25 August 2011

How to Help Somalia

Options For Famine Relief
In the scorched-by-drought Horn of Africa, the famine continues to take its biggest toll on the most vulnerable. In southern Somalia alone, the crisis has killed 29,000 young children in the last 90 days

Many organizations and funds have mobilized to provide relief:

UNHCR has asked for $136.3 million and suggests donations such as $7, which provides therapeutic food for a malnourished child.

The British Red Cross and The Kenya Red Cross are both accepting funds online or through mail to first mitigate the crisis and then help people in the region restore their livelihoods.

Mercy Corps has helped deliver water to 16 Kenyan villages in the last few days, providing relief to almost 120,000 people. The organization is accepting donations to continue expanding its work.

Oxfam, in conjunction with Save The Children, is appealing for $144 million. Any amount is welcome, but the Oxfam site suggests $50 to provide 200 people a day's supply of clean water or $100 to feed a family of six more than two weeks.

The International Rescue Committee is accepting donations that will provide medical screenings, expand water-supply systems and offer help for pregnant women, among other efforts.

The ELCA World Hunger Relief is accepting donations to provide immediate aid to refugee camps in the Horn of Africa. One hundred percent of donations will be used for regional relief, including filling a food distribution gap by providing enriched porridge to children and the elderly who are too weak to eat dry food.

A donation to Action Aid will help deliver emergency supplies of food and water, and provide support, ensuring people don't become reliant on food aid.

The U.N. Children's Fund asks for help in assisting the more than 2 million children who are malnourished.

International Medical Corps' is accepting donations as it ships food and oil to four refugee camps. The Corps will also construct additional latrines and bathing areas.

IsrAID - The Israel Forum for International Humanitarian Aid

22 August 2011

Repair the world: Long Term Service

Tikkun Olam (Repair the World)
Framed Print by Gad Almaliah
The phrase in hebrew "Tikkun Olam" - Repair the world, was first used to refer to social action work in the 1950s. In subsequent decades, many other organizations and thinkers have used the term to refer to social action programs; Tzedakah (charitable giving) and Gemilut Hasadim (Acts of Kindness) and progressive Jewish approaches to social issues. It eventually became re-associated with kabbalah, and thus for some with deeper theological meaning.

No matter how you can help, a little, more or less, or whenever. The important thing is to help with love and truly dedication, believing that a small spark can ignite the fire that will light up and restore the world.

LONG TERM SERVICE (3 months-2 years)

Are many program opportunities geared towards making a long-term difference in a community. The Jewish community also has several long-term service fellowships like Avodah: The Jewish Service Corps, the JDC’s Jewish Service Corps and Ralph I. Goldman Fellowship, Adamah the Jewish Environmental Fellowship, and the Jewish Organizing Initiative (JOI).

PUBLIC SERVICE (1 year-a lifetime)

Most people identify public service as governmental work — everything from being a firefighter to running for elected office. But working for a non-profit is another meaningful form of public service that allows you to be directly involved in the life of a change-making organization.


- Non-Profit: If you have the financial resources to give big — great! — but you do not need a million dollars to support the work of an organization. Virtually all non-profits have links on their website that allow you to give as little or as much as you can online. And don’t just wait until the end of the year – your donation is important all year round.

- Micro-Loan: Donating through micro-loan organizations like Kiva extends the life of your gift. The money you give supports new business ventures in developing countries, and eventually is paid back, allowing you to “re-donate” the funds to someone else.

- In-Kind: Giving charity is not just about money. You can also donate goods like an old car, clothing, cell phone or computer to directly provide for people in need, or support the work of a start-up organization.

The framed print above, you can find it here: Gallery Judaica

18 August 2011

Repair the world: Short Term Service

Get Involved - Want to repair the world? Whether you have five minutes, an afternoon, a year, or an entire lifetime to devote to service and social justice, you can make a difference.

Exist different ways to get involved on the important issues:

SHORT TERM SERVICE (1 day-3 months)

One-time volunteer:
Many direct-service projects simply require that you show up once, or commit for a week-long project: to paint a house, serve dinner at a shelter, plant trees in a neighborhood park, visit residents in the VA hospital, or flier for a organization.

Alternative Spring Break: 
Spending a winter or spring break engaged in service is becoming increasingly popular amongst college students. In addition to getting a tan, participants get to make a difference in a community and meet other students from across the country. Interested? Check out the alternative break programs through American Jewish World Service (AJWS), Hillel, Jewish Farm School (JFS), Jewish National Fund (JNF), Jewish Funds for Justice (JSFJ) and the Joint Distribution Committee (JDC).

Project Organizing:
Organizing a discrete project — like a canned food drive, a fundraiser, installing solar panels on your home, or inviting a speaker to educate your community — takes a bit of time and planning, but the payoff is worth the extra effort.

Whether it’s for an issue you care about or a politician you believe in, signing on to volunteer for a campaign is a direct way to make a sustained impact.

Joining a walkathon like the AIDS Walk or bikeathon like Hazon’s Jewish environmental bike ride is a profound way to raise both money and awareness for an organization or cause, while having an amazing time.

17 August 2011

Repair the world: Get Involved - Quick Service

“It is not incumbent upon you to complete the work, but neither are you at liberty to desist from it.” (Avot 2:21)

Want to repair the world, but feel overwhelmed or unsure about where and how to start? Whether you have five minutes, an afternoon, a year or an entire lifetime to devote to service and social justice, you can make a vital difference. The categorie below outline different ways to get involved on the issues that matter to you.

