Hello! It’s Michael Gortenburg!
As many of you know, I take pride in my Jewish heritage. The values of Judaism have always guided me in my personal and work life and today I wanted to talk about one of the most important values: Tikkun Olam.
Tikkun is most often translated to “repair,” but it can also be used to mean improve, fix, or prepare, among other definitions. Olam in modern Hebrew has come to mean “the world.” So Tikkun Olam is a concept that means “repair the world.”
In Jewish teachings, it is any activity that makes the world a better place, and everything we do is an opportunity to fulfill this task. Whether we are fixing what is broken in the world or improving something that already does some good. It’s a key theme in Jewish tradition, and in the stories, we pass down through the generations. Whether it’s donations to those who need it most or days of community service, we can all do little things to make the world a better place for everyone.
I want to encourage everyone to take some time out of their week to make the world a better place, to repair the world bit by bit. There are opportunities everywhere and all we have to do is take them. As a matter of fact, here in Kansas City, there are many organizations that you can volunteer with to take part in Tikkun