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Repairing the World with Marty Haberer

After hearing from Amy Tyre and Sonny Patel, I hope you see why cultivating an attitude of gratitude is so important, but today I want to discuss how you can transform your appreciation into acts of kindness that make a difference in the lives of others.

To discuss this in greater detail, I’m excited to welcome my friend, Marty Haberer. Marty is the President & CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Phoenix, but he and his team at the Federation work to enable change, promote innovation, and build community within the Phoenix Interfaith Community, Israel, and around the world.

Marty’s served Jewish communities across the United States in many capacities, but in his current role, he’s focused on donor development and preparing the next generation of community leaders. While he’s known for being a humble servant leader, Marty’s a pro in front of a microphone and I can’t wait for you to hear his perspective on how you can have a hand in repairing the world.

If you enjoy this episode, please share the show with someone you think it would help and if you listen on Apple Podcasts, I’d really appreciate it if you’d leave a review for the show. Otherwise, you’re always welcome to send your thoughts and feedback to me directly by emailing

New episodes of Ignition Point are available every Monday, so be sure to follow the show wherever you get your podcasts!

If you’ve enjoyed this month’s theme – Gratitude & Giving Back – and you’re looking for some other awesome podcasts on gratitude, I got to highlight a few as a guest contributor on this week’s edition of the Earbuds Podcast Collective Newsletter. Click Here to Check Out the Playlist!

So, let’s get after it! You can listen to the full episode by clicking the Play Button above.

To catch up on all the Guest Features from Season 1, you can click here to check out the Season 1 Recap.


Hey! What’s going on? I’m Steven Miller, and this is Ignition Point – the show that gets you fired up and ready to win the week.

From appreciating the influences that have shaped you to giving thanks to those you value, I hope you see why cultivating an attitude of gratitude should extend beyond Thanksgiving week. But today, I want to discuss how we can channel our appreciation and direct that positivity toward making a difference in the lives of others.

As I mentioned on last week’s episode, this is closely linked to the Hebrew concept of Tikkun Olam, which means “World Repair.” And while those acts of kindness often relate to protecting or uplifting the less fortunate, these individual acts of repair can take many forms.

To discuss this in greater detail, I’m so excited to welcome my friend Marty Haberer. Marty is the President and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Phoenix which works to enable change, promote innovation, and build community in the Phoenix Interfaith Community, in Israel, and around the world. Above all else, the Jewish Federation works to make the world a better place.

Through his career, he’s served communities in New York, New Jersey, Cincinnati, Detroit, and Florida, but now in his fourth year with the Phoenix Federation, Marty’s focused on donor development and preparing the next generation of community leaders.

Marty’s got a gift for making genuine connections, and while he’s a humble leader, he’s completely comfortable in front of a microphone.

So, let’s get after it! Here to share how you can have a hand in repairing the world; this is Marty Haberer.


One of the things that has struck me deep to my soul is this concept of “al’shloshah d’vareem ha’olam o’made.” Which translates from Hebrew to English in, “the world is built on three things.”

Alcha Torah, v’alcha Avodah, v’al g’vilud Chasidim: on the Torah, on the work, and on acts of love and kindness. And I think those foundation cornerstones of what gives life meaning – this idea of g’vilud Chasidim – acts of loving kindness, are a big, big part of what we refer to when we talk about the elements of, t’zedakah and Tikkun Olam.

T’zedakah, to be distinguished, comes from the Torah where it says, “t’zedek, t’zedek tirdove;” justice, justice thou shall pursue. So, t’zedek or t’zedakah – unlike charity – is a responsibility. It’s justice. We have to do justice.

We don’t get thanked for that. We don’t expect to be praised for it. It’s something deep in our desire to be human, that we need to be just, and we need to be right and we need to take care of the other.

It’s about doing acts of loving kindness. Whether it’s on Thanksgiving, opening up your door to that one other friend who you kind of found out is a little shy, but you know, they’re lonely and you know they’re alone and making sure they come to your house. That’s an incredible act of loving kindness. You can’t match that. That’s priceless.

Tikkun Olam by definition means to repair or perfect the world. So, it’s an interesting concept, and I’m a man of a visuals, so I’ll give you a visual. First of all, in the two words Tikkun Olam, it never says repair the Jewish world. Our charge is to repair the world. So, that includes the Jewish world and the entire world. So, acts of loving kindness are not just for the Jewish community, but it’s for everybody.

