There is a pressing need in many governments around the world and, oddly enough in the industrialized and technologically advanced Western World the need has become dire, to find some manner of caring for the most needy among the societies. Granted that being needy in places like the United States and much of the European Union is a far cry than it is in lands where thousands every year, mostly children and elderly, die from starvation or simply malnutrition. This is also true in Israel where, like many advanced nations responding to deficits resulting from the economic downturns recently, the government in order to cut deficits and balance budgets made cuts in the stipends to the poor and for children and other similar programs along with their cuts to other areas in their budgets. The only viable answer is to relieve governments of their need, their requirement to care for the needy and to assuring that every child gets enough food and a balanced diet with sufficient nutrients. That begs the question, if not the government, then who should these people turn to? That is the question we will discuss here.
The most simple answer is claimed to often be the best answer. The simple answer here is for the responsibility for feeding, clothing and caring for the poorest among us to be returned to where historically it has always rested, with our religious institutions. Another place that can be established would be charities which depend on the contributions from those who have sufficient and are living fairly to extravagantly comfortable lives. Churches, Synagogues, Temples, Mosques and other established places for religious worship, study and other activities could use their food preparation areas to make meals and open their doors and feed those who have need. These same places could hold clothing drives, bring a can or fruits to services and countless other means for collecting items and food and other items for distribution to those in their community who are left wanting due to the cutbacks by government. Congregants and members of these institutions could also donate their time if they too were only making do in order to assist with these efforts. The most wealthy among us could return to taking responsibility for helping the needy by adopting a needy family and assisting them with the necessities in life, or adopt a neighborhood if they are able. Such means to address the needs of those among us who are in need would do more than just address a problem and return a true and solid sense of neighborhood and rebuild much of what society was like before the age of large, or even the megalopolises that are forming in this modern age.
When we read some old literature and histories of the early beginnings of the rise of cities due to the industrial revolution we also read of private networks run by a combination of the religious institutions and of charities which often had one or a group of benefactors who were wealthy and who could be known or remain anonymous at their choice that worked as the safety net of the city making sure that those who fell on hard times or simply were unable to make ends meet had a place to turn. The governments as part of their drive to become the sole place that people could turn replaced these support systems over the years as they sought to be all things for all people and supplant G0d and a sense of responsibility for our fellow people in their rush to create the perfect society. Now the governments are finding out that they cannot be all things for all people and their shortfall is causing some to have nowhere to turn and there is once again the need for the old manner of caring for those the most unfortunate among us. This is another case where the old way is very much the best way as it builds up relations and connects people with each other and makes our society more integrated and codependent. By bringing all together to care for those in need and allowing people to be the answer instead of government there will be benefits unseen up front and even some unexpected as we have forgotten how society used to work such that everybody had their place and the wealthiest and the poorest know each other and cared about each other each helping in whatever way they were able. Perhaps it is time to take a step backwards through time and readopt the tried and true way of community and a sense of everybody belonging and working together to make the world a better and more caring place. That is something which government is not suited to do but people excel at doing, so perhaps it is time to give it one more try and see what comes of it. I have a feeling where such attitudes succeed the people’s lives will be the richer and more blessed for it.
Beyond the Cusp