I’ve got to admit it: my husband and I are sloppy about leaving the newspaper out. And that’s how my boys saw the devastating pictures from the Philippines in the aftermath of the typhoon. What followed was a veritable typhoon of questions, from the logistical to the theological. I don’t have good answers to most of these questions, but I was proud to tell them how Israeli soldiers, doctors, psychologists, and other volunteers were among the first to arrive in Manila to assist in relief efforts.
It is tempting to tell our children that nothing like this could ever happen to us, but weather is the great equalizer, and we are all subject to it. I always return to this quotation from the great Fred Rogers: “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’” Knowing that those who are suffering are not alone is the surest way to make the suffering more bearable, and to show our children what making a difference in the world looks like. The best we can do for our children in these terrible circumstances is to show them where the helpers are – and be the helpers ourselves.
This month, our tzedakah budget will go to the URJ Disaster Relief Fund and to the Philippine Red Cross. My sons have pledged the same and are bringing their tzedakah boxes to school in hopes of increasing their contribution. Maybe you’ll join us!