Did you ever break an arm or a leg? What does the doctor tell you when the thing is broken? It hurts, you put a cast on, but when it heals, where’s the strongest part of the bone?

In the break.

So, in other words, once you’ve broken a bone it’s the part that was broken – when it heals – that’s harder to break than any other part of the bone, but however, it’s not going to be perfect like it was before. It’s certainly not going to be the same as it was before, but the idea of Tikkun Olam is to repair the world. To make it stronger, just like we fix and reset the bone.

So, you know, one of the magic things that I think you’ve learned at a young age and I’ve caught onto is that the more you give, the more you get. And that can be of yourself. That could be of your resources, focusing your eyes outward instead of inward to the self. Not worrying about what I have or what I need but looking at how can I help other people.

So, I’m really big on the three T’s – time, talent, and treasure. I think some people don’t necessarily have treasure, that’s fine. Maybe they have time. Time to contribute, to read to somebody, to feed somebody, to visit somebody who’s lonely, to listen to somebody who’s isolated. That’s time.

Talent. There are people that have certain skill sets. Incredible ability to know finance? Sit on a finance committee; help with a budget.

And then the idea of treasure. If you don’t have time and you don’t have talent, but you do have some excess revenue, yes you can fix a problem. By buying somebody that extra quad cane that they need or supplying soccer balls for impoverished kids that don’t have the ability because they don’t have the equipment to play ball or providing food or shelter or clothing for people.

So, the three T’s – time, talent and treasure – come into play with that fourth T, Tikkun Olam.

Many years ago, I was in New York and I had had a winter coat and I had some dress shoes. You know, pretty expensive wingtip dress shoes, and I get off the train and I see a guy literally like in rags and puts out his hand for money and I said, “nah, I’m not going to give you money, but would you like a coat?” And he laughed at me. He started to walk away and then I took it out of the bag, and he was like, “oh!” And I said, “maybe you could use a pair of dress shoes?”

And you know what was ironic about it? A couple months later I was in the New York Federation and a woman came up to me and she said, “I saw what you did on the train station.”

This was a couple months later. People see what you do when you do these things. Not only did I do it and I didn’t do it to be seen, but that somebody then took note and said to me, “I saw what you do.” That was so powerful.

It’s seeing that somebody is depressed and not walking away from that and asking them, “how can I help you? How can I make you feel better?” Caring! Taking a few extra moments.

What I like to do around this time of year is go to a restaurant, buy a cup of coffee for $5, and give the waitress a $20 tip. At the end of the day, that’s a cool thing to do. So, these are little things we can do that I think any one of us can do. Get out of the box. Be generous, but generous with your heart.

When you take it day by day and you do a little at a time, you transform yourself and these things add up and it becomes very easy for you.

What you get out of it is so much more than you give. What you get is happiness in the joy of giving. It’s not about us accumulating for ourselves. How many people that we know have accumulated so much and they’re miserable, they’re depressed, they’re on drugs? Versus, if you use your time here to share what you have, to make other people feel good.

Thanksgiving is a wonderful diving board that which we can dive into the pool of being more grateful and of being more giving to others. Let’s not just make Thanksgiving a one-day dinner. Let’s take Thanksgiving to really reflect on all the blessings that we have and the things we might be able to do for other people. And if we choose to really shine a light on Thanksgiving and to really take the time to think about what it means, then maybe we say that the day after Thanksgiving is the second day to be extremely grateful for all that we have and what can I do today to help somebody and what can I do to make the world a better place? What little thing can I do?

And it’s the little things. The little things day by day that add up and then ultimately transform us.

It’s not about giving until it hurts, it’s about giving until it feels good.

In other words, you’ve got to be able to feel it. It’s not something that should be so irrelevant that you don’t feel it, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Let’s start with Thanksgiving. Then, let’s go with Friday. Then, let’s go with Saturday.

Similarly, there’s something to be said about the habits of giving. Start putting the pennies in the jar and look what starts to happen. Suddenly, “oh my God, there’s 50 bucks in there! There’s 300 bucks in there!” It’s like any habit, and students of habits know that if you do something seven times, it becomes a habit.

Anybody can do these things, but it’s not rushing over stuff. It’s not skipping scenes, it’s sticking to the script as the great prophet, Lil’ Wayne would say.

Stick to the script. Don’t skip scenes.


If it feels like I talk about habits a lot on this show, it’s with good reason. Habits are the mechanism with which you show consistency and being consistent is how you solidify the many facets of your identity.

And regardless of who you are, how you identify, your career, culture, faith, or even your shoe size, you can buy into the principle of Tikkun Olam. From my point of view, I believe we owe it to each other to try to leave the world better than the way we found it.

So, looking forward, how will you make your mark and repair the world? There are no wrong answers here, but as you brainstorm, keep Marty’s three T’s in mind.

Start thinking about your time. Can you spend a morning, afternoon, or night during your week volunteering? If the answer’s yes, all it takes is looking inward to determine what causes and organizations you might want to throw your support behind.

Maybe you want to work with an organization that supports men, women and children living with Autism. You could even look into some of the amazing volunteer opportunities at the Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center (SAARC).

It makes a world of difference if you can align your time to a cause you’re passionate about. When I came back to Phoenix in 2015, I knew I could find time to volunteer, so I took up an Advisor Role with a local BBYO Chapter (Kennedy AZA) to help teens get involved in the community and develop leadership skills. Getting to see how my work makes an immediate impact is amazing and when you’ve got the privilege of knowing how your work is being received, it gives you all the reason in the world to keep giving your time.

But, if you’ve got limited time, think about your talents. Of course, you can immediately lean on the professional talents, but what about your personal talents? If you’re musically inclined, you could volunteer to perform for Senior Centers or participating in a benefit concert where the proceeds of your performance would go to a certain cause.

This is the most interesting of the three T’s to me. Personally, I think this is where Tikkun Olam meets creativity because the way you choose to use your talents are only limited by your imagination. So, don’t think outside the box. Think as if there is no box.

Then comes the final T, treasure. This is the one you’ll probably say is the most difficult. But it doesn’t have to be. To make it easier, you can take an active or a passive approach.

An example of the active approach is how Marty described putting the pennies in the jar. Grab a coffee mug or a jar of some kind, and every week, make the conscious decision to fill it up with some change. Once it’s eventually filled to the top, convert the change to cash and donate that cash. One week you may be donating fifty, but another it may be two hundred. Either way, these things add up over time.

I’d be willing to bet this differs from the active approach you’re probably used to, but it’s just as valuable as giving larger sums because you’re still making a conscious decision to give.

The passive approach is making the one-time decision to enlist in an automated giving approach like using AmazonSmile. Amazon Prime and AmazonSmile are exactly the same thing, the only difference is that for every purchase you make using AmazonSmile, Amazon donates 0.5% of the price of your purchase to the charitable organization of your choice.

So, whether you choose active or passive, there are easy ways for you to start sharing your treasure.

The moral of the story is that you can and should play a role in repairing the world, and so long as you’re able to keep an open mind, there are plenty of ways to get involved.

But just like many other parts of life, when you’re empowered to give back and pay it forward, consistency is what makes the most impact. So, my advice is to find ways to make an incremental difference. Let those kind actions stack up over time.

That’s not to say you can’t go big, but when you do, put your signature on it. Find your way and make it your own. Tie it to the things you love and eventually, make the way you repair the world a part of who you are.

I’d like to give a big thank you to Marty Haberer for contributing to this week’s show.

At the Jewish Federation, Marty and his team serve the community by maximizing the impact of donations while supporting other impactful organizations that make a difference in Phoenix and around the world.

Similar to what he said about Tikkun Olam, the Federation doesn’t just serve the Jewish world, so to learn more about all of the great organizations that the Jewish Federation supports, head on over to and consider making a donation to their Annual Campaign Endowment this Holiday season. Again, that’s

For the easiest way to connect with Marty, check out this episode’s Show Notes at There you’ll find links to his social accounts, his contact info and more bonus content.

Just a few final words for you this week.

If you’ve enjoyed this month’s theme and your looking for some other awesome podcasts on gratitude, I got to highlight a few as a guest contributor on the Earbuds Podcast Collective Newsletter. You can get this week’s edition of the newsletter now, so as with all the links, you can find that link in the episode’s Show Notes up on

If you enjoyed this episode, please share the show with someone you think it would help and if you’re listening on Apple Podcasts, I’d really appreciate it if you’d leave a review for the show. Otherwise, you’re always welcome to send your thoughts and feedback to me directly by emailing

New episodes of Ignition Point are available every Monday, so be sure to follow the show wherever you get your podcasts.

Well, that’s going to do it for this episode!

So, stay motivated and keep moving forward.

If you put in the hard work right now – one day – you could be the one motivating the world with your story.

I’ll look forward to speaking with you next time on another Ignition Point.

Now get on out there and win the week!