When any holiday approaches, many consider those who may not have the wherewithal to celebrate their faith in the manner many of believe they should be. The sense of community becomes more prevalent, and with Passover approaching, there are so many people and organizations doing important work, spreading good will and setting the bar for true charitable deeds.
Kars For Kids is providing food for Passover to people who may not otherwise make the Passover Seder. Then there are people like Jerusalem-based Jeff Seidel or Chabad houses worldwide that provide free Passover Seders to people throughout the world. As the Yiddish proverb says, “Better one friend with a dish of food than a hundred with a sigh.”
While we all should aim to be philanthropic year round, during holiday time and across all religions and all value systems, helping people becomes even more of a calling for many more. It was Dorothy Height who said, “Without community service, we would not have a strong quality of life. It’s important to the person who serves as well as the recipient. It’s the way in which we ourselves grow and develop.”
How right she is. For me, Andrew Shue said it well enough, “Community service has taught me all kinds of skills and increased my confidence. You go out there and think on your feet, work with others and create something from nothing. That’s what life’s all about.” That is a driving force for me and many others who give always, at all times of the year.
Being raised with Judaism, my faith has come to define so much of what I do. “Faith is the first factor in a life devoted to service. Without it, nothing is possible. With it, nothing is impossible.” Mary McLeod Bethune’s words explain my feelings towards the Jewish ideal of tzedaka.
When you give and help others, you feel good about yourself. So when I read that Ron Hershco uttered the phrase, “There is nothing better than helping a community – it makes all the difference,” I felt that he was speaking for me as I believed. The words of Einstein also came to mind, “Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.”
Working with media, it’s good to be able to quote such a media legend as Tom Brokaw, who gave me the words to relay to others, “It’s easy to make a buck. It’s a lot tougher to make a difference.” Those of us who are entrepreneurs should remember it.
When former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton wrote her famous book, It Takes a Village, she was both lauded and criticized. Those who hated her politics, found fault in her thesis, while those who respected her, predictably thought it was right on target. I do not agree with all of her politics, but am pragmatic enough to recognize what is right. Clinton’s overall theme was that we all have a responsibility to help one another, and it hit me like an old Henrik Ibsen adage, “A community is like a ship, everyone ought to be prepared to take the helm.” I would add that the rest of us who may not be at the helm must be ready to help keep the ship afloat.
As we approach the Passover (and Easter) holiday know that we need to help in any way we can. Anyone can make a difference. DeAnn Hollis once said, “The heart of a volunteer is not measured in size, but by the depth of the commitment to make a difference in the lives of others.”
So in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. “The time is always right to do what is right.”