In Pirke Avot, the Ethics of the Fathers, we are told, “Do not keep aloof from the community (2:4).” We must go beyond giving tzedakah to take action to address the needs of the community and to make our world – at least our little part of it – more just and accessible to all our neighbors.
Tikkun Olam at Beth Sholom is our organized approach and commitment to making “repairing the world” an integral part of our congregational life.
· Face to Face includes hands-on volunteering on both an episodic and long-term basis.
We adopted Coleman Elementary School where we have placed a team of volunteer tutors, started an after-school Art Club, provide ongoing support of the parent organization, and donate uniforms, computers, and school supplies.
In a successful event planned with Project Drives, Beth Sholom members joined volunteers at Idlewild Presbyterian Church for “More Than a Meal,” the weekly dinner cooked and served for the homeless and marginally homeless of that midtown neighborhood. After serving and enjoying the meal with participants, the Beth Sholom group distributed blankets collected during the previous month’s drive.
Other Face to Face projects include the building of handicapped ramps for clients of MIFA (Metropolitan Interfaith Association) with the participation of the Beth Sholom Men’s Club.
Project Drives activities include the following:
collecting cell phones for women’s shelters and toilet articles for the Memphis Family Shelter
providing blankets, coats, socks, and new shoes to guests of Manna House
The High Holiday food drive for the Food Bank
The annual spring and fall blood drives for Lifeblood.
Social Activism addresses specific political and community issues, like contemporary slavery, the living wage initiative, and poverty and hunger in our area.
Teaching Tikkun component explores the meaning and practice of Tikkun Olam through panel discussions and other special events featuring guest speakers on many fascinating topics.
Panel presentations have included “Different Views from Different Pews,” a discussion about the different and similar approaches of various faith traditions to the concept of “repairing the world,” and a debate among economists and business leaders on the living wage initiative under consideration by the City Council
Rabbi Elliot Dorff, author of To Do the Right and the Good, spent a weekend at Beth Sholom talking about issues relating to Tikkun Olam and Jewish ethics
Other presentations included three sessions led by Rabbi Aaron Rubinstein, Rabbi Joel Finklestein, and Dr. David Patterson on the textual bases of Tikkun Olam traditions. Internationally-known “mitzvah hero” Danny Siegel visited Memphis in November 2006 to lead a variety of sessions at Beth Sholom and other locations in the Jewish community.
Get involved! The need is great and so are the opportunities.
Yasher Koach to Jeremy Stein for his success in collecting over 400 soccer balls for underprivileged Iraqi children. He and the whole Stein family thank the Beth Sholom family for generously contributing to Jeremy’s personal Tikkun Olam project. To learn more about Jeremy’s service in Iraq and his soccer ball project, please read this article in the Memphis Commerical Appeal.
CURRENT TIKKUN OLAM OPPORTUNITIES
Tutor at Coleman Elementary School
Collect School Supplies and/or uniforms for Coleman Elementary School
Volunteer at Manna House, serving coffee and socializing with guests – Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays