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Tikkun olam: To repair the world

Social action, community service, acts of loving kindness, humanitarianism … no matter what you call it, engaging in tikkun olam (repairing or healing the world) is an expression of a core Jewish value. 

One idea behind the concept of tikkun olam is that we must act as partners with God to mend a broken or imperfect world. Repairs on a personal level can also be considered part of tikkun olam.

“It is not your responsibility to finish the task [of perfecting the world], but you are not free to desist from it either,” Rabbi Tarfon says in the Pirke Avot (Ethics of the Fathers) 2:21.

As the High Holidays approach, beckoning us all to take time for reflection, prayer and reconnection, the AJP turns a spotlight on eight men and women who have made tikkun olam central to their lives – some as a guiding vocational principle and others through volunteer service. Their work covers a wide range of causes, from helping refugees at home and abroad, to assisting children who are economically or medically disadvantaged, to helping create a welcoming oasis for homeless women.

Our Southern Arizona Jewish community, of course, is blessed with far more practitioners of tikkun olam than we have space to write about in a single issue (over the years, many others have appeared in our “Volunteer Salute” sections). We hope these eight profiles will enlighten and inspire you, and may we all enjoy a shanah tova – a good and peaceful new year.

Stanley Feldman

Deborah Howard Jacob

Sherrie Kay

Jill Rich

Steven Tofel

Bob Feinman 

Gail Birin

Roberta Elliott

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