Friday, January 15, 2010

Welfare of All

From a "Crash Course in Jewish History": (18th-19th century)

"Despite the oppression some amazing things happened in the Pale.

For one thing, charity -- tzedakah, which in Hebrew means "justice" -- thrived, as Jews helped each other. The historian Martin Gilbert writes in his Atlas of Jewish History that no province in the Pale had less than 14% of Jews on relief, and Lithuanian and Ukrainian Jews supported as much as 22% of their poor population:

"Among the charitable societies organized by Jews were those to supply poor students with clothes, soldiers with kosher food, the poor with free medical treatment, poor brides with dowries, and orphans with technical education."

This was an incredibly sophisticated social welfare system. In times of great hardship, no Jew was abandoned. "

Today, Jews are successful in many areas of endeavor. In pondering the roots of the success, I noted the above; another idea is the emphasis on education; and wonder why there is such ideological resistance today to the idea of taking care of all humans - surely it is necessary if the world is improve its average of accomplishment.