16 February 2009

When you celebrate your charity

... think of the other side.

Am always struck by the propensity of media (my local media are a case in point) to plaster photos on front pages or websites with the accompanying names of people who have donated to this or that cause, whilst the donees remain nameless, faceless and merely part of the amorphous horde of "the poor," "the needy," "the less fortunate," etc., etc., etc.

Friend Daphne and I are deemed to be among said horde.

We have names. We have faces. We have uppity opinions about how 'the poor', 'the needy', 'the less fortunate' should be treated. And none of those labels do we accept for ourselves.

We also rue the passing of the age in which giving to charity was an exceptionally private affair and boasting of a charitable act marked you as a boor.

ETA: Lillian comments below about Maimonides' eight levels of charity. Here they are, as provided in an archival snapshot of the New York Times, December 10, 1922.

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