Dear Rabbi Ross. I cannot afford to give my children's Rebbeim a significant amount of money as a Chanukah gift. In your opinion, should I give a $10 check, or is it better to just write a Thank You card. Should I write, or should I let my kids write? Private - Inwood.
Regardless of the amount that a parent is able to give, a thoughtful card is appreciated and cherished by both Rebbeim and Teachers. If your children are mature enough to express why they appreciate their Rebbe, let them write it. If your child cannot express himself, or adequately express the level of gratitude that you are trying to share, it might be better if you write it. There are parents that write a beautiful note and then include a small letter or picture from their child, depending on their age.
If your son's Rebbe is an "OK" Rebbe, a simple card saying, “Thank you”, with a check, is fine. However, if your son's Rebbe is a dynamic Rebbe who gives his all, you might want to be more expressive with your note of thanks.
You can possibly even explain your situation, depending of course on your comfort level. You can write, "Although our current circumstances don't allow us to give much money, we are so grateful for your tremendous efforts on behalf of our children".
Lastly, the way a card/gift is presented to the Rebbe also makes an impact. If you are sending it with your child to school, teach them the proper way to give a gift to the Rebbe. Your child should walk over to the Rebbe before class starts, put the envelope on his desk, and say, "Thank you".
Wishing you all a wonderful Shabbos and a Freilichen Chanukah.
Rabbi Yitzie Ross is a Rebbe and has been working with parents and kids for many years. You can read more about him in the "about" section.