If you are unable to figure it out - the title of this blog is "And now what do I do?" The Jewish Holy Days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur and the 10 days in between give Jews the opportunity to look back and reflect on the previous year(s). Truth is that many Jews believe that if they make it through to the Break Fast on Yom Kippur, they have been sealed in the Book of Life and all is good. Well....
It's not so easy. Just because we have made it from one Yom Kippur to the next does not mean we are "in the clear." As a matter of fact, there is so much we can do to not only improve our own lives but also those around the world. Ok, so I will stop being so vague and get to the point. Leviticus 19:18 tells us to love your neighbor as yourself. How do we enact this? Do we go out and start giving money willy nilly to the homeless on the street? Do we donate food to a food bank? Do we sponsor a starving child in the Global South? There are so many options...it is often hardest to figure out how we can help and what exactly we are to do.
We must think, we must learn, we must do everything we can to help those who are in need, wherever they live. Loving your neighbor as yourself does not imply only the neighbors that are in your immediate area. This includes all of our neighbors. As we are becoming more of a global society, it is imperative that we take care of all of those who are in need. Here are some staggering facts:
(1) The food crisis in the Horn of Africa - 12,000,000 people in Somalia and in neighboring Kenya, Ethiopia and Djibouti are suffering from acute food shortages and malnutrition. Tens of thousands have already died.
(2) There is an ongoing worldwide food crisis as prices for basic staple foods are close to or as high as they were during the 2008 crisis.
So, what to do? Well, the first thing to do is to learn, get the facts, pay attention. It is not enough to just read or watch the news. Contact your congressman and senators and find out what we as a country are doing to help those in need - at home and abroad. Write your senators and congressmen. Truth is that these men and women are in place to make a difference based on our voices. If you see a way that you and others can help those in need, make a difference.
Ask the hard questions. Here is an example: What is more efficient and better globally - Paying farmers in the US to grow food and then paying shipping companies to ship them to countries in need (or) Investing our money in the farmers in these countries enabling them to be more self sufficient and saving money all the way around? If you answered (b), you answered correctly. However, currently our country does the opposite. This is ONE way that we can make a difference - by letting our legislators know what we think is important. After all, WE elected them to serve US!
Ok, one last point...I just wanted to give a few places to start. These websites are great places to start for learning what else we can do:
That's right - do not just sit there and wait for another High Holy Days to come by so you can reflect on this year. Get out and make a difference. That way, when you reflect, you'll be able to see the difference you did make.
B'Shalom for now!