Empathy in Action

Ever since we can remember, it’s been important to us to make this world a better and kinder place through our actions, whether it’s volunteering, writing letters to legislators about social, animal and environmental justice issues, making donations to organizations committed to community change or cultivating vegan lifestyles. Every little choice matters. As kids, we were fortunate enough to grow up not only having our basic needs met, but also not having to worry about…well, much of anything. Not a day goes by that we take this for granted. In some ways, we also believe that being gay (though not realizing it at a conscious level during our childhood years), and feeling like “others” or “less than” or different, made it easier for us to understand variations of oppression and injustice. These realities have instilled a deep sense of empathy in us for those who aren’t as privileged. It’s also forged a desire within us to depart this planet in a more enriched way than how we inherited it, not only because we have the ability to do so, but because we’re dedicated to making some kind of difference.

The concepts of The Seventh Generation and tikkun olam inspire us daily. The Seventh Generation takes its name from the Great Law of the Haudenosaunee; the founding document of the Iroquois Confederacy and the oldest living participatory democracy on Earth. It is based on an ancient Iroquois philosophy that: “In our every deliberation, we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations.” Today, The Seventh Generation Principle is applicable to decisions we make about water, air, and the use of natural resources so we ensure those decisions are sustainable for seven generations in the future. We grew up in a Jewish household and have a deep connection to our heritage, particularly, the concept of tikkun olam (in Hebrew, literally translated as “repair the world”) where Jews bear responsibility not only for their own moral, spiritual, and material welfare, but also for the whole of society’s welfare.