So, Moosh in Indy is part of the greatest thing ever. The HP magic giveaway. Wow, HP and Windows Live are giving away something like 200 computers. It's like Christmas, except Jews don't do Christmas. So, it's more like Hanukkah for me.
I can't imagine what it would be like to actually win. The truth is, my Dear Husband has an awesome laptop that he uses for work. I...do not. We bought this laptop used, on E-bay, for $150 when we were poor newlyweds and had to have something. And we were grateful for it.
But as time has gone on, it has become less adequate. I could help my husband try to support our family with a nicer laptop, as he does video and photo editing work. I have lots of video editing experience, but no computer to do it on but his, which he needs most of the time. My contribution to the family income is sewing. I currently use my computer to market my clothing alteration and repair business online. So, between those two things, We'd probably keep whichever computer had the biggest hard drive, because Video eats up space like a termite on holiday. We'd also probably keep the printer so I could start making posters for the sewing on my own at home instead of outsourcing it. The fact that it prints pictures is a big bonus. We've not had a printer since moving and having our first kid. So of the hundreds of pictures I've taken of our first child, how many have I printed? None. That would change!
Times are very hard where I live in Israel. I know times are hard everywhere, but in a country where 1/3 of the children live below the national poverty line (families of 4 who make less than 4200 Shekels a month, about $1,050) hard times hit even harder. I know families who literally live on eggs, milk, and bread, because those are government subsidized and it's what they can afford. Many nights Scrambled egg sandwiches are our complete dinner as well. It's cheap protein, and nourishing, and that's all it needs to be. Clearly, we're not totally destitute (we still have internet) but it's some lean times in our house (we have stopped riding the bus anywhere we can feasibly walk).
But this isn't just about me. We've only got one kid and one on the way. Jake and Sarah have 5. One sweet newborn Yair (pronounced yah-ear). Jake has a small business working as a Schlepper, a mover. He doesn't have a big moving truck, just the family van, and most of the time he does all the carrying himself. He used to have a good sales job here in Israel for an American company, which gave them a laptop they could use, but then he was laid off. So, he sucked it up and made a business moving stuff. And when he can't get work moving stuff, he cleans houses, something usually done (in this country) by illegal immigrants and women. Different culture. But he does it because he's got 5 kids and a wife at home who think he's the world's greatest dad. And he's in the top 10 as far as I'm concerned. You should see the multi-level tree house in their yard that he built with salvaged scraps. They totally would get a laptop and a copy of Kung-fu Panda, because, HELLO, 5 kids!
Then there's Rabbi Gold. Old guy living in the Old City of Jerusalem. His vision is to have a school for Old Guys like himself to learn in. They learn Hebrew and scriptures and in general find some purpose for their lives at a time that purpose is somewhat lacking. He's struggling and needs to improve his website so people that come to learn with him for a short time can keep up after they leave. His very old computer is totally inadequate for handling large amounts of audio and video files. He's such a great teacher, he has a few young guys around that could help him with the computer stuff, but they get frustrated trying to make a computer do things it just wasn't meant to do. Computer to him as well!
I also kind of know a guy names Shmuel. I've never met him personally. He runs a charity that donates computers (that he has built from scraps) to needy families and charities. I'm not certain, but I bet he also is working with some old rigged-up computer that he built from cast-off pieces. To support his family he does computer consulting, and makes up the difference with a garden on his porch. But he still donates countless hours to building and distributing computers to those in need, because it's his vision that kids will be able to do their homework at home, disabled people will have a link to the outside world (Israel is NOT handicap accessible in most places), and charities will have the technology they need to continue their good works.
I could tell you a dozen stories like this. The irony of a country where 40% of the people wo are employed work in the Technology sector, and yet people use computers that are 5, 10, 15 years old does not escape me. If one of these folks declines a computer I could find 6 people to fill their place.
The truth is, I don't NEED a new computer. (I can and will use a new computer if I get one, but I won't die if I don't get it.) I NEED food, shelter, and clothing for myself and my family. Those things I have. For now. And I trust that G-d will continue to provide them for me through whatever means he chooses. I probably won't enter each and every one of the other contests. But it really would be a miracle for these other people to get a computer for their needs, and I've always liked the idea of being part of a miracle. And Hanukkah is about Miracles of provision when it seems like there's not enough to go around. That's kind of how things feel in Israel right now. Not enough to go around, no matter how you stretch.
It's not 8 days of burning from one days worth of oil, but in it's way just as much a sign of G-d providing for those in need.