Last year, my birthday fell during the once-every-four-years World Cup (soccer). I thought I could slow the aging process down by deciding that, like the World Cup, I would have a birthday once-every-four-years.
So what do I want for my birthday? Something between my own house, world peace, and one of my books becoming a New York Times Bestseller. If you can arrange any of those three, please do. If you feel you have to prioritize (really, how long have we been friends?) then I suppose world peace comes first,
Otherwise, I am going to list 10 organizations that I have highlighted over the past year. Instead of buying me a fine bottle of wine or a box of chocolates that will have me working out for hours at the gym (after thoroughly enjoying them), why not consider donating the exorbitant amount of money you were going to splash on me to one of these great organizations. Please click on the link to the organization that catches your fancy.
1. The Lower Ninth Ward Village – a community center that will provide the only way to keep children in a safe environment over the summer.
2. Save A Child’s Heart – a hospital in Israel that gives free medical heart procedures to children from any country or religion in the Middle East and beyond.
3. One Voice – helping Israeli and Palestinian youth demand a non violent and just solution to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.
4. Jewish Funds for Justice – sending students to work in disaster-struck areas of the world and teaching the value of social justice.
5. World Reader – providing sustainable e-book solutions to children in Africa and other poor regions, allowing them to grow through reading and education.
6. Habitat for Humanity – a community helping to provide people with homes.
7. Jewish Heart for Africa – leveraging sustainable Israeli environmental technology to help the poorest rural African communities.
8. Darfur & The Berkeley Stove – providing stoves for women in Darfur, thereby avoiding the need to put themselves in violent situations.
9. Project Homeless Connect – offering bi-monthly services to the homeless of San Francisco.
10. Kiva Loans – a micro-loan organization that helps people create businesses to lift themselves out of poverty.
They are all good causes and I know there are many more. But it is amazing how just a small gift can save or change a person’s life. What a way to celebrate your birthday!
Thank you. Wanna slice of birthday cake?
Alon Shalev is the author of The Accidental Activist (now available on Kindle) and A Gardener’s Tale. He is the Executive Director of the San Francisco Hillel Foundation, a non-profit that provides spiritual and social justice opportunities to Jewish students in the Bay Area. More on Alon Shalev at http://www.alonshalev.com/and on Twitter (#alonshalevsf).