality and plays a role in our communal and personal life. We should, therefore, continue our efforts and continue our work together.

Dana Tangir-Guenoun

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