As members of a community we should contribute wherever there is a need. But above all, we must remember our own. This is a value that was taught to me by my parents. Isn't this a basic Jewish value? If we don't, who will?
The history of our people is unique. For any highs there have been horrendous lows. But whenever there has been despair there has also been faith. And there has always been tzedakah.I like the word, tzedakah, better than charity.
Life has been somewhat easier for North American Jews in the latter part of the 20th century, but we must not become complacent. There are new challenges facing the Jewish world. It's more important than ever to do all we can to ensure the continuity of our people. We have endured through thousands of years — it would be unspeakable to let our people down, including past and future generations. I am inspired by the words written by Mark Twain in 1899: "All things are mortal but the Jews; all other forces pass, but he remains. What is the secret of his immortality?"
We are the secret. Because we are still here.
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