TODAY WE FACE a broken world. Broken because of the hardship, strife and suffering that occurs in this, the most abundant of times. People are starving, refugees are flocking to safety across the globe, children are being kidnapped for slavery, and genocide still goes unchecked. Aids is rampant in Africa, Malaria is killing children who haven’t been inoculated, and we are discarding at least 30% of the food we produce. What is wrong with this picture?
Pirke Avot reminds us not to separate ourselves from the community. We are all, to some degree, responsible for one another. It is up to each one of us to begin to effect change. If we all did something small, things would add up, and slowly but surely, the world would become a better place for all.
This month I challenge you to ask your children a simple question each night at the dinner table. “What simple act of kindness did you do today?” Let’s discuss these, role model them, teach our children that carrying groceries for an elderly person, holding open the door for a pregnant woman, returning a dropped $10.00 bill to the owner, makes this world a better place.
Every act counts. If we begin to ask our children, they will understand that we expect them to behave with kindness. They will participate in these small, random acts of kindness so that they can tell you about them at the dinner table. Perhaps they’ll role model it to their friends, and we can begin to change consciousness, one small act of kindness at a time.
Dr. Eric Handler, Orange County Health Officer, says,” Because of so much domestic and international turbulence, we as individuals feel helpless. I feel that the best way to counter is in giving ourselves the ability to do simple acts of kindness. If we do that, we will change the world.”
Sue Penn, the Director of Congregational Learning at University Synagogue, is known for being an innovative and creative educator. Sue sits on the Board of Directors for JFFSOC and Someone Cares Soup Kitchen. Sue is committed to providing opportunities which allow every individual to learn and engage in community.