Tikkun Olam and Tikkun Ha-Lev

On Monday, January 15th, hundreds of people in each community will be volunteering because it is MLK, Jr. Day. The closest Shabbat to this national holiday is celebrated by at least the Reform Movement as Shabbat Tzedek – a time to remember the life and heritage of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Another Jewish connection is the friendship between Abraham Joshua Heschel and MLK – two spiritual and civil leaders of the generation.  

In Jewish tradition, the value most often connected to volunteering is Tikkun Olam (Hebrew for repairing or fixing the world).  It feels good to add your efforts to fixing our not very whole world, right? The interesting aspect of this idea is that the full concept of Tikkun Olam states that if you want to repair the world, you need to start with yourself. It is called Tikkun Ha-Lev (Repairing the Heart). Sounds a bit selfish, but let’s dig into it and maybe it will make sense. If you’ve ever been on a plane, you know that in the event of an emergency, you are told to put your mask on first, and only after you are secure, to help your child/friend/neighbor with their mask.  

Interestingly enough,  research shows that volunteering has all kinds of benefits for the volunteer.  From a form of socialization to improving health, from advancing in one’s career to finding a sense of fulfillment – these are just a few benefits that can come along with volunteering. Repairing the world and repairing oneself could be a parallel and connected processes.  

This MLK Day, Pozez JCC and Horizon Day Camp are partnering with Volunteer Fairfax on the MLK Day of Service: Give Together. Although registration for the event has closed, you can always find volunteer opportunities online! Repair The World (a Jewish organization mobilizing Jews for volunteering and taking action in pursuit of a more just world) has a variety of virtual volunteering options. 

Please, stay tuned for great news coming from Pozez JCC about volunteering in our community and repairing our hearts! 

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