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 in our state are already approaching these purchases as an opportunity to affirm their values.

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.

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. Working together, we can have a powerful impact. Imagine if we all directed even half of the money spent on Jewish simchas 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?
“Honor Adonai with your wealth, with the best of all your income. And your barns will be filled with grain, your vats will burst with new wine.”
--Mishlei/Proverbs 3:9-10

“Speak to the children of Israel and tell them to make tassels on the corners of their garments throughout all their generations … that you will look at them, and remember … and not be seduced away by your heart and your eyes.”
--Bamidbar/Numbers 15:37-9
Have suggestions? Real-life stories using these or other ideas? Please share them with us for future versions of the Guide!