I felt lost when I learned of my dad’s late-stage cancer diagnosis.

Despite having a top team of doctors battling his disease, I knew that prayer was my only weapon in this fight.  I couldn’t shake the feeling, though, that there was more we could be doing.  Our sages teach that repentance, prayer and charity can remove an evil decree.  My father has always modeled that charity encompasses good deeds, so I started thinking that if we could encourage others to embrace this approach and take on one act of kindness in his name, perhaps we could accumulate even more merits on his behalf.

With that in mind, my husband and I came up with the idea of zechuyos.com.  Zechuyos, meaning merits, is a site that allows you to submit the name of someone in need and pledge to take on a mitzvah or gesture in their merit.  Then, those in need of divine intervention can look at the site, see all of the actions being done on their behalf and gain strength knowing that the community is rallying around them.

As we approach Rosh Hashanah, may we be able to multiply our merits like the pomegranate and allow our prayers AND actions to reflect our desires to grow and better the world.  Who knows, maybe, just maybe, when we say, “Avinu Malkeinu (our Father, our King), write us in the Book of Merits,” Hashem will smile at us and say, “Looks like you already wrote yourself in there on behalf of another (#zechuyos.com). Perhaps I’ll just follow suit.”

Erin Stiebel, WGF Alum (Class 21) serves as the Director of NCSY GIVE, a volunteer-focused Israel program for high school girls, and an Educator for Partners Detroit’s Young Professional division.  Previously, Erin worked as an Educational Consultant for Akiva Hebrew Day School in Southfield, MI, taught Judaic Studies at SAR Academy in New York and worked for NCSY in various educational and administrative roles.  Erin earned her BA in Jewish Studies from Yeshiva University, MA from Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and MBA from Touro College Graduate School of Business, during which she was a Wexner Graduate Fellow and Davidson Scholar.  Erin’s father is in serious need of your prayers and good deeds. Please consider signing up on zechuyos.com or adding an additional tefillah (prayer) for Levi Yitzchak haKohen ben Rachel.”  She can be reached at erinstiebel@gmail.com.