Adventure with Purpose
I am traveling with a JICNY group in India, an exotic place pulsating with people, adventure, sight, colors, and smells. It’s also a place where you are confronted with extreme poverty and contrasts in society. Love her or hate her, India will leave an impression on you, force you to ask questions, and think about the world in more depth.
Our trip is about adventure with a purpose. We are seeing the sights but are also learning about the challenges confronting the people.
It's been three days, surrounded by inescapable poverty. Yesterday, we visited the School Under a Bridge - hundreds of kids from slums learn in groups in front of chalkboards under a train bridge. A visit to the slum where whole families live in 1 room in alleys was incredibly humbling to a group of Israelis and New Yorkers that were only just complaining about our hotel. The sewage water running through the area gives new meaning to a room with a view of the water!
Spending time listening to the heartbreaking stories of women who were victim-survivors of acid attacks purely for vengeance and often by family members was beyond emotional.
All this brings up the question: how do we as individuals respond to this? What’s our responsibility? In a world with many issues, where do we begin?
We are told in this week's Torah portion Shoftim that we should walk in the ways of God ‘all the days’ (Devarim 19:9).
We each have the opportunity to give charity - tzedakah - which is given with our material resources, but we also can give chesed - loving kindness, which is giving of ourselves with our time and hearts. Each of us has the unique potential to change the world - certainly our corner of the world - in our own way!