Friday, August 3, 2012

Rabbi Min on Tzedek Tzedek Tirdof

Pursue Justice - Basic Jewish Value #4:  The mission statement of Jewish Family Service of New Mexico reads: “Guided by Jewish values, we offer targeted social services that help preserve and improve the quality of life for New Mexicans.” What are these Jewish values? How do they help guide the day-to-day work that we do at JFS? When new employees join the staff of JFS, they are introduced to eighteen of these basic Jewish values.

Many social service agencies consider that their work is a kind of charity, an English word based on the Latin "caritas". This approach stresses caring for the needy, usually through benevolent giving, or financial support.

At Jewish Family Service of New Mexico, we are informed by Jewish values, which, in this case, lead to a slightly different approach to addressing the many needs in our community, associated with the Jewish value of "pursue justice".

In Hebrew the word for justice, ‘tzedek’ is based on the root concept of righteousness - in Jewish tradition, justice is about doing the right action for the right reason, about balance between competing priorities and needs, and about responding appropriately to challenges.

In the well known story of "teach a man to fish," we learn that empowering others to help themselves is a better long term strategy to meeting community needs than simple hand-outs.

One example is the "MyCD" program which the JFS Health and Wellness Team is implementing in a number of senior living facilities. "MyCD" stands for "Manage Your Chronic Disease". Also known as the "Chronic Disease Self-Management Program", it is an evidence based program developed by Stanford University which, through a 6 week series of workshops, activities and discussions, teaches participants how to better manage the symptoms of their chronic diseases themselves.

As workshops participants take more responsibility for managing their own symptoms, research shows that they have less pain, fewer doctor visits and more satisfaction with life. JFS is delighted to do a part in bringing about a more just world through helping to empower seniors to help themselves.


Abq Jew knows - you're waiting for his traditional pre-Shabbos music video.  OK, how about this? Aly Raisman's Olympic performance! Hava Nagila!

Shabbat Shalom, Albuquerque!
Good Shabbos, New Mexico!

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