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Friday, March 1, 1996

Random Acts of Love

                                                                                                            March, 1996

Dear G.U.C.I. Staff:

We all know that, "Al Shlosha D'varim Ha Olam Omed.  On three things the world
stands; on Torah, on Avodah, and on Gimilut Hasadim, acts of loving kindness."
We may interpret these three suspenders of the world in different ways.  Torah
could mean our Jewish heritage and history, it could mean the morality and
ethics taught by our Rabbis throughout the ages, it could mean adherence to
tradition as the structure of life.  Avodah could be work or worship, or even
just the willingness of a person to roll up his/her sleeves and join the rest
of humanity in building our world (how many of us felt that for the first time
when we came here to be Avodahnikim).  And then there is Gemilut Hasidim. 
Maybe you've seen the bumper sticker that shouts, "Practice random acts of
loving kindness."  Perhaps in this day and age, this third pod in the world's
tripod is the most important.

It seems to me that we live in a time when it is very easy to insulate
ourselves from others, to go about our business, attend our classes, watch our
videos, protect ourselves.  But when I think about what's really important, I
can't find anything to top helping someone who needs it.  I'm not talking about
volunteering at the local soup kitchen, or building houses with Habitat for
Humanity.  Those are outstanding things to do, and should be encouraged.  But
I'm thinking about more basic acts of kindness, the ones that could be a part
of our lives everyday, the ones that are right there in front of us if we
choose to see them.  I'm talking about developing a personal philosophy that
pledges oneself to being a helping person.  I'm not forgetting, "Im Ain Ani Li
Mi Li," for a minute.  We all have to care for ourselves, protect ourselves. 
You know that I feel strongly that we are, each of us, our own personal ace in
the hole, our own best friend.  But what a world it would be if, each morning,
people woke up thinking, "I have many things to do today, let's see who I can
help along the way."

We live in a difficult world.  It seems filled with O.J.'s and Menendez
brothers, suicide bombers, and Louis Farrakhans.  Easy to let all that get you
down.  It's better, though when we realize that there are millions more Gimilut
Hasadim doers than those who would destroy the good of the world.  There has
never been a better time for "Tikkun Olam,"  fixing our world.  Last summer we
learned that eventually "Shalom Yavo, Peace will come."  And we dedicated
ourselves to that idea by singing, "Sh'Yatchil Iti!  LET IT BEGIN WITH ME!"  We
can each help to make this world a better place by imbedding the idea of
practicing random acts of loving kindness into our everyday thinking.  We
should be eager to help each other, we should be looking for opportunities to
make others happy, to show our love for our families and friends, to realize
the qualities rather than the imperfections in those we know, to just be a good
friend, parent, son or daughter, sister or brother. 

It's March.  In a short while camp will be upon us.  Think of the opportunities
for "Gemilut Hasidim" that present themselves during a summer here.  I am
thankful we are given such a chance to help others.  From helping homesick
campers to teaching unit heads, we are blessed with opportunities to give. 
Those opportunities exist for you as well, at home, in school, in your
fraternity or sorority houses.  Hey!  You can do it.  Call your Grandpa, out of
the blue, for no reason.  You'll feel the warmth of a beautiful, random act of