Change, Commitment & Continuity—A Tale in Three Parts. Part 2.


Melissa at BiennialChange:  There could be little doubt that we are in a time of change (no matter what your political sentiment) and that change can be unsettling. I find that when things are very far out of my control or are difficult or troubling that by acting on a very small, local level it is possible to affect change and feel better about the world. Temple Emanuel has many ways for you to be involved in improving the world on a local level, and it can start with tzedakah.

Commitment: The Jewish ideals of tzedakah were summarized and taught by Moses Maimonides, a great teacher who lived in Spain during the 12th century CE. Maimonides believed that tzedakah is like a ladder with eight rungs; each successive rung represents a higher form of giving. They are:

  1. The person who gives reluctantly and with regret.
  2. The person who gives graciously, but less than one should.
  3. The person who gives what one should, but only after being asked.
  4. The person who gives before being asked.
  5. The person who gives without knowing to whom he or she gives, although the recipient knows the identity of the donor.
  6. The person who gives without making his or her identity known.
  7. The person who gives without knowing to whom he or she gives. The recipient does not know from whom he or she receives.
  8. The person who helps another to become self-supporting by a gift or a loan or by finding employment for the recipient.

Continuity:   For Jews, the Talmud instructs that assisting the poor is not an act of grace on the part of the donor, but a duty. We are all obligated to give (even if we receive). So where will you help – with toiletries and diaper bank donations that the Men’s Club is organizing, with Abraham’s Tent that TE is participating in, with money or a job for one of our JCARR families that we are helping to resettle?  Please reach out and continue to make the change in the world that you want to see.

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