The Chai Society is a nationally recognized campaign level which includes women giving between $1,800 and $3599 in their own name, to the Federation’s Annual Campaign. One of the seven fruits named in the Bible, the pomegranate is said to contain 613 seeds, one for each of the mitzvot or commandments found in the Torah. The ancient symbol was carved in the entranceways of the earliest synagogues, woven into fabrics, and hammered into silver and gold. The intricate covers for the handles of the Torah scrolls are called “rimonim” or pomegranates. Chai Society donors can likewise wear their commitment on their sleeves, with a sterling silver Pomegranate pin. The “Chai Pin” (as it is sometimes called) reminds its wearers of the lives made better by the work of the Federation and its service delivery partners, here in Hampton Roads and around the world.
The Origin of the Pomegranate
An ancient symbol found carved into the lintels of the earliest synagogues, the pomegranate has carried with it the concepts of Judaism for generations. In the Torah, the pomegranate is one of the seven species that the spies saw in the land when they were sent forth by Moses. The Midrash tells us that the pomegranate has 613 seeds, which corresponds with the number of mitzvot or commandments found in the Torah. The pomegranate has been woven into ancient fabrics and hammered into ceremonial silver and gold objects. The intricate covers for the handles of the Torah scrolls are called "rimonim" or pomegranates.
In 1981, the women of Allentown, Pennsylvania, introduced the Pomegranate Pin as a way to inspire giving from women of all stations. Three decades later, more than 7,000 pins have been distributed across North America. More than a beautiful piece of jewelry, the Pomegranate pin is a symbol of a woman’s commitment to and compassion for the Jewish people. It represents the best of what Federation does -- bringing together like-minded donors to do a world of good.