Actions Speak Louder than Words

V’lo ha-midrash hu ha-ikar ayleh ha-ma’aseh
Commentary is not fundamental, but rather the deed
Rabbi Simon ben Gamaliel, “Pirke Avot”, 2nd century CE

Last spring, an idea crystallized for me. I hope it will speak to you.

For years I lamented that the most prominent counter-programming in the secular and Humanist world to the grossly unconstitutional “National Day of Prayer” every first Thursday in May was a “National Day of Reason“. I certainly value human reason as a tool to discover truth, and I believe that prayer is equivalent to (and as effective as) merely wishing and hoping something will come true. But I felt like “Reason vs. Prayer” was declaring all religious people “unreasonable,” and I realized that the Humanist counterpart to prayer was action. I wanted to address the exclusion of non-theists from a “National Day of Prayer” by providing a positive, non-judgmental alternative program.

So in April 2013 I (and my congregation‘s fantastic PR consultant Catherine Driscoll) came up with #choosetoACT, a decentralized approach to positive Humanist action. We have thousands of opportunities to act positively every week, and hundreds of good deeds go unnoticed and unremarked. But their collective impact, and the future inspiration we derive from them, can make a real difference.

This spring, Foundation Beyond Belief has decided to pick up this ball and run with it! They are promoting a Week of Action Thursday April 24 through Wednesday April 30. As the website puts it,

National Week of Action is a time for all of us, as human beings, to look in the mirror and take action – large or small – to  improve the world. You and your community can #choosetoACT by fighting hunger in our communities, collecting supplies for the less fortunate, cleaning up our parks and neighborhoods, forming community task forces, holding fundraisers, organizing email- or letter-writing campaigns, volunteering in some small way to help the less fortunate among us, or even just doing something nice for a single person.

The site includes ideas, implementation suggestions, and the opportunity to register group events. But creating inspiration by doing good can be as easy as tweeting a message about a positive action with the #choosetoACT hashtag, or sharing a picture of a good deed, like this or this. Every one of us has the power to do good if we choose. Let’s #choosetoACT together.


About Rabbi Adam Chalom

Adam Chalom is the Rabbi of Kol Hadash Humanistic Congregation in north suburban Chicago. He is also the Dean for North America of the International Institute for Secular Humanistic Judaism.
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1 Response to Actions Speak Louder than Words

  1. Pingback: A Week of Actions #choosetoACT | Shalom from Rabbi Chalom

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