Tikkun Olam

Dvar Torah

This piece examines the environmental implications of the Jewish holiday of Sukkot and the need for increased legal safeguards to protect natural resources. Originally published in the Union for Reform Judaism's Ten Minutes of Torah series.
November is often a month without any Jewish holidays. But, can we count Thanksgiving as a Jewish holiday?
This is part of the on-gong series of Divrei Torah being published on the NECHAMA, Jewish Response to Disaster web site and subsequently sent to our e-mail community.
Relating the New Year of Trees to the work of disaster recovery when such devastation affects not only humanity, but the natural environment.
A dvar torah about justice and community-building through a lens of hunger. Delivered in March 2012 at Beth Sholom Congregation in Elkins Park, PA.
This dvar Torah was originally published as a part of the AJWS Chag v’Chesed series” and the same description “American Jewish World service publishes divrei Torah for each major Jewish holiday, which explore themes of social justice that emerge from that holiday. Visit http://tinyurl.com/chagvchesed to sign up to receive this publication by e-mail.

Offline Source Sheet

This unit helps students begin the process of self-exploration and of identifying an issue that they care about and want to work on. It takes students through a process of identifying where they came from, of reflecting on their early tzedek memories that might have shaped them. The intent in this exercise is for students to become committed to the idea that in order to teach others to have commitments to social change, they need to do social change activities – or, if they see themselves as activists or committed to tzedek, they need to do something along those lines. Attribution: David Kasher and Beth Cousens
What is Social Justice – and what does it have to do with us? This activity will help students begin to be conscious of ideas of social justice, to have an idea of what they mean when they (over)use this word, as well as to continue to develop a commitment to making change in the world and to being responsible for others.
Who are we obligated to help – and who will we help? We cannot help everyone equally; we must prioritize among audiences. The purpose of this lesson is to clarify the audience that is of priority to us and to understand the nuanced thinking that might go into supporting various audiences.
What kind of cultural exchange takes place when one community reaches out to help another? When doing service work, in addition to the actual work that gets done, there is inevitably also a meeting of two cultures. That’s almost the more important part of service than the service itself –that’s how we come to understand issues and other people and to become part of a larger community. The people we are going to help or work with are often the ones who have the best idea of what they need and how to do the necessary work. This class teaches the benefit of listening and learning before we act. Attribution: David Kasher and Beth Cousens
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