My inspiration, speaker Danny Siegel comes to town to speak….

What an amazing honor and privilege it was to spend the weekend learning and sharing with Danny Siegel, founder of the Ziv Tzedakah fund (www.ziv.org). Danny’s organization was one that I have donated to for the past couple of years although I learned of his work when I was a teenager. I had originally hoped that others would be inspired as well by Danny’s work when I started my blog nearly 2 years ago. He came for a “Shabbaton” or weekend retreat at the synagogue and I had several opportunities to learn from him. He is not only an inspiration but knows how to encourage and motivate people to go make a difference.

Some easy mitzvah projects we discussed, giving gloves to homeless people if you are uncomfortable giving them money on the street, donating a book to a local school to give to a child who can’t buy one, recycling the crayons used by a restaurant to schools or under served children or starting a video donation to a local hospital for kids to view and take home.

Just as a side note, in February 2008, Danny decided to close Ziv Tzedakah. However, three of his students are continuing his work with many of the original mitzvah heros. Their website is: mitzvahherosfund.org.

Here is a great story he told us:

The Starfish

Someone is strolling along the beach and sees hundreds of starfish that have been washed ashore. As he is walking, he sees a child picking one of them up and throwing it back into the water. The adult says to the child, ” Why are you doing this? There are hundreds of starfish on the beach. What difference does this make?” The child replies, “It makes a difference to that one.” This is a popular story and illustrates the fact that even if something seems minor to do, do it anyway because even saving one starfish or helping one person with your time or money is worthwhile.

778) Donated empty 8*11 frames to my daughter’s class for framing the children’s art work.

779) Attended a board meeting that I have been asked to join.

780) Collected cans for a local food pantry with my family today as part of the Shabbaton with Danny Siegel.

My children  had initially been less than excited to participate to say the least. They even told me at the beginning they weren’t going to ring anyone’s door or ask for anything. At the end my 10 year old daughter commented “It was surprisingly fun” and my son who as it turned out did most of the ringing and speaking  at each house eagerly agreed.

My favorite home was one where a man asked my children some questions (must have been a teacher) about what we were doing and how the canned food would be used. My son loved answering his questions and I was thrilled that someone took the time to engage them further.

781) Used my cell phone to help a synagogue congregant contact her ride service to determine why they were late.

782) Helped our guest speaker carry his things to where they needed to be stored.

783) Donated extra $ for a PTO sponsored event at school to help cover an extra person.

784) Attended a school fundraiser at a local restaurant.

Finally, some wonderful quotes from our weekend.

Nobody make s a greater mistake than he who does nothing because he could only do a little.

(Edmund Burke)

Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, you can. Boldness has a genius, magic and power to it. (Goethe)

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