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Repair the World: Living the Value of Tikkun Olam

Posted by Justin DeCarlucci on January 22, 2016

Tikkun Olam or to “Repair the World” is a continuing theme through different movements in Judaism. In all of these, a common thread has to do with the universal value of taking responsibility for the welfare of others.

Like the Dao of eastern philosophy states, “Love the world as yourself; then you can care for all things.”

And the revered 12th century rabbi and physician Moses Maimonides, “Whatever I want for myself, I want the same for that other person.”

I applied to Repair the World Pittsburgh’s fellowship program after thinking a lot about my personal responsibility for the welfare of those in our city. I thought about whether I would just spend my life escaping through frivolous spending and artificial comforts or whether I could sacrifice my comfort or the perks of my privilege to be a voice against inequality. I chose the latter.

As a fellow, I helped coordinate social justice events and recruited volunteers. I volunteered regularly myself, helping out at kid’s craft programs with great art galleries like Assemble or BOOM Concepts, and mentored students at Westinghouse High School through Higher Achievement. I helped with our Goldsten Teen Philanthropy group at the JCC, providing direction for the teens to organize their own service learning project.

I met new friends, felt like part of a family, and understood what it meant to build a strong community. Then my year of service ended, which brought me to the Jewish Community Center as a digital media associate.

I moved on, emboldened with an invigorated sense of idealism. Through volunteer work, I knew I could make a difference.

So what’s RTW been up to this year? A lot.

In December, Repair the World Pittsburgh partnered with the JCC for our JLine class for teens, exploring the Intersection of Poverty.

In recognition of Martin Luther King, Repair the World hosted an MLK themed Shabbat dinner for nearly 100 people, where participants delved into learning about the school-to-prison pipeline. Last Sunday, Repair the World and Moishe House hosted an MLK Listening Party.  On MLK Day, Repair partnered with 412 Food Rescue, and Assemble to host a free breakfast for students and community members, as schools are closed on MLK Day. They also took part in Kelly Strayhorn Theater’s East Liberty Celebrates MLK celebration.

Repair has been instrumental for Circles East Liberty, which provides those living in poverty with circles of allies who help provide the tools and support they need to get out of poverty.  Repair assists in providing a meal and childcare every week!

And to top it off, there are frequent events at the Repair workshop in East Liberty. From Shabbat dinners to happy hours and movie nights, Repair the World is building a strong community around Jewish millennial service right here in Pittsburgh.

Repair the World, which has workshops in NYC, Detroit, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Pittsburgh, engages young Jewish adults in building stronger and more resilient communities. To volunteer, contact [email protected].

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