“You are not required to complete the work, yet you are not allowed to desist from it.” -Pirkei Avot, 2:21
Tikkun Olam is the imperative to repair the world, so that it reflects the divine values of Justice (tzedek), Compassion (hesed), and Peace (shalom). Kesher Israel’s Tikkun Olam is dedicated to finding Jewish ways in which to improve the World.
The concept of Tikkun Olam was created by Rabbi Isaac Luria in the city of Safed during the sixteenth century. Today, Tikkun Olam is identified with working for social justice, peace, freedom, equality, and the restoration of the environment.
Clearly, all three terms are connected with each other, and all are aspects of Tikkun Olam – repairing a broken world. Tikkun Olam is our Jewish mandate to do what we can to make the world a better place for all of God’s children. Tzedakah, of course, is charity – and it comes from the Hebrew word tzedek, which means justice. Thus, giving tzedakah is simply doing what is right and just. G’milut hasadim are deeds of loving-kindness – giving of our time, our energy, ourselves, to help others on a personal level. Cooking for the homeless, visiting the sick or the elderly, paying a condolence call, are all examples of g’milut hasadim. Social Action focuses on community work and engagement in activities that further Social Justice locally and globally. Social Action is striving to effect change in the laws of our country; protesting when wrongs are perceived; trying to make justice a reality for all. We hope that each and every one of you will engage in some aspect of Tikkun Olam, so that we can truly say we did our part to try to make God’s kingdom on earth a reality. Such deeds are truly wonderful family activities – it is time well spent, and teaches the values we want our children to live by throughout their lives.
We have many opportunities during the course of the year for those congregants seeking to become involved in acts of Tikkun Olam.Our year begins with our annual Operation Isaiah Canned Food Drive. This is our High Holiday food drive to benefit the Federation Mitzvah Pantry, which specializes in assisting vulnerable members of the Philadelphia area Jewish Community This has been a huge success over the years and continues to be a wonderful way to begin the New Year. As in the past, we are assigned to collect canned beans; for example, pinto, white, red and dark red kidney beans, black beans, chick peas or garbanzo beans etc. that can be dropped off by the office.
During Purim we are commanded to give to the poor. Here at Kesher Israel we run our Personal Care Products Drive. We collect all sorts of personal care products for the Women’s and Children’s Shelter in Coatesville. Last year the drive was so successful that we were able to send the over flow to Safe Harbor in the borough of West Chester.
Besides these annual drives we have other programs which have become staples at Kesher Israel.