What is Ve’ahavta?

The Hebrew word “ve’ahavta” is found in the Torah; it means “and you should love.” The word is taken from the line “ve’ahavta lere’acha kamocha” (Leviticus 19:18) which, traditionally translated, means “and you should love your friend as you love yourself.”

Ve’ahavta, the organization, was predicated on this concept: that the Jewish people must be aware of the world in which they live “in the goodness of which they share” and act decisively when those who suffer perilous times call out for help.

Ve’ahavta was launched in 1996 as a non-profit registered charity with nine committed and caring staff members, a dedicated and formidable board of directors and many energetic volunteers who, by their tikkun olam efforts, have made us very proud in the world arena. Since that time we have worked with well over a thousand volunteers – Jewish and non-Jewish – partnering with people in need in Toronto, Israel, Turkey, Guyana, Honduras, El Salvador, Cuba, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Kenya, and other places.

Ve’ahavta is Canada’s only Jewish Humanitarian and relief organization and our mission is to strengthen the world through a commitment to tikkun olam (repairing the world).

Through hands-on programs – our Mobile Jewish Response to the Homeless and Passover Seder for the Homeless, an annual Medical Mission to Guyana and our work with HIV/AIDS victims in Zimbabwe – Ve’ahavta ensures that the Jewish people are front-and-centre in world efforts to deliver humanitarian aid and relief.

The Jewish people can live up to the adage of “Never Again” by ensuring that we will stand up, respond and make every effort to alleviate the plight of people in danger, distress and dire need. In our bid to encourage all Jews, and all peoples, to energetically use their gifts and blessings to make our world a better, more peaceful and respectful place we emphasize the words of Elie Wiesel who said, “The opposite of love is not hate. It is indifference.”

And whatever I do not want for myself or my friends,

I do not want for that other person.

This is the meaning of the verse,

“And you shall love the other person as yourself.” (Leviticus 19:18)

- Maimonides, Sefer Hamitzvot