I “reblog” Rabbi Rosove’s post about Street Tzedakah because I wish I’d written it. He grounds powerful words in solid texts. Enjoy.
Originally posted on Rabbi John Rosove's Blog:
When I lived in Berkeley in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, walking along Telegraph Avenue could be expensive if you gave to every panhandler who asked for spare change. Not that much has changed in all these years. The number of people asking for hand-outs is at least as great as it was, and perhaps more so. Given the nagging high national unemployment rate of 7% and the large numbers of long-term unemployed who have been unable to find work, the high number of under-employed, the historically low minimum wage, the federal cuts to food stamps for the working poor, and the threat that Congress will not extend unemployment insurance, it is no surprise that people asking for help on the street is so ever-present.
What to do? Democrats in Congress who believe that the federal government should extend a helping hand, especially in difficult times, are slogging it out with a recalcitrant hard-hearted extremist Republican party that cares little for “the least among these” (Matthew 25:40) despite their own Christian faith claims.
What about us? Do we give to the people on the street? Something to everyone, nothing to anyone, sporadically when we feel like it?