During the High Holidays there is a lot of discussion about Tikkun Olam, the Jewish concept defined by acts of kindness performed to perfect or repair the world. Many people live their lives performing acts of charity- mitzvoth- to do just that. Individuals volunteer at soup kitchens, clean up playgrounds, plant community gardens, etc. outside of the synagogue to reach out to their fellow humans and “fix” the world.
Over the summer I was blessed to help local synagogues by participating in the morning Minyan at Knesset Hasefer and give Jewish mourners the opportunity to say Kaddish for their loved ones. One person who was performing this commandment was new to Judaism, and it was particularly meaningful to me to be a part of this mitzvah. I also attended minyans and Shabbat services at the Lubavitch of Yardley synagogue, and it is so much more than just davening. Jews come together as friends and form lasting, meaningful relationships with one another within the structure of a Jewish life in shul.
As a result, I have come to the conclusion that as Jews, before we repair the world we must repair ourselves. Everyone has read and heard about synagogues failing; closures and mergers because of low membership. I suggest that as Jews our first responsibility to perform Tikkun Olam is to focus on bolstering Jewish life within our communities, and that means supporting our area synagogues.
Tikkun Olom is possible when our homes are in order, and the synagogue is home to the Jewish religion and the Jewish people. My proposal for all of us to prepare for the High Holidays and “fix” ourselves is simple- attend services at the synagogue of your choice.
Shana Tovah to everyone-
Rabbi Ira Budow