Everything you do can make a difference
With so much chaos and uncertainty around the world, it can sometimes feel as though nothing we do matters or makes a difference. I know I’ve felt this sentiment many times over the last six months. But each time I meet with people who benefit from the work we do at The Joint (as I recently did), I’m reminded that the obverse is true. It’s especially when all avenues seem closed and when there’s so much darkness, that extending a hand in help, means so much. It’s precisely when we ask ourselves whether our Jewish Australian contribution can be meaningful to the lives of people suffering around the world, that it turns out that it is.
Just last month, a group of ten Jewish Australians from Sydney and Melbourne embarked on a ten-day Jewish journey through Cuba. They were treated to all the delights that this incredible island has to offer – culinary pleasures, dance, theatre, music, sights, museums and even briefings with famous historians and artists. But no doubt if you asked any of the travellers about what the highlight was, it was surely spending a Shabbat in Havana with a Jewish community that, with the help of The Joint, is doing everything it can to survive and thrive.
It was sitting down for the Shabbat chicken dinner, provided by The Joint each week, to create a meaningful communal Shabbat experience and also to provide some much-needed protein (for many children and families, this is the only protein they get each week). It was visiting the Sunday school, funded by The Joint, where more than a hundred people—aged 5 to 80— show up each week to learn Hebrew, celebrate Jewish festivals and understand the greater Jewish world. It was being able to offer up an Australian donation to repair the community van so that these struggling Jews don’t need to navigate impossibly unreliable public transport to participate in communal programming. It was handing over anti-biotics to the president of the community, to distribute to Jews in need of medicine and indeed to people of all faiths in Havana, who have nowhere else to turn when they fall ill.
Cuba is but one small example of how you help people in need when you support The Joint. So, while it’s a sad fact that we can’t stop lunatics from murdering in the name of their religion, or high-rise buildings from plummeting in flames, we can keep the heating on for elderly Jews across the former Soviet Union in the bitter winter and we can send a child in Poland to a Jewish summer camp to eat three meals day and feel the warmth of a caring Jewish community. We can help a disabled person in Israel find worthwhile employment to support themselves and their families and we can also make sure that a child in the Gondar region of Ethiopia has access to clean water.
All these things are possible today and each makes a difference. I encourage you to contemplate who and how you want to help and to let The Joint be your partner.
Eva Fischl OAM
About The Joint
The Joint Australia works locally on behalf of The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC). JDC is the world’s leading Jewish humanitarian assistance organization. JDC works in more than 70 countries and in Israel to alleviate hunger and hardship, rescue Jews in danger, create lasting connections to Jewish life, and provide immediate relief and long-term development support for victims of natural and man-made disasters.