Don’t Know What Chesed to Do? Start Small.
By Yehudit Garmaise
What would Tzipora Friedlander say to people who are bored in the pandemic and don’t know what to do with all their extra time?
“I would say, ‘Look around you,’ she said. “There is always so much need.
“There is so much chesed that needs to be done. See what you can offer and see what you can give. See where you can fill a need.”
Everyone has something to offer the world, explained Ms. Friedlander, who last summer opened an overnight camp for nine special needs teenage girls during the pandemic. “Everyone has something that they can give. So, look around. See where you can put yourself.”
What if people don’t know where to give, what to do? What about when people don’t know what they can contribute?
“I would say, if someone looks hard enough, he or she can always find someone in need.”
But another key for people to finding their paths to chesed is to remember that acts of kindness can be very small.
“Even doing something like reaching out to a neighbor who needs helps, calling a friend who is down, or running errands for a relative is so worthwhile and valuable,” Ms. Friedlander pointed out.
When it comes to larger projects, like Camp Super Stars, a good attitude, a lot of energy, and a lot of support can make it happen.
For instance, when Ms. Friedlander told her parents about her idea to open a camp last summer, their response was immediately encouraging.
Ms. Friedlander’s parents, who unsurprisingly do a lot of chesed, told their daughter, “You have a good idea, so do it,” remembered Ms. Friedlander.
“Some people I spoke to thought it was nuts to open up an overnight camp last summer,” Ms. Friedlander said with a laugh. “But when I brought it up with my parents, they said, “It is such a good idea. Let’s figure it out. They are doers.”
Ms. Friedlander also had the help and support of her best friend, Sara Rivky Weber.
“If I didn’t have my best friend, I don’t think I could made the camp,” Ms. Friedlander reflected. “We were very much were a pair, and we had each other to lean on. We were able to do it together.”
Lastly, Ms. Friedlander said that we should enjoy the chesed we do.
For instance, one thing among many that she loves about working in special education is that the students are very loving and always hugging their teachers.
“It is so, so nice,” Ms. Friedlander said. “I always used to say that I work in special ed to feel popular.
"All day, my students are saying, ‘Hi Tzipora!’ so warmly. They make you feel so good.”
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