The other day while leading t’fillah with the religious school kids, I suggested that one way we can bring about tikkun olam is by doing at least one act of kindness every hour of every day. Some kids suggested that we compliment others, or that we hold doors open, or share—all meaningful ways of improving someone’s day. One student, in good rabbinic fashion, answered in question: “Rabbi, what happens if we’re by ourselves for a whole hour? How can we do something nice for someone when we’re alone?”
We can do something to which so many of us have become accustomed this last decade. We can shop online! Not for clothes or electronics or anything else on sale, but for partners in doing good in this world. We are all limited in how much we can do on our own to make a difference. The good news is that there are larger organizations fighting for the causes we believe in, who very much need the kindness and support of the Jewish community. And there is no limit to the organizations with whom we can connect; organizations like Sharsheret, supporting Jewish communities facing Breast Cancer, the Anti-Defamation League, fighting Antisemitism and bigotry, the NAACP, fighting to protect the rights of people of color, maybe even Temple Emanu-El, bringing sacredness and meaningful living into our lives, and countless other institutions vital to the Jewish vision of a perfected world.
There are so many Jewish and non-Jewish groups devoting themselves to protecting people’s rights and allowing them to flourish that are looking for relationships with people like you and me. So let’s use those free hours for connecting with them! Let’s be on their mailing lists, sign petitions, take their advice and reach out to politicians and law-makers, and make donations. We work for redemption by participating and empowering those doing the work we all need.
One might say, I’m already part of Temple Emanu-El! One organization is enough for me. I think we can all do more. Maimonides teaches that if one has a hundred dollars to give out, it is better to give one dollar to a hundred different places in need than a hundred to one. Just as this is the case for dollars, so too is it the case with time. Giving more often, even if less, fosters in us a habit of giving, connecting, and supporting. And, giving a little bit so often means that we build more relationships with more people working hard for a better America, a better Israel, and a better world.
Take that free minute you have now that you’ve finished this article. Find an organization that fights for something you believe in. Connect. Then read another article, and then find another organization. Repeat.
Published in Temple Emanu-El’s December 2016 edition of Kolaynu.