My Journey to Haiti: Mitzvot and a Catholic Mission

 A lot of people are surprised that I am Jewish and I’m going on a medical mission that was founded out of a Catholic Church.  The majority of people who question it are not Jewish, but Christian themselves.  And, just to be clear, no one has questioned it in a nasty way, more just a, “wow, that’s surprising,” way.

One of the basic tenants of Judaism is mitzvah, or the act of human kindness.  In fact, we just got a letter home from our daughter’s second grade Sunday school teacher that said, “we are going to focus on three things this year, the Jewish Holidays, learning Hebrew and mitvzot (the plural of mitzvah).”  Human kindness is such an integral part of Judaism that 1/3rd of my daughter’s Sundays are going to be focused on it.

To me, human kindness trumps any organized religion.  If we all were kind all the time, who would need religion anyways?  We would find the things were looking for in each other.

My anxiety has crept up a bit lately about going to Haiti.  Will my kids be okay without me?  Will Key Hyundai be okay without me?  Will I be able to sleep okay in Haiti? I know it’s more fear of the unknown than anything else.  But, whenever that f
ear and anxiety creep in, I think back to the early lessons of my childhood, the most important thing in life is to perform mitzvot, and I know that I am doing the right thing and that not only will it all be okay, but it will be exactly what I’m supposed to be doing.

L’shana tova to all my Jewish friends.  May the new year be filled with human kindness for all, regardless of what religion you choose to practice.

About Jill Merriam

I am a car dealer (, a Mom to my little loves and a wife to my hubby Rob. I am addicted to my mission to be help people drive nicer, newer cars, leadership development and leading a fulfilling life. I hope you enjoy my musings.
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4 Responses to My Journey to Haiti: Mitzvot and a Catholic Mission

  1. Susan Kruger says:

    Hey Jill,

    I love this post. I think I’ll have to add mitzvah and mitvot to my vocabulary. I’m Catholic. Well, to be more accurate, we call ourselves “do it yourself” Catholics since there is a lot of rigidness and are a lot of rules that don’t make sense to us…rigid rules about things that are unrelated to anything pertaining to mitzvah or worship that drive us crazy. BUT, at the end of the day…mitzvah is all Jesus cared about. It drives me crazy that Christianity has become so divided into “religions” that lots of people lose sight of this as the ultimate goal. I love that there is a Jewish word for this concept! Thanks for sharing. I wish you a most blessed trip and can’t wait to hear all about it!

  2. Michael Parahus says:

    Jill I agree 100%…..when we reach the end of our days, I believe that kindness and how we treated others will be our true measurement and legacy. I’m glad to have you as my friend.

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