Think, choose and act to make a difference
It can be daunting to be faced with the poverty that affects the majority of our society. The needs of so many can paralyse us and make us feel like nothing we do could make a difference — so why should we even try?
This Rosh Hashana, I’d like to suggest a simple 3-step process to find a way to ‘do something to help’
1. THINK — Just being aware is a start
Consider what irks or upsets you on a regular basis that you see on the streets, on the news, or in your newsfeed. What creates a powerful response in you? It might be anger, frustration, sadness or even guilt? Is it the increasing number of homeless people you see bundled against the cold and begging on the street? Is it that statistic about the high levels of gender-based violence in SA that you heard on the news? Or is it that awareness that as you pack your children’s lunchbox for school you are reminded that there are many children who go to school hungry?
These are harsh realities in South Africa, but allow me to suggest an action that could change this.
2. CHOOSE —
Pick one issue Consider what short or long-term actions you could take to combat the issue. Talk to friends, family and colleagues and ask for their thoughts and ideas. Do some research into local organisations, projects, even companies that work on the issue or problem.
3. ACT — ‘Just do it!’
Finally, take a step. It could be volunteering your time, committing to make a regular financial donation to a cause, or simply raising-awareness around an issue or advocating for someone or something with less of a voice than you. Remember, we are obliged to give 10-20% of our income in tzedakah of some kind.
Simply considering, choosing and taking some action on an issue that concerns us, has the power to make us feel unstuck, empowered, and hopefully, create some sustainable change in the life of someone in need!
Gina Flash is the Executive Director of Mensch, an organisation that aims to mobilise positive social activism based on Jewish values, by creating and supporting a community of change-makers in South Africa.