Good deeds, great results

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Who benefits from Good Deeds Day, the day of community volunteering that will take place in the Washington area and around the Jewish world on Sunday?

Certainly the low-income Jews who will receive Passover gift baskets and the hungry among us who will enjoy meals from restocked food pantries. Those living in shelters will receive food, towels, toiletries and other personal items. These are just a taste of the activities that members of our community can take part in during Good Deeds Day. Several organizations will be cleaning up and removing litter from local parks.

Helping others, known traditionally as gemilut chasadim — or performing deeds of loving kindness — is one of three pillars upon which Jewish tradition says the world survives. In our time, tikkun olam, or repairing the world, has become the banner under which Jews reach outside themselves for the benefit of the wider society.

But there is another beneficiary of Good Deeds Day, which is sponsored by The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington and a host of other organizations: the Jewish community itself. By coming together, we strengthen the community, our ties to it and our sense of being Jews. That’s crucial at a time when ties to the community are weakening for younger Jews, but surveys are finding that we all want to participate in activities that reflect our values. More than anything, members of the millennial generation want to volunteer for a good cause.

Seen in this light, the projects that will be undertaken on Sunday may establish someone’s connection to the Jewish community simply because the activity reflects that person’s values. So whether it’s assembling dry soup ingredients for a senior home or packing lunches for the homeless, we hope to see you on Good Deeds Day.

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