Whether you have five minutes or an entire lifetime to devote to service, you can make a vital difference.


Taking a moment to sign a petition on a topic you care about is always worth the time. If you receive the petition over email, Facebook or Twitter, an extra 30 seconds lets you forward it along to friends and continue spreading the word.

Phone call:
Calling a representative is easier than it sounds and something you can do on your lunch break, walking between classes or meetings, or from the privacy of your home. The non-partisan news and civic engagement organization, Congress.org can connect you to an issue. Then, find your representative’s contact information here and call, email or tweet them your message.

Apps: Have an iPhone or similar?
There are hundreds of service and social justice-related apps that can connect you to information and ways to get involved in a few seconds. If you’re iPhone free, the website The Extraordinaries links you to “micro-volunteering” opportunities that you can complete from your computer in a few minutes.

15 August 2011

Tu B'Av / Hag HaAhava - Holiday of love

Tu B'Av - Hag HaAhava
Tu B'Av, the 15th Day of Av, is both an ancient and modern holiday

The fifteenth day of the month of Av, is a Day of Love in Judaism. (in this year; Monday, August 15, 2011 - Hebrew Date: Yom Sheni, 15 Av, 5771).

Originally a post-biblical day of joy, it served as a matchmaking day for unmarried women in the second Temple period (before the fall of Jerusalem in 70 C.E.). Tu B'Av was almost unnoticed in the Jewish calendar for many centuries but it has been rejuvenated in recent decades, especially in the modern state of Israel. In its modern incarnation it is gradually becoming a Hebrew-Jewish Day of Love, slightly resembling Valentine's Day in English-speaking countries.

There is no way to know exactly how early Tu B'Av began. The first mention of this date is in the Mishnah (compiled and edited in the end of the second century), where Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel is quoted saying; "There were no better (i.e. happier) days for the people of Israel than the Fifteenth of Av and Yom Kippur, since on these days the daughters of Israel/Jerusalem go out dressed in white and dance in the vineyards. What were they saying: Young man, consider whom you choose (to be your wife)?"(Ta'anit, Chapter 4)."

Origins of the Date
The Gemara (the later, interpretive layer of the Talmud) attempts to find the origin of this date as a special joyous day, and offers several explanations. One of them is that on this day the Biblical "tribes of Israel were permitted to mingle with each other," namely: to marry women from other tribes (Talmud, Ta'anit 30b). This explanation is somewhat surprising, since nowhere in the Bible is there a prohibition on "intermarriage" among the 12 tribes of Israel. This Talmudic source probably is alluding to a story in the book of Judges (chapter 21): After a civil war between the tribe of Benjamin and other Israelite tribes, the tribes vowed not to intermarry with men of the tribe of Benjamin.

It should be noted that Tu B'Av, like several Jewish holidays (Passover, Sukkot, Tu Bishvat) begins on the night between the 14th and 15th day of the Hebrew month, since this is the night of a full moon in our lunar calendar. Linking the night of a full moon with romance, love, and fertility is not uncommon in ancient cultures.

For almost 19 centuries--between the destruction of Jerusalem and the re-establishment of Jewish independence in the state of Israel in 1948--the only commemoration of Tu B'Av was that the morning prayer service did not include the penitence prayer (Tahanun - "Supplication").

In recent decades Israeli civil culture promotes festivals of singing and dancing on the night of Tu B'Av. The entertainment and beauty industries work overtime on this date. It has no formal legal status as a holiday-- it is a regular workday--nor has the Israeli rabbinate initiated any addition to the liturgy or called for the introduction of any ancient religious practices. The cultural gap between Israeli secular society and the Orthodox rabbinate makes it unlikely that these two will find a common denominator in the celebration of this ancient/modern holiday in the foreseeable future.

06 August 2011

Association for Support of Children with Cancer

Help the children building a new hospital
Mission: The AACC - Associação de Apoio a Criança com Cancer, is a non-profit social organization whose mission is give support bio psychosocial and existential for children and adolescents with cancer and their families.

Vision: Be a reference in research, treatment and care of children and adolescents with cancer.

Values: Ethics, Transparency and Improvement of Human Dignity, are the principles that guide the work.

History: AACC was born on 11 April 1985 on the initiative of José Marcus Rotta and your wife Wanir Leo Cavalcanti Rotta, after experience in a support house in Seattle, USA, from November 1983 to April 1984, as a result of treatment his son James, a victim of leukemia.

The couple's initiative found support in a group of parents with children with cancer, in order to accommodate children living outside São Paulo City when they need to perform cancer treatment. The families who lived on the outskirts of Sao Paulo, which came from the state or other parts of Brazil and neighboring countries had nowhere to stay with the patient. So, many times, staying in hostels or in road and can not provide adequate nutrition and hygiene to patients and eventually dropping out of treatment and returning to the place of origin. The primary need was, therefore, to these patients stay offering conditions of proximity to the treatment site.

Objectives: Support to cancer research - Collaborate in developing and training of health professionals - Training of volunteers - Construction of a reference center dedicated exclusively to cancer treatment and rehabilitation of children with cancer

The AACC currently has a staff of 20 employees, 120 volunteers and more than 1,500 monthly donors between individuals and corporations, and numerous pontuals donors.

How to find help from the AACC - Get information

Help the children building a new hospital - Only in the State of São Paulo/BR, there are more than 1,800 new cases of childhood cancer per year. Currently, 65.6% of children can not find appropriate care.