Though random acts of kindness are amazingly inspiring, they leave me wondering whether we can harness this random energy into more sustainable acts of kindness.
In the past few weeks too many of my friends and coworkers have coped with the loss of loved ones or the troubles that come with serious illness. In each of these cases I have been struck by the power of community and by the generosity of friends and family in the wake of these life-changing events.
Having a community to help us through new and difficult stages of life is a blessing and it comes in many forms. I am inspired when I hear stories of synagogue members getting together throughout the year to cook and bake challot, kugels, and other freeze-able foods so that there will always be a hot meal on hand for those in need. I am uplifted when I observe the selfless support provided to those in need of a listening ear or an extra set of hands. And I am humbled by communities that provide visits, rides, and meals to members struggling with chronic illness.
Human beings have an incredible capacity to give. Over the past several weeks I have been encouraged by the acts of kindness that flourished during the holidays and in the wake of recent tragedies. While these random acts of kindness are truly amazing and inspiring, they leave me wondering whether we could harness this random energy into more sustainable acts of kindness. What would the world look like if we each developed a regular practice—rather than a random one—of giving to those with whom we have no obvious communal connection? Maybe we could call the local funeral home and offer assistance to unaffiliated families experiencing loss. Or we could be in touch with the local hospital and visit patients who have not had any visitors.
Community can be created in a number of different ways. We would love to hear your ideas about how we can create more dynamic communities—both online and off.