April 17, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

A Modesty Pledge Can Make a Difference

I want to applaud Gershon Distenfeld for his article in last week’s edition of The Jewish Link (“A Viral Opportunity,” April 23, 2020). Unfortunately, we are living in unprecedented times. People are sick, losing their incomes and unsure if they will be able to pay their next mortgage payment, let alone tuition bills. It behooves us all to take stock of how we are living and spending our time. Rabbi Daniel Cohen, in his book “What Will They Say When You’re Gone? Creating a Life of Legacy,” asks the following question: How many times do we go to a funeral, listen to a eulogy, get inspired about how we are going to change our life in various ways, and then 15 minutes later get distracted by a call or a text and go back to our regular program? Gershon’s article gave us a unique opportunity to rethink how we spend our resources, including our commitment to tzniut (modesty) in our spending and daily lives.

Upon reflection, I had one idea that I would like to use within my own family. Just like Bill Gates and Warren Buffet (I am no Gates or Buffet) created the “Giving Pledge” to commit a large portion of their wealth to philanthropy, I would like to create a Modesty Pledge regarding how much my family spends on smachot, cars and other luxury items. If each family in their own way would pledge something similar, perhaps we would be on to something.

Ari Ashkenas
Fair Lawn

The author can be contacted at [email protected].

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