Tikkun Olam – Repair the World

Mitzvah can be translated as Commandment. It can also be translated as connection, from the Aramaic root, tzavta, to connect or join. Mitzvot have the potential to connect us with God, with other people and with the best within ourselves. Mitzvot are the ways in which we clothe our values in behavior, the performance of good deeds, gimilut hasadim and tzedakah.

So how does one decide what to do, who to give to, whether it is money, time or resources? Danny Siegel, a leader in the world of Jewish giving offers these questions to ask yourself when deciding how to give:

  1. What bothers me about the world so much that I really need to change it?
  2. What do I really like to do?
  3. What am I really good at doing?
  4. Who do I know?
  5. Why not? As Rabbi Tarfon wrote: “It is not your responsibility to finish the work (of perfecting the world), but you are not free to desist from it either.” Pirkei Avot Chapter 2; Verse 16

Using the answers to these questions, the goal is to figure out, is there an organization that fits? Is there a Jewish or Israeli organization that fits? What is the Jewish value? How do I find these organizations? If there is not an organization, then what?

FINDING THE JEWISH VALUE
Once you’ve decided upon on an organization, it is time to find the Jewish value. Even if the organization is not specifically Jewish or Israeli does not mean that it does not support a Jewish value. The following sites provide Torah text and Talmud sources:

Areyvut

JChoice – The Tzedakah Network

GIVING MONEY
There are websites that in some way rank the organizations and list the percentages to overhead. A really good organization is one that gives 85% or higher to the cause that it serves.

Charity Navigator

Charity Watch

Givewell

Guidestar

Israel Gives

IDEAS – ORGANIZATIONS – JUST A FEW IDEAS!

CONGREGATION BETH DAVID

American Friends of Magen David Adom

American Jewish World Service

Canine Companions for Independence

Do Something

E-Mitz

Friends of the IDF

Friends of Yad Sarah – Providing compassionate home & healthcare services

Hazon – Sustainability is a Jewish Value

Innovations Africa – Bringing Israeli Solar & Water Tech to African Villages

Israel Guide Dog Center

Jacob Richman’s Listing of Israeli Non-Profits – Extensive List!

Jewish National Fund– Plant Trees in Israel

Jewish Family Service Silicon Valley – Centerpieces for Tzedakah

Kulanu – Supports Isolated, Emerging & Returning Jewish Communities Worldwide

Leket – Rescuing Healthy Food for Israel’s Needy

Mazon – A Jewish Response to Hunger

MitzvahBowl

Society for Protection of Nature in Israel

Yad LaKashish – Lifeline for the Elderly in Jerusalem

GIVING TIME – RESOURCES

Most often children will need to be accompanied by an adult guardian

Bay Area Volunteer Information

Go Volunteer

Humane Society Silicon Valley

Hands On Bay Area

Just Serve

Points of Light

Village Harvest

Volunteer Match