Putting Effective Giving Into Trick-or-Treat

Putting Effective Giving Into Trick-or-Treat

Rabbi Martin Levin of San Francisco sent us this delightful message and has kindly allowed us to share it with our readers; for Halloween, Rabbi Levin handed out an envelope containing a dollar bill and a note to each family that came to his door.

Dear Peter,

We spoke months ago about Jewish and humanistic values demanding that we don’t look the other way when confronted by suffering and devastation. 

Yesterday [October 31st] was the best birthday of the last 40 years as I saw the looks on the eyes of parents when I handed them the envelope with the dollar and note I put in it, explaining why I want to give vs take, and what I wanted to give was not a dollar but an opportunity for parents to teach their children about Tzedakah [a central Jewish tenet of charity as a moral obligation].

I was also excited about introducing them to your organization The Life You Can Save, which is clearly my favorite and nearly only cause I wish to support. 

Martin Levin


Here is the message that Rabbi Levin handed out along with $1 to each family that came to his door on Halloween:


Today, Halloween, is my birthday.  I was born October31. 1941 so I’m 77 years old. 

I asked my family and friends not to give me any presents. Instead I want to give presents to other people. And the present I’d like to give to your child or children is the gift of teaching them that one of the reasons we are here is to help those who have less than we do. 

So, here is a dollar. I’d like you and your child to give it away to somebody who needs it more than we do. 

My favorite charity is called “The Life You Can Save.” This organization wants to encourage people who have enough for themselves, to realize that we can really help to reduce suffering and premature death for people living in extreme poverty. 

“The Life You Can Save”, like many good charities (not all of them are good and honest), gives the money they collect to lots of different charities that help kids and adults in danger but whose lives can be saved with a little bit of help from people like us.  Extremely poor people often don’t have clean water to drink so their kids get very sick; they lack decent medical care when they are about to give birth; they suffer from diseases like malaria and can’t afford life-saving surgeries, all in very poor parts of the world. 

So celebrate my birthday by putting this dollar (or more if you wish) in an envelope and mail it to any charity of your choice.  Send it anywhere but send it.  If you want to send it to my choice it is: 

The Life You Can Save 
10540 NE Morning Lane 
Bainbridge Island WA 98110 

And thank your youngster for singing Happy Birthday to me!!! 

Martin Levin 

Share this story:

Related stories:


About the author:

Guest Blogger

The views expressed in blog posts are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Peter Singer or The Life You Can Save.