This has been a horrible year for those of us who believe in justice. Children were massacred in their schools, worshippers murdered in their churches and synagogues. Immigrant families were separated, violence against women sanctioned at the highest levels. The assault against our natural environment continued, economic disparity grew.
Can I make a difference? Where do I start? How do I prioritize my time, energy, and financial resources? How do I sustain my capacity for caring in the face of so many critical needs?
The one thing of which I am certain is that I have a moral obligation to act. I can’t save the world, but I can volunteer or donate in a way that eases the burden of one person or one family. I can work to improve the quality of life in my own community.
This is the time of year when I am inundated with requests for donations. I believe that by saying no to some, I can make more of a difference to others. Choosing is hard. Setting my priorities at the beginning of the year makes the task somewhat easier at the end.
Having recently relocated, I am reaching out to organizations that serve women and girls. That has always been my passion and I would like to use my expertise to make a difference. Yesterday I met with a student I will be mentoring. By supporting her, I can help her achieve her goal of supporting others.
There are days I want to give up. I am weary of fighting the same battles over again. But I need to look at myself in the mirror and know that I have tried. The reading below is from Mishkan T’filah, a Reform Judaism Prayerbook.
I can stay the tears of others, if I can see myself
As diminished of their sorrows.
I can hasten time when everyone will be able
To rejoice in freedom.
And if I can see myself as the companion
Of those fighting against oppression,
I can honor the struggle of people everywhere
To gain dignity and deliverance from bondage.
When I look at myself in the mirror
Who will I see?