Goldstein Family Midweek Mitzvah Project

Goldstein Family Midweek Mitzvah Project

Carrla and Jeff Goldstein wanted to set a good example for their twins by committing random acts of kindness.

After 37 years with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and now with the AJT, , Jaffe’s focus is lifestyle, art, dining, fashion, and community events with emphasis on Jewish movers and shakers.

The Goldsteins join friends and family in paying off holiday layaway debt at Toys “R” Us.
The Goldsteins join friends and family in paying off holiday layaway debt at Toys “R” Us.

When it comes to mitzvot, some parents tend toward the “do as I say, not as I do,” approach. But entrepreneur Jeff Goldstein and his wife, Carrla wanted to set a good example for their twins, Sydney and Robert, so the Goldsteins began what they call their Midweek Mitzvah Project.

“We began  doing the Midweek Mitzvah Project about five years ago, starting at my office, allowing the employees to have the opportunity to take advantage of giving to others,” Goldstein explained.

“Every week we find a local or national cause that we feel is worthy of our time and money,” said Carrla, who plans the mitzvot.

Their daughter, Sydney, a graduate of the University of Alabama and Texas A&M, said, “Some of our most popular mitzvahs were bringing lunch and clothing to the homeless in downtown Atlanta, bringing pizza to the police, donating business clothes to centers that help people apply for jobs, buying toys and actually cooking meals at the Ronald McDonald House.”

Her twin, Robert, who graduated from the University of Georgia, said, “Probably our all-time favorite mitzvah has been paying off the layaway fees of people before the holidays.”

Looking back, Goldstein says, “Over the years, my wife, children and I have learned and evolved in the way that we view tzedakah and giving altogether. At first, we viewed it as a one-way street. We, as the mitzvah doers, were giving of our time and money to help people in need. We gave, they received. Over time, we realized that the recipient wasn’t the only benefactor. We found out that we gained at least as much as the people receiving, maybe even more.”

The Goldsteins enjoyed bringing pizzas and drinks for a lunch at the Sandy Springs Police Department.

“We live in a world now where it’s easy to harm others,” Carrla says. “We can destroy people instantly on social media … get them fired from their jobs, crush their businesses and destroy the reputation of anyone that disagrees with us. But when you start committing yourself to doing mitzvahs, it becomes very hard to return to harming other people.”

For example, the Goldsteins enjoy visiting local fast-food establishments and paying for the meals of customers in the drive-thru until the money runs out. “What is so great is that it really makes no rational sense,” Goldstein says. “We have no idea of the financial status of the next people in line to get meals. They could be very well off or struggling. That is not important.”

They find it fascinating to watch the expressions on customers’ faces when they pull up to the payment window. At first, they are confused. “Why would someone be paying for their lunch? It is irrational,” says Goldstein. “These people could think differently than us politically, religiously and in all other ways. It is awesome seeing them come to terms with this.”

Goldstein wonders about the lasting effects of these random acts of kindness. “Did this nonsensical act make it harder for them to block a fellow driver from getting into their lane? Will they still ignore their coworkers yelling to hold the elevator? I think that senseless acts of kindness initiate senseless acts in return. They might not even understand why they feel the urge to do something good.”

The Mitzvah Project has slowed down a bit during the pandemic, but in 2022 the Goldsteins intend to return with renewed energy.

“The great thing is that anyone can do these mitzvahs,” Carrla concluded. “You just have to make arrangements in advance. The Ronald McDonald House is always looking for help with food, clothing and toys. There are also plenty of food banks and other organizations that are continuously collecting for the community.”

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