Building Community with Acts of Chesed
By Richard Berger
As we continue in our 121st year a few thoughts come to mind. In our most trying times of today, the words achdus and chesed come to mind. Our shul is a melting pot of Ashkenazi Jews. We have a diverse, passionate and energetic membership. Because of this there can be an appearance of divisions; but do not make the mistake of confusing divisions with divisiveness. Divisions amongst the Jewish people are an ordinary, healthy part of Hashem’s plan as evidenced by the founding of our nation being divided into twelve tribes. This was not arbitrary as we see from Yakov’s brachos to each of the 12 tribes, with each being charged with their own unique mission and purpose. Fast forward to our modern times these tribal brachos can show up in many different ways such as Sephardim and Ashkenazim, chassidim, yeshivish and modern orthodox, kollel students, Ba’alei Teshuva with each bringing a unique and valid approach to serving Hashem. A persons’ particular way of serving Hashem is a tribute to the passion within to be Jew.
It is in this spirit of passion, for achdus, chesed and ahava that we embark on a journey that I hope and pray will inspire and evoke not only change but transformation for our entire shul. Doing acts of chesed or ahava doesn’t have to be about grand gestures. It’s about creating change with simple daily acts of chesed and ahava that will lead to achdus. The best part about participating is that by sharing your story you will inspire others. (Once a day, share your act of chesed, ahava or inspiring story. If you wish to remain anonymous, just let us know.) Acting and sharing in this way gives us the foundation for an inspiring year filled with achudas, ahava and chesed .
One last note of importance is to NOT forget about you and your family when it comes to chesed. Being kind to yourself and your family is a great start to being kind to others.
I look forward to sharing and inspiration.
Below are some ideas to get your started:
- Work on Teshuva 5 minutes everyday.
- Write a letter to Hashem expressing all the appreciations you have and thanking him for his kindness and love and apologizing for our part in damaging the relationship.
- Invite someone from our Shul for Shabbos that you have never had before.
- Send flowers to a member family for Shabbos
- Take someone’s children (with their permission of course) from them for a few hours (to the park or for a walk). The parents would be so appreciative of the break.
- See only the good in yourself and others for one day.
- Notice an improvement in someone close to you and let them know you noticed the change.
- Spend time everyday in appreciation and share this with others, when we spend our time focusing on the good of others our attention shifts away from what we are lacking or is different. Our natural tendency is to put our attention on the negative or divisions so it’s a natural struggle to sustain appreciation.
- For one week commit to not answering criticism, just be quietly curious no matter what people say to you.
- Surprise a friend or family member with something you know they will enjoy.
- The secret to getting what you want is to give it to others first. If you want appreciation, appreciate others; if you want kindness be kind.
- Pray for someone else in a heartfelt manner.
- Perform an anonymous act of sharing or giving.
- Think of ways you can be more helpful, sensitive to others. This is a great way to get unstuck if you’re feeling this way. It can be as simple as really listening to someone. Think about the last time you truly listened to someone completely.
- Remember to appreciate yourself. Remember the unique qualities that makes you, you. Since Hashem gave you these qualities they must be worth celebrating.
- Meet someone new. Pick someone from our Shul that you don’t really know and introduce yourself. Don’t pre-judge them just be open to the experience.
- Remember that when we act in a hurtful way towards someone else we are really hurting ourselves.
- Sponsors items to decorate our Shul e.g. flowers
- Have children make decorations for our Shul that we can hang for Shabbas in order to create a connection for our kids to Shul.
Category : Blog Posted on March 14, 2012