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Monday, August 14, 2006

Little Ways to Fix the World

Well, it seems that the cease-fire in Israel is on. While some people may see this is a good thing (hey - who likes war?), I see this is a complete disaster and a miserable failure on the part of our government. UN resolution 1701 will rebuild Lebanon, not disarm Hizbullah, and will place Lebanese troops and Europeans on the border of Israel to "protect us" (gee, I feel so safe). If I were a resident of the North, I might consider selling my house - who could return home to the safety of a Hizbullah "promise" not to fire rockets?


The first piece of advice in relationship to this news would be to BOMBARD the Prime Minister's office, and the offices of all his cronies in the cabinet and in the Knesset, demanding that they resign - what a travesty they have wrought on our country.

The second piece of advice is that we just can't control everything. I know this isn't a revolutionary and original piece of advice, but sometimes we just have to suffice with our limited realm of influence. In Judaism, we understand that acts of kindness, goodness and friendship, can affect more than just our immediate surroundings - they can indeed lift up the situation of the entire Jewish people, of the entire world!

With that in mind, those of you who are depressed about the situation in Israel and who feel a little bit ineffective and small at the moment, consider taking a different tack, and affecting Israel through private acts of kindness. Here are some tips on being a good neighbor from the wonderful magazine, Family Circle:

  • Be quirky. Out-of-the-ordinary ideas, like a Baltimore neighborhood's annual croquet tournament, often draw people out of their shells. "Afterward, we drink champagne punch, nibble on finger food and chicken kabobs, and schmooze," says Mary Medland. Try this similar idea: Spread a mini-golf game throughout your neighborhood, with a different hole on each person's front lawn.
  • Write a newsletter worth reading. Include city-related news that affects your neighborhood, discuss projects everyone can be involved in, promote a House of the Month, etc. Include classifieds (free, of course) for everything from items for sale to baby-sitting services.
  • Always say hello. In the post office, grocery store or as people drive by your house, a quick smile and nod to strangers builds bonds. "We all long to connect with people and be valued in life. It helps us think, I have meaning here, I have a place here," says Leslie Levine, author of Will This Place Ever Feel Like Home? (Contemporary Books).
  • When Judi Kirkwood's son was unexpectedly hospitalized for a few weeks, her Madison, Wisconsin, neighbors decided to mow her lawn all summer. "They wanted us to have one less thing to worry about," she says.
  • Find a buddy. Ask the woman who always jogs by if she'd like company a few mornings a week -- you'll make a friend and get fit at the same time.

Sometimes we can't affect the big things as much as we'd like. But if we focus on the little things, maybe soon, we'll notice big changes. With G-d's help!!


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