Four Things to Know About Doing Good at Good Deeds Day

1. Good Deeds Day was “made in Israel!”

If Good Deeds Day had a product label, it would proudly say “Made in Israel!”

Shari Arison is an American-born Israeli who increasingly felt exhausted from a lifetime of striving to succeed.  She asked herself, “Is that all there is? Is there something else I was meant to do?” Through the philanthropic NGO called Ruach Tova (Spirit of Good), Arison developed the first Good Deeds Day in Israel in 2007, joined by 7,000 people in that first year. By 2014, in Israel 500,000 people took part. Using TV, social media, and volunteer organizations, Good Deeds Day continued to spread to 50 countries around the world. Greater Washington, coordinated by The Jewish Federation, is the largest region in the U.S. to participate in Good Deeds Day.

Shari Arison understood the limits of the government, and sometimes it is up to people to bring about a cultural change. When Arison knew it was time to step up as a citizen, she first asked herself, “What is my role? What can I offer to the world—given my specific skills, life experiences and platforms I attain?”

Consider these reflective questions as you prepare for Good Deeds Day.

 

2. Doing Good is not a suggestion; it’s an act of justice our tradition asks us to live by.

The Jewish value of tikkun olam (repairing the world) is an ongoing human duty that our tradition embraces.  repairing the world by participating. When individuals come together across broader communities in pursuit of tzedak (justice and righteousness) and g’milut hasadim (acts of loving kindness), we approach our goal of tikkun olam, partnering in perfecting the world.

How can you integrate giving, acts of loving kindness and world repair into your life style?

 

3. Mental health research studies agree: Volunteer your time to help a charity you believe in. Put your energy into helping someone else, and you will inadvertently help yourself.

Doing Good is also a way of recognizing the good in your own life and paying it forward. Giving yourself (skills, time, talents, presence and empathy) as a gift to others is also the gift of gratitude.

Before volunteering, reflect on the need to preserve the dignity of those you help. Recite the traditional Jewish mantra “Love your fellow human being as yourself,” and take that with you moving forward.

 

4. Like most things in life, what you put in is what you get out.

Prepare for your doing good experience.

Reflect on what you felt and learned about people and human needs after your participation so that the day can remain an important memory for you and your family.