Soup Kitchen Musician, New York, NY, 2008

Soup Kitchen Musician, New York, NY, 2008

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Tzedakah means “righteousness” or “charity”, and it’s a fundamental part of Jewish life. We are obligated to help the needy, whether they are Jewish or not. This man is a client at a soup kitchen that’s run in a synagogue on 23rd Street in New York City. While visiting the soup kitchen, he often entertains himself and others by singing and playing the guitar.

The soup kitchen is part of Project ORE (Outreach to the Elderly), an outreach program for homeless people aged 45 and older. Believed to be the only such program aimed at Jewish homelessness, Project ORE has also come to serve people who are neither Jewish, elderly, nor homeless; however, most of the participants do fiŒt into at least two of these categories. Project ORE describes itself as “a comprehensive program that sees a homeless person not as just a cup to fiŒll, but as a member of our human family, deserving of opportunity and dignity.”


Sample Texts:

כִּי תִקְצֹר קְצִירְךָ בְשָׂדֶךָ וְשָׁכַחְתָּ עֹמֶר בַּשָּׂדֶה, לֹא תָשׁוּב לְקַחְתּוֹ–לַגֵּר לַיָּתוֹם וְלָאַלְמָנָה יִהְיֶה: לְמַעַן יְבָרֶכְךָ ה’ אֱלֹהֶיךָ, בְּכֹל מַעֲשֵׂה יָדֶיךָ. כִּי תַחְבֹּט זֵיתְךָ, לֹא תְפָאֵר אַחֲרֶיךָ: לַגֵּר לַיָּתוֹם וְלָאַלְמָנָה, יִהְיֶה. כִּי תִבְצֹר כַּרְמְךָ, לֹא תְעוֹלֵל אַחֲרֶיךָ: לַגֵּר לַיָּתוֹם וְלָאַלְמָנָה, יִהְיֶה. וְזָכַרְתָּ, כִּי-עֶבֶד הָיִיתָ בְּאֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם; עַל כֵּן אָנֹכִי מְצַוְּךָ לַעֲשׂוֹת אֶת-הַדָּבָר הַזֶּה.

When you reap your harvest in your fiŒeld, and have forgotten a sheaf in the Œfield, you shall not go back and get it; it shall be for the stranger, the fatherless and the widow; that the Eternal your G-d may bless you in all the work of your hands. When you beat your olive tree, you shall not go over the boughs again; it shall be for the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow. When you gather the grapes of your vineyard, you shall not glean it afterward; it shall be for the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow. You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt; therefore I command you to do this.
– Deuteronomy (Devarim) 24:19-22


הֲלוֹא פָרסֹ לָרָעֵב לַחְמֶךָ, וַעֲנִיִּים מְרוּדִים תָּבִיא בָיִת: כִּי-תִרְאֶה עָרםֹ וְכִסִּיתוֹ, וּמִבְּשָׂרְךָ לא תִתְעַלָּם.

It is to share your bread with the hungry, and to take the wretched poor into your home; when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to ignore your own kin.
– Isaiah (Yeshayahu) 58:7


If each one sweeps before his own door, the whole street is clean.
– Yiddish saying


רַנְּנוּ צַדִּיקִים, בַּה‘; לַיְשָׁרִים, נָאוָה תְהִלָּה.
הוֹדוּ לַה‘ בְּכִנּוֹר; בְּנֵבֶל עָשׂוֹר, זַמְּרוּ-לוֹ.
שִׁירוּ-לוֹ, שִׁיר חָדָשׁ; הֵיטִיבוּ נַגֵּן, בִּתְרוּעָה.

Sing forth, O you righteous, to the Lord; it is fiŒt that the upright acclaim Him. Praise the Lord with the lyre; with the ten-stringed harp sing to Him; sing Him a new song; play sweetly with shouts of joy.
– Psalms (Tehilim) 33:1-3