Everyone of us has faced challenges in our lives. Dealing with stressors in our fast-paced world is a challenge in and of itself, and for some people it seems as if “when it rains, it pours.” They feel as if they are getting pounded with problems, one after another. Even happy events – weddings, births, celebrations – can pose challenges and stress!

5 Questions for Challenging Times

Your perception is the key to turning life’s challenges into blessings, says Advanced Life Skills. This self-help guide suggests when faced with problems, ask yourself five questions:

1. What can I learn from this?

This challenge may offer value and opportunity; all you need do is look for it.

2. How can this strengthen me?

Problem-solving can be intimidating; when you realize you can handle this challenge, you’ll feel stronger and more confident.

3. How can I use this to my advantage?

Your solution may teach you a new way to achieve a goal.

4. How can I use this to help others?

Who’s watching? Your children, family, and/or friends may be motivated and inspired by your positive actions in the face of challenges.

5. What would make this a worthwhile experience?

The knowledge that you have choices can be an empowering, life-affirming blessing. Knowing that you’re able to respond to a situation rather than react is value-added.

We Can Be Blessings

For some people of our faith, every day is challenging, but there is something we can do: We can make it possible for them to worship with dignity and thanksgiving. Your monetary donation, no matter how small, can make this year’s Chanukah 8 blessing-filled days for those who cannot afford the foods and items needed for traditional worship. With your help, Maot Chitim volunteers can prove we care. Most importantly, Maot Chitim lets Chicago-area needful neighbors that they are not alone.

Together, we can face challenges as deep as the ocean
and as high as the sky.
-Sonia Gandhi

Call 847-674-3224 or contact Maot Chitim to learn more about ways to donate time and money.

…in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.
-Benjamin Franklin

It’s 4Q 2017, and as our fiscal year-end approaches, our thoughts turn to filing taxes. Again. Taxes are an unavoidable part of our lives, no matter whether you’re a DIY (do-it-yourself) tax-filer or employ a professional to “do the math.”

When You Give . . . You Receive, Too

All of us recognize the mitzvah with which we are commanded and the blessings we realize as a result of our charity. But there are also tax benefits of giving, and the reality is, most of us could use a good tax deduction! Here’s how it works:

  • A donation made in 2017 is deductible on your 2017 taxes if it is postmarked or made before December 31, 2017.
  • Always get a receipt from Goodwill, etc. If you claim more than $500, your receipt must be accompanied by an appraisal of your donated clothes/household items’ condition and value.
  • If you donate more than $250 to a charitable organization, you must be able to prove you:
    • Didn’t receive any goods or services for the donation.
    • Made the donation.
  • Not all organizations, even though tax-exempt, qualify for charitable tax deductions. Make sure your charitable organization recipient qualifies for a tax deduction.
  • You must itemize your deductions to claim a charitable deduction, and your total should be more than the standard tax deduction.
  • Your deduction amount is unlimited. If you donate more than 50% of your adjusted gross income, you can carry the excess donation’s tax deduction into the following five years.

Providing Traditional Jewish Foods for Worship

Whether you donate because you identify with and feel a part of Chicago’s Jewish community or because you are commanded to do so, your financial support allows our less fortunate neighbors to observe Jewish holidays and worship at home with dignity and thanksgiving. Maot Chitim is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, so your donation is tax-deductible. You can donate by cash, check, or credit card. Many companies have a matching gifts program, which means your donation is doubled!