Giving Tzedakah


Let me tell you the secret of Judaism. When you warm other people’s hearts, you remain warm yourself. When you seek to support, encourage, and inspire others; then you discover support, encouragement, and inspiration in your own life as well. That, my friends, is “Judaism 101”.

Attributed to Yankel, a Jew living in Crown Heights who survived a bitterly cold night during the Holocaust through his selfless giving to another human.

Giving tzedakah is one of the most important commandments for Jews. Tzedakah means ‘charity’. It refers to the Jewish obligation, or mitzvah, of giving to charity as well as supporting social justice. We learn from an early age that Jews should give tzedakah because we want to, and not because we must. Yet, we are obligated to perform these good deeds.

As a Jew living in Denver and having a seat at the JDRF table, it is vitally important to me to support JDRF’s mission to make funds available to find a cure for type 1 diabetes (T1D.)

On Valentine’s Day 2022, I will observe the 50th anniversary of my diagnosis with type 1. I’ve heard it thousands of times that a cure is “five years away”, “right around the corner”, “any day now.”

I have never whiled away my time waiting or wishing for a cure; in fact, I don’t know what my life would look like without T1D. But a cure truly is right around the corner if we define that as having opportunities to support more research about the causes of T1D and how to repair our bodies.

Another major tenet in Judaism is the concept of Tikkun Olam. Tikkun Olam can be translated to “repairing the world.” It is an obligation that is shared by so many around the world, Jewish or not. Because I live and breathe in the world of T1D, I feel an obligation to help as many as I possibly can to have a better life – despite a T1D diagnosis.

Some obligations are easier than others, but this has the highest priority in my life. Giving of my time to support legislation, meet with our elected officials, and spread the message near and far about the price of insulin are some of the ways I hope to make a difference in the T1D community. My obligations also mean making a financial commitment to finding a cure so that JDRF can fulfil its obligation to the T1D community, funding the research that will help us turn the corner around which a cure will be found.

We know many of you will soon contemplate your year-end giving and will want to make the most of your charitable dollars. Fortunately, the US tax code fosters a tradition of generosity making the US the most philanthropic nation. Here are a few tax-wise giving strategies if you’re considering a year-end contribution to JDRF.

Please join me in giving as much to JDRF as your budget will allow – a gift that will go a long way in repairing the world of T1D.

By Gail deVore JDRF Colorado Community Board Member; IT business owner; patient advocate and activist