One year ago, Mark Bernstein and Carolyn Weiss shared their love for each other with friends and family at their wedding. They also shared their passion for tzedakah, encouraging their guests to give in their honor to MAZON instead of bring physical gifts. In fact, this pursuit is what brought the couple together. Here is their story, in their own words:
We met in the fall of 2008, while volunteering on the Obama campaign. As you can imagine, being united in a common purpose, we formed a bond and, over time, a friendship, which blossomed into something wonderful. Having both dated for so long, it was also nice to meet each other in an ‘organic’ way, without the pressure of dating. We were fortunate enough to get tickets for the Inauguration and, on January 20, 2009, after President Obama was inaugurated, we got engaged on the Capitol lawn. A very quick engagement for two overly analytical people, but after so many years of dating (I am 41 and Carolyn 39), we knew what we were looking for and had finally found our other half. We were married on June 21, 2009.
We share a commitment to making tzedakah (justice), tikkun olam (repair the world) and gemilut chasidim (acts of loving kindness) a part of our lives and included these tenets in our ketubah. In this spirit, we encouraged guests, in lieu of giving gifts, to give to one of a handful of charities we selected, including Mazon, and we were happy that a number of guests did so. It was also in this spirit that we decided to follow the Jewish tradition of donating 5% of our monetary wedding gifts to charity, and we wanted to donate to a Jewish charity. We knew Mazon’s reputation, and didn’t think twice about who would be the recipient of our donation. We want to thank Mazon for the great work it does on a daily basis to fight hunger.
– Mark Bernstein and Carolyn Weiss
Mark & Carolyn are proud Marylanders. Here are two of MAZON’s Maryland-based grantees their generosity (and yours!) helps support:
- Garden Harvest: Garden Harvest utilizes a volunteer network of farms to teach sustainable, organic farming and animal rearing practices in impoverished rural communities such as Appalachia. These programs instill invaluable nutrition and life-skills education. At Garden Harvest’s own farms in Reisterstown, over 5,000 volunteers contribute 19,000 hours a year to harvest and deliver fresh, organic produce to soup kitchens, shelters and emergency food pantries all over Maryland. Visit their website for volunteer opportunities!
- Maryland Hunger Solutions: Maryland Hunger Solutions works tirelessly to establish self-sustaining, healthy communities by removing barriers to access. They work closely with social service agencies to educate working families and maximize enrollment in federal nutrition programs and hunger solutions that already exist. They also seek to improve public policies that stop hunger and insure the nutrition, health, and well-being of children and families in Maryland. Help Maryland Hunger Solutions spread the word about existing nutrition programs and advocate for strong Child Nutrition Reauthorization bills that supports all needy families.
The merry union of these approaches is the key to a better world, where hungry children and needy families can feed themselves today and tomorrow. The marriage of Mark & Carolyn is another key, to a world full of love, compassion and justice. Thank you Mark & Carolyn, and mazel tov on your first anniversary!