Thursday, January 13, 2011

Faith in Action~ Mitzvot

No matter where one goes in Israel, there is always an opportunity to do a mitzvah. (good work) The country thrives on mitzvot. For most people here, doing a charitable deed is just as natural~ and as often~ as breathing. From soup kitchens, to gathering clothing and household goods, to giving change to the ever-present beggar, to visiting the sick and wounded~ caring about the needs of each other is woven into the fiber of everyday life. If someone doesn't know where to help~ just ask. There are hundreds of creative outlets and if you don't know who to ask~ they are even listed in the yellow pages of the phone book. 

One woman I knew was, as I learned later, a typical example of this active caring. Here is a list of her activities: She gathered warm clothing for soldiers, cooked Shabbat meals for those close by who had guard duty, raised funds for equipment for a local kindergarten, published (free) educational materials about Israel, visited the sick and elderly in the hospital, mentored a group of teen-girls to do mitzvot, adopted soldiers and students who had no family in the country, tutored Hebrew to Ethiopian immigrants, ran an on-line store to raise funds for her Yeshuv (settlement), helped poor brides to have fantastic weddings, drove the handicapped to doctors visits and spent time reading to the blind. She is present when terror victims need a shoulder to cry on and active in meeting their physical needs. She, her daughters and their friends had a 'hair-cutting' party to donate their hair for wigs for cancer patients. This is only a partial list~ all while she takes care of a family of 7 and works a part-time job. 

However in the world does she do it? She does not have to muster up ideas,strength, or time. It is all in the way she thinks. Doing for others is ever present in her mind.  It is as easy for her as breathing. And the wonderful thing is, in Israel, she is not an exception. Her attitude and the way she spends her life is quite a norm. There are hundreds of organizations set up to help each other in one way or another. If there is no group, you can start your own!

On example is David, from Efrat. What started as one man seeing a need and meeting it, blossomed into an established organization that has not lost the original vision~ encourage soldiers.  He feeds & visits soldiers and by doing so, he lets them know that they are not forgotten, they are loved. He lifts their spirits and encourages them.  Here is a video from his FaceBook: Standing Together: Standing Together

Israel~ the Land where the Milk & Honey is put into acts of love and compassion.

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