The end is near.

The end of 2013, that is. With it will go any chance of reducing the amount of taxes we will have to pay by April 15.

One way to reduce our tax bills, of course, is to make charitable donations. At this point in the year, many of us already are drawing up our lists of worthy charities.

All too often, however, we look far afield when local needs are just as worthy, and from a community standpoint, they are far more personal.

The Jewish Family Service agencies in our area are called upon to help people of every age group and every walk of life. In times of natural disasters, such as Hurricane Sandy, they are there, helping people rebuild their lives. Are they less worthy than a hospital in Tel Aviv?

The Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey has a long list of agencies and subventions that are vital to us, and that are there when we need them. Is JFNNJ less worthy than a yeshivah in Maryland?

And what about our synagogues? They are there to serve us in our times of need, but are we there to serve them? Are they any less worthy than some institution thousands of miles away?

When making up our lists this year, let us not forget the worthy charities far away, but let us also remember that charity really must begin at home.