10 ways to use your writing to add more lovingkindness to the world

First, pardon me for the super-Jewy intro. I promise this post will get to writing by the end. Over Shabbos, I was reading this:

The book AHAVAS CHESED – The title means “Lovers of Lovingkindness.”

It’s one of the many books authored by Rabbi Yisroel Meir Kagan, known as the Chofetz Chaim (which is the title of his first and possibly most celebrated work).

Ahavas Chesed is about not only how to do acts of lovingkindness, but also how to LOVE to do them. The book has an interesting structure. Continue reading

How you should read a personal essay

The subtitle to this essay should read: the post in which I vent about people being mean to writers other than myself

I don’t just frequent Tablet as a writer, I frequent it as a reader. So, when an article went up today by someone I’d heard about earlier this week (thank you Pop Chassid for your link to Altar online), I decided to read it.

It was an essay by Tova Ross about why and how she stopped covering her hair. Now, anyone who has bothered to look at my photo to the right of this post will have noticed something: my hair is covered. I have covered my hair ever since my marriage and do so joyfully.

Reading a personal essay isn’t about judging, it’s about considering a different viewpoint

For Tova Ross, this mitzvah was not so joyful. If you want more details, go read her essay.

The story almost immediately went viral, but not for good reasons. Continue reading

3 Ways to use your words charitably–How to help people in need from far away

Yesterday, it took me hours to get myself writing. Instead of typing at my keyboard, I was numb with fear for the residents of Israel (and, in fact, for the children of Gaza, whose safety is in jeopardy–regardless of who is jeopardizing it, which is a political question I refuse to address here). It’s only a couple weeks since Superstorm Sandy hit the eastern seaboard of the U.S. People lost homes, places of worship, jobs, every material good they possessed. And here I sit in California, comfortable and in no immediate threat of danger. There are no sirens warning of incoming rockets blasting in my neighborhood, and the rain outside is just a sprinkle.

On this blog, I write about words, and how to employ them. Today, I’m going take a break from discussing professional writing to give 3 ways you can use your words to help people in Israel and the victims of Hurricane Sandy.

1) You can blog to raise money for a (legitimate) charitably organization who will be helping the victims of Sandy (such as the Jewish charity Achiezer and the secular  American Red Cross).

2) You can write a letter or email (or post on a Facebook page) to a friend in Israel or in New York (or other Sandy-affected area). If you don’t know what to say, just say, “I want you to know I’m thinking about you. I’m far away, but you are not forgotten.”

3) You can write something to bring goodness in the world–a letter apologizing to someone you hurt, intentionally or not; a letter to someone lonely; something kind and beautiful. Then mail it.