A Journey Into Tzedakah

Tour to the Wonderful is coming to Boulder January 20th

Tzedakah is the Hebrew word we inherited for relating to the needs of others.  Though it is translated as “charity” that distracts from the main point.  It is better understood as citizen’s obligation, responsibility or righteousness.  Its shades of meaning don’t revolve around feelings, they overlap with justice.  We don’t do tzedakah because we are so moved or because it feels good.  Those are nice side effects that are often present.  We do tzedakah because we must.

–Rabbi Jeff Glickman
Rabbi Jeff and Mindy

Over the past months, as needs have grown and our ability to respond has been limited, you may have wondered about what you can do to help.  Rabbi Jeff and Mindy Glickman from South Windsor, Connecticut are addressing this question in a unique way.   They are reimagining what it means to give locally.

We all know how powerful it is to help out locally.  Being on the front lines of need is a remarkable experience and can be transformative for the giver.   Jeff and Mindy are tapping into that power.   What became painfully clear during the pandemic is that things which happen in remote places, very much affect us locally.  We are all in this together.

Using the motto GLeE – Give Locally Everywhere, they are embarking on a month-long journey of research and support through the United States.  They are collaborating with Charity Navigator to find effective non-profits serving remote areas.   Travelling in an RV across the country, they are stopping in numerous destinations, some well-known, and some off the beaten track.  They are enjoying meeting outdoors with different representatives from United Ways, synagogues, NPR affiliates and others to discuss local needs and how those needs are being met.  It has been an extraordinary journey of learning, discovery and connection. 

They are scheduled to arrive in Boulder, after recent stops in Arizona and New Mexico, on Wednesday January 20th.  You can follow along or contact them here.

The response has been greater than they ever imagined.  Various funders have helped to support the tour.  Local charities are typically both surprised and delighted that people living far away care about what they are doing.  Many of these charities are in communities with very limited resources.   In these cases, a dollar can go a lot further.  The support, in every sense of the word, is so meaningful.    While concentrated giving also has a role, the potential of many people making small gifts, far and wide, is enormous.

These extraordinary times call for extraordinary responses.  In Rabbi Glickman’s words:

What if we start with the premise that the world and its resources are greater than any of us?  We are not the owners, but the caretakers.  At that point, the fence that separates what is yours from what is mine is mostly illusory.

May this work motivate you to find wonderful ways to help those in need.  We will all benefit.

Adapted from blog posts from Charity Navigator and Tour to the Wonderful.   
Edited and posted by Steve Ellis (Jeff’s Boulder cousin).

About Steve Ellis

Steve Ellis is the founder and president of Colorado Capital Management, and an active volunteer in the Jewish community.

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