The Jewish calendar is filled with holidays that come around to remind people of ideas they should ideally be thinking about the entire year. Hanukkah, with its focus on light and miracles, is a reminder to look for those things during the depths of winter. On Purim, reading the story of Esther (and the parties that come after), is a reminder to celebrate. And Passover offers a chance to be thankful for freedom and to work for justice.
In the case of the high holidays — Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur — they are a reminder to reflect on the opportunities one has to be the best they can be. They give people a chance to look inward and gather the strength and courage they need to do good work in the world. They allow people to press the reset button, start fresh and reconnect with their deepest values – like the importance of helping others and actively creating a better world.
Service and social action are (naturally) important all year round. But the 10 days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, known as the Days of Awe, offer the perfect time to stock up on service points, and set a tone for the rest of the year. This year, try doing one of the good deeds below each day between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Think of it as a New Year’s resolution that will jump start your year of service and tikkun olam.
Marathan of Good: 10 ways to serve between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur
- Prune your bookshelf or your closet and donate the used books/clothes to a charitable organization.
- Give blood or get swabbed to be a blood marrow donor (find out more here).
- Sign a petition for a campaign you believe in (find one here) – then share it on Facebook or Twitter.
- Get more informed on world issues: Read a newspaper (or two) from cover to cover, or read the top articles on a daily news website. (Sorry, Gawker doesn’t count.)
- Volunteer at an animal shelter or animal cruelty society.
- Take a walk in a park, on a beach, or around your neighborhood and pick up every piece of trash you see along the way.
- Read through all the emails you got in the last two weeks from non-profits asking for financial support. Donate to one of them or email them about volunteer opportunities.
- Go apple picking at a local orchard. Make applesauce and freeze half of it for Hanukkah latkes. While at the orchard, learn more about their sustainable agriculture policies.
- Send this blog post to a friend, encouraging them to join you!