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Jewish Journal

Compassion Games: Survival of the Kindest

by Lia Mandelbaum

September 9, 2013 | 2:08 pm

During a time in my life when I was desperately searching for inner peace, I had a pivotal moment when I realized I could genuinely care about the wellbeing of others.  The key to this internal shift was the understanding that love and compassion are verbs and not just feelings.  They must be backed by actions.

Dr. Stephen Sideroff, the Director of the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Ethics, had brought to my attention a brilliant event that will be taking place around the globe from September 11-21, called the Compassion Games: Survival of the Kindest.

When looking into what the Compassion Games are all about, I discovered that the project absolutely speaks to the understanding I had gained years ago about love and compassion being verbs, rather then just feelings.

What are the Compassion Games?

The mission of the Compassion Games is to make our communities safer, kinder, more just and better places to live. By participating, players are called upon to perform acts of service and kindness in our neighborhoods, on the job, in service-providing agencies, and wherever their daily journey takes them. The acts of service are organized projects or simple acts of kindness to aid a neighbor in need or just for the pure joy of it!

The Compassion Games serve individuals and communities who seek to make a positive difference.  The Games are a way for civic leaders, community organizers, educators, parents, non-profits, religious groups, and businesses to produce collective impact.  Collective impact—creating a shared agenda, shared measurement system (hours of community service), mutually reinforcing activities, and continuous communication that builds lasting community. 

Golden Rule

When speaking with Dr. Sideroff about the importance of such an event, he said, "For too long, our culture has fostered survival of the fittest.  The Compassion Games is a brilliant idea to engage people in competing to be most compassionate and thus shift our focus to the Golden Rule, and the interconnectedness of us all.  This is what the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Ethics believes is necessary for the health and true survival of our society."

The Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Ethics is involved in the Compassion Games as a community partner, and two of their board members, Rebecca Tobias and Sande Hart, have spearheaded the project. 

I believe that the Compassion Games is a very holy project.  Ranked a great virtue in numerous philosophies, compassion is considered in almost all the major religious traditions as among the greatest of virtues.  Most spiritual traditions extend compassion to all life, the Earth as whole, and the beholder.  

Developing into a compassionate person is like working a muscle, and the Compassion Games is an excellent way to strengthen those muscles…

For more information on the Compassion Games, please click {HERE}

For the California Compassion Games website with local events taking place, please click {HERE}

Some of Los Angeles' Most Compassionate Lead the Compassion Games and the Compassionate Cities Initiative:

Organizations Represented:
Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Ethics, S.A.R.A.H. (Spiritual And Religious Alliance for Hope), UNICEF, The Peace Alliance, I Am Jerusalem, United Religions Initiative, Lush Cosmetics, Million Mamas Movement, School DayZ/Life Choices, Spiritual Salons, California Corrections System, GetaVision, Unity and Diversity World Council, Aetherius Society, World Interfaith Harmony Film Festival, GAPzip, Emotional Intellegence Insights, All Paths Divinity School, So Cal Committee for the Parliament of the Worlds Religions, The Agape Spiritual Center, ThirdWind, Leading Leaders for Peace; Israel/Palestine, The Way to Happiness and Renaissance School Academy

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Lia Mandelbaum is getting her degree in social work at California State University-Los Angeles, and has an internship at Barbour & Floyd Mental Health Services.

She is a part...

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