Since Jewish Helping Hands focuses on small-scale, locally-based projects, people often ask why our work matters. JHH projects almost never solve the whole problem they are addressing; aren’t they therefore a waste of time, effort, energy and resources?
There are at least three powerful reasons why the projects of JHH matter, and why they are worthy of notice and support:
Jews (like people everywhere) are hungry for inspiration. They want to feel that they matter, that they make a difference, that the world is a better place because of their actions.
Jewish Helping Hands projects inspire their supporters precisely because they are small. Since they are hands-on, operating at the grass-roots level, supporters really feel a connection to the tangible good they are doing.
JHH chooses its projects by meeting with potential constituents, listening to their stories and trusting them to know what they need. JHH believes that its beneficiaries want to be partners in improving their own lives.
Thus Jewish Helping Hands relies on a simple certainty: the projects they undertake really do make a difference in the lives of their beneficiaries.
The ability of JHH to energize and inspire its supporters in a Jewish context serves as a potent connector, tying hundreds of young people and adults to their Jewish heritage and community, thereby powerfully benefiting the Jewish community.
Jewish Helping Hands serves as an example which, by modeling, can provide leverage. In their ability to inspire in a Jewish context, JHH projects serve as models. Other programs in the Jewish community learn from JHH how they can utilize the essential work of tikkun olam to energize their constituencies. Although JHH projects are small, the core JHH idea of improving the world by applying resources in targeted, manageable places is powerfully scalable.
Jewish Helping Hands is pleased when other, generally larger agencies adopt its methods, and has happily supported such agencies as they take up its project model (or sometimes, the continuation of its specific projects), thereby leveraging its impact.
- Tangible Benefit
While it is true that Jewish Helping Hands projects rarely solve the “whole” problem they are addressing, it is equally true that they make a very substantial, tangible difference in the lives of those individuals they benefit. This is no small matter, and this alone is sufficient reason to justify investment in Jewish Helping Hands and its projects.
It is true, for example, that JHH cannot solve the problem of hunger in Africa. But it is also true that JHH’s Million Quarter Project provided more than 1,100,000 meals for Ethiopians awaiting emigration to Israel. For those who survived by enjoying those meals, this was no trivial achievement!