Magic Words by Susan Jacobs, Director of Education

I’m sitting at my computer scrolling through inspiring quotes to find the perfect one that will inspire all of our congregational families to volunteer on Mitzvah Day. If only I could find those magic words from someone far more eloquent than me that would touch our hearts and move us into action. Profound words from someone with clout and presence, someone who cannot be ignored, or someone who could pull on our heartstrings and gently nudge us to step up and spend a day in service.

If you are a sports fan maybe these words will resonate:  “Service to others is the payment you make for your space here on earth.” Mohammad Ali

Maybe poignant words from a popular comedian will move you:  “I always wondered why somebody didn’t do something about that. Then I realized I was somebody.”  Lily Tomlin

How about something patriotic:  “And so, my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” John F. Kennedy 35th President of the United States

Let’s try something academic:  “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead

Here are some inspiring words from Talmud:  “Who occupies himself with the needs of the community is as though he occupies himself with Torah.”  Talmud Yerushalmi, Berakhot

We look to Torah for guidance and inspiration:  “For there will never cease to be needy ones in your land, which is why I command you: open your hand to the poor and needy kinsman in your land.” Deuteronomy 15:11

The point is that many people , since the beginning of time, have understood the need to lend a hand or make life better for someone else.  It is a vital and essential part of being human and Jewish. We live in a community and world where there are more desperate people then we could ever provide for but as daunting as the task may be, we can help.  We can make a difference.  We can improve someone’s life or help them achieve or keep them safe or healthy.  It is in our power and Mitzvah Day is the opportunity. We can share our blessings with others and teach our children to be compassionate and loving people. I know it is in our power to make a difference, if only I could find the magic words.

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