Sunday, September 30, 2007

Mitzvahs --> Karma --> ???

I love the wee hours of the morning... the quiet solitude lets my mind start to murmur. Recently, lots of these meandering thoughts have drifted towards the notion of mitzvah (Hebrew word for an "act of human kindness")… well, i’m thinking about good deeds up until the cacophony of the neighborhood construction workers knocks me into the stupor of the daylight.

A bit of yogurt and a kick of caffeine later, i’m feeling good and ready to spread the love. in the Jewish tradition, there are 613 mitzvahs enumerated in the Torah (sorry, i don't have these memorized)... and there are many more good deeds which may be divined from these commandments (ie, walking an old lady across the street).

One great way to help out is a blood donation. After sept 11th, there was an enormous spike in donations… but it seems like W took over the blood bank given the surging deficit, especially for blood type O—the universal donor.

In order to be a viable donor, you must be at least 17 years old, weigh at least 110 pounds, and feeling healthy. Men who have taken propecia must wait at least one month. Although I’m sincerely skeptical of this requirement (seems to lack authoritative medical studies), men who have had sex with other males since 1977 are barred. (even though one could have unprotected heterosexual sex at any time and still donate?) Oh, and you can’t donate within 12 months of getting a tattoo or piercing. Anyone left? You can donate by surfing: Just type in your zip code, select the date and time of a convenient blood drive, and complete the quick login.

Ok, needles make you squirm. Another option is you can give a kickstart to a cash-starved entrepreneur from a developing country. This ain’t a donation... it is a zero interest loan. There has not been a single default in the history of these loans (which isn’t a guarantee, but it is a much better track record than some AAA-rated corporations). It has been AWESOME to feel like a financial partner to the startup seamstress or the local drinking spot. Kiva is the brainchild of Jessica Flannery, GSB classmate and one of the most effervescent and compassionate people. Check it out:

Kiva has received a spate of press including a front page story in the SF Chronicle today, a mention in President Clinton’s recent treatise on giving, and a feature on Oprah. Yeah Jess!

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