Hi, my name is Jose Ayala and my wife’s name is Maricela Ayala
We want to give you a glimpse of what motivated us to start Keter Yisrael Outreach,
Growing up in Chicago, we got to experience some challenges in and out of the street. Not to say we had a bad upbringing but actually the opposite. Both our parents went to Chicago in search of something; coming from Puerto Rico where the economic times were challenging they searched for better opportunities to raise their families. They accomplished this by hard work, saving money and providing for their families. It’s no different from the people we met on the streets who searched for the same things but had some obstacles on the way.
In 1998, we got married thru an organization that had their Leadership who were Ex-drug addicts, gang members, alcoholics and prostitutes! They established a ministry that dealt with helping those who at times resembled their own past lives and experiences. They set up programs for Men and Women which they called “Homes”. They learned the love of God and were provided food, hygiene products, showers, haircuts and clothes but most importantly “Respect and Honor”! This empowered them to return into society with a different outlook of life and performing acts of kindness to perfect or repair the world (Tikkun Olam). How are the Hebrew terms Tikkun Olam, Tzedakah and Philanthropy connected?
Tzedakah, Philanthropy, and Tikkun Olam (Wikipedia)
Tzedakah is a central theme in Judaism and serves as one of the 613 commandments. Tzedakah is used in common parlance as charitable giving. Tzedek, the root of tzedakah, means justice or righteousness. Acts of tzedakah are used to generate a more just world. Therefore, tzedakah is a means through which to perform tikkun olam.
Philanthropy is defined as giving money in order to “promote the common good. Philanthropy is an effective tool in performing tikkun olam as it supports the organizations that perform direct service. There are many different philanthropic organizations devoted to repairing the world.
The intersection between tzedakah, philanthropy, and tikkun olam is captured by Yehudah Mirsky in his article “Tikkun Olam: Basic Questions and Policy Directions.” Mirsky writes:
The rich tradition of tzedakah is a model of communal social responsibility in the absence of a strong welfare state; it also connects to the burgeoning area of Micro Philanthropy, which pools large numbers of small donations resulting in more direct interaction between donors and recipients, or “givers” and “doers,” higher resolution in the focus of giving and the creation of new networks of cooperation.
1Sa 2:7 “יהוה(Yahweh)* makes poor and makes rich, He brings low and lifts up.
1Sa 2:8 “He raises the poor from the dust, He lifts the needy from the dunghill, to sit with princes, and make them inherit a throne of esteem. For the supports of the earth belong to יהוה, and He has set the world upon them.
Deu 15:7 “When there is a poor man with you, one of your brothers, within any of the gates in your land which יהוה your Elohim is giving you, do not harden your heart nor shut your hand from your poor brother,
Deu 15:8 for you shall certainly open your hand to him and certainly lend him enough for his need, whatever he needs.
James 2:15 And if a brother or sister is naked and in need of daily food,
James 2:16 but one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” but you do not give them the bodily needs, what use is it?
We believe that with these experiences and learned concepts this has made a profound impact in our souls to understand our God’s words in these verses.
*Yahweh is the revealed, personal Name of our Heavenly Father.
We hope and pray that our brief testimony has allowed you to have a better insight as to what we (Keter Yisrael Outreach) is doing and allowed you to get to know us better. We and other members of our organization are dedicated to serving the poor and needy of our area. We pray that you will be blessed as you consider helping our cause.