Thursday, December 18, 2008

Tikkun Olam

Tikkun Olam, Hebrew for heal the world, make the world a better place. This is what I aspire to in the new year.

My children took direct action last week with many other families at our shul, to pack up Hanukah baskets, and distribute them to needy families here in Montreal, on behalf of Ometz.

During this world-wide depression, so many are hurting, so many are in need.

Concrete action like theirs will make the world a better place, will help to heal the world a little bit, by healing hearts. Not only by providing food, but also by offering hope that there are people out there who care about others and who are willing to take the time, to make time, to create a difference.

One of my ways of putting my best self out there is through writing. I am a believer that art can change--and heal--the world. Sometimes, it is tempting to retreat into my own interior world, the world of my imagination--and of course I have to immerse in that interior space to write my stories and novels. But I also use my art to reach out, to build a bridge between inside and outside. That's why it is so fufilling to hear from readers.

This morning I was interviewed by Carmel Kilkenny on Radio Canada International, a reporter who devotes her show to Tikkun Olam. Listen to our chat which will air, with other compelling stories, on New Year's Day. I hope, an inspiring start, to a New Year.

Wishing you warmth, joy, and hope.



STOP!!! 'n the name of love said...

After attending a Zionist sleepaway camp for the greater part of my childhood, Jewish activism always strokes a chord. It's nice to know that people are looking out for Jews in need. Remember that Federation CJA can't do all the work.

peacelovesweetness said...

As a very involved Jewish person, I must say I take a deep respect in your concern of your Jewish community. Using your passion to make good in this world is a beautiful way to help those in need.

Leo said...

Taking the time to think of others, particularly those in need and of whatever religious stripe, is a true expression of compassion.

The CBC is running a series on The National called Cool to be Kind. Just ordinary people giving of themselves and opening their wallet to help those of lesser means.

I'm afraid this time-honoured tradition has faded from everyday society, despite the popularization of philanthropic largesse. The fact that you, as a Jewish person, still continue to do this - and pass such values on to your children - is to be admired. It shows that a sense of community still beats strongly in most members and I sincerely hope it never fades away as it has here in Quebec, where in the span of forty years, the Catholic sense of community has swung completely in the other direction to self-fulfillment at the expense of others.

Not that I am much better. Rather, I am solidly in step with modern sentiment. I just never grew up with a sense of giving. My parents never did. One of my brothers has returned to that fold, by becoming a Born Again Christian, and building a sense of community with people of a similar faith.

We don't have to become religious to be generous of our time and resources to help others. We just need to do it. I think, one day, I will do just that.