The Israel Tikkun Olam Tzedakah Conference

Sometimes, things just fall through the cracks; this was one of them – a delayed post.

Last month, Danny Siegel, hosted a conference here in Jerusalem, Alternative for Jewish Educators, a four day event focused on Tzedakah.

To really understand what transpired, one has to understand something about “Mitzvah heroes” – a term coined by Danny Siegel over 30 years ago to describe the wonderful people who do wonderful things to fix the world and who do it efficiently and effectively.

In general, when someone is asked “how many Tzaddikim (often translated as “righteous ones” or “holy ones”) are there in the world”, many people respond by saying “36”, referring to the very popular legend that this is the special number of Tzaddikim required to be alive in the world or else the world would cease to exist.

Arnie Draiman, who helped coordinate the conference, has a different answer, “a lot, and certainly a lot more than 36!” He bases this on the teaching from Sifre Dvarim (Ekev 11, 47; on Daniel 12:3) which says that “just as the clusters of stars are so numerous they cannot be counted, so, too, are the clusters of Tzaddikim innumerable.”

And so, this conference was one attempt to get many people to meet the Mitzvah heroes – those Tzaddikim doing their part to fix the world.

Mitzvah heroes come in all shapes and sizes, male and female, old and young, observant and not, full-time or part-time, Jewish and not. But all of them are Tzaddikim and they are our Teachers. They can teach us the true meaning of Life itself. And they do.

Imagine spending time – up close and personal – with some of the greatest people who walk this earth. If you are a physicist, then maybe it would be with the Nobel prize winner in Physics. If you are a poet, then maybe with the Poet Laureate of England. But for all of us, spending time with Mitzvah heroes, is a chance to make Life better – for ourselves, for them, and for the people in need of repair.

The participants in the conference left inspired and with an understanding that they, too, can do their piece to fix the world and truly make it a better place to be.

For more information about Mitzvah heroes, who they are and how to find them, contact Arnie Draiman at