When it came time for her bat mitzvah, Julie Zauzmer chose to collect books for children in Israel because she loves reading. Through her congregation and community, she helped collect over 5,000 books. Two sisters, one in the U.S. and one a teacher in Israel, helped her get the books to kids who needed them. The sisters “really inspired me with the importance of making a difference,” said Julie. They taught her that “if you see a problem in the world, you have the power to really fix it.”
After talking with a friend about GoodSearch.com, a website that lets users donate money to charity every time they search online for something, Julie realized that there are so many simple ways to make a difference. She decided to record a podcast called 52 Ways to Change the World.
Every week for a year, Julie researched easy ways for ordinary people to do good things, such as sending letters to sick children or playing online video games that donate food to hungry people.Though her first list only had about 20 ideas, people listening to her podcast started to write to her about their own stories and suggest new projects.
Since launching her podcast, Julie created a website to share her ideas and plans to write a book.Her advice to people who want to take action and make a difference is to “pick something that [you] love, based on [your] interests, and pour your heart into it.” Your idea might just inspire somebody else.
The concept of tikkun olam (repairing the world) was an important value in Julie’s family. As kids, she and her siblings would participate in the community mitzvah fair and always did something for less fortunate families during Hanukkah.