Pay It Forward and Tell Us Your Story Pay It Forward

Mitzvah: The concept of the word Mitzvah is very complex. In an attempt to simplify, Mitzvah means commandment, a sacred Jewish obligation, and an act of kindness.

 The impact of a mitzvah is simple and easy to understand. Kindness feels good. And a kinder world is what we are striving for at Jewish Family Service. So let’s Pay it Forward or Mitzvah goreret mitzvah (One mitzvah begets another).

Let’s share our stories to inspire each other. There are so many ways to do an act of kindness – so many ways to Pay it Forward.

Click here to tell us your story of how you paid it forward recently, then read more stories below!

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Rabbi Aliza Berk
Director of the Jewish Healing Center at JFS
December 20, 2013

Several members of the staff at JFS have formed a committee which we call the J-Team. The purpose of the J-Team is to find ways to infuse Jewish values and learning throughout our agency. Our committee came up with the idea to design a plastic coin with the words, “This is a token of kindness – Do a mitzvah and pay it forward,” which we distributed to all JFS staff who attended our annual holiday party.

I decided to give it a try. One day after work, I stood in a long line at Von’s waiting to pay for my groceries. When I offered to have the woman and young child standing behind me go in front of me, she smiled and thanked me profusely. I handed her the J-Team’s coin. She happened to be Jewish and understood that a mitzvah in this context is a good deed done to help someone else. I encouraged her to pass the coin on by performing her own random act of kindness.

According to an article in The New York Times entitled, “Ma’am, Your Burger Has Been Paid For,” the expression was popularized by the novel “Pay It Forward” by Catherine Hyde Ryan and adapted into a film starring Kevin Spacey and Helen Hunt. As we all know, it simply feels good to do a good deed for someone else, even a stranger. I know that the young woman’s smile and words of appreciation lifted my spirits and warmed my heart.

In the Book of Proverbs we read, “A happy heart is as healing as medicine.” (Proverbs 17:12). During this holiday season, find an opportunity to perform your own random act of kindness and share your story here. Imagine if each one of us performs an act of kindness for a random stranger, who then pays it forward, and so on. Each act of kindness may help repair the brokenness of our world (tikkun olam). When it comes down to it, isn’t this the underlining message of the holiday season?

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