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Do we really need tzedakah for our trip?

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04/01/2011

Sam and Erica Weisz photo 

Our parents counted out eight crisp singles. We are now ready for our trip, but are hoping not to need the eight bucks. Erica and I have officially been hired as mitzvah messengers, shaliach mitzvah, in hopes of returning home safe, in one piece. This time our trip feels different, the comfort we normally get from a secure wad of singles just isn't as comforting. We have taken many trips together both short and long, and many times those singles might have helped to ensure a safe return. However, on this journey we will be carrying these singles to a Jewish village on the western slope of Uganda's mountain range. We will not need our singles, because we are traveling with one hundred pounds of dental supplies to help the Abayudaya one tooth at a time.

As we embark on this journey, there is a feeling of excitement, anticipation, but mostly anxiety.

Anxiety for Erica and me tends to be normal before any new adventures. We try to ease the tension with encouragement, but that rarely works. So we resort to this heightened tension that turns to a rush of adrenaline. During our marriage, dubbed “the newlywed experiment,” the normal stuff like packing, reservations, and transportation have always stressed the nerves the weeks before a big trip. This trip we have a bit more hanging over our heads. Are we bringing the right supplies? Collecting enough tzedakah? Will we be given the courage to justly distribute the minimal resources that we will be sharing? Our few answers have led to many, many more questions.

It is our hope this journey does more than sate our appetite for adventure. We pray that this time, we won't need our stack of singles, because we hope to be bringing a higher level of tzedakah to the people of Uganda. Right now we have a surreal feeling, like we really aren't packing, we really aren't training for safari dentistry. But we are, and we hope to share our trials and tribulations as we embark on another adventure in the newlywed experiment called marriage.

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