Synagogues and tikkun olam

Synagogues and tikkun olam

(Photo from Flash90)
(Photo from Flash90)

In the synagogue we do things which are Jewish. We have Shabbat services, Yom Tov prayer services, Hebrew school, b’nei mitzvah, confirmations, baby naming and funerals. However, tikkun olam is also Jewish.

In Leviticus XIX 9, we are told to leave the gleaning of the field for the poor. Today we feed the hungry.

In Deuteronomy XV 7: “If there be among you a needy man…. Thou … shalt surely lend him sufficient for his need … .” Today we look after the needs of the poor in many ways.

In Deuteronomy XVI 20, we are told, “ Justice, justice shalt thou pursue.” There is no lack of injustice in this world.

Feeding the hungry, providing for the poor and seeking justice are all part of Judaism just as much as prayer ritual. It is expected that synagogues provide religious ritual, and that should not change. However, synagogues should stop hiding behind ritual.

Actions speak louder than words. We need active committees that feed the hungry, provide for the poor and seek justice. You can take the Jew out of the synagogue, but you cannot take the Judaism out of his DNA. People who have no interest in attending a prayer service could be motivated by a serious program to feed the hungry, help the poor or fight injustice.

Lee Feldman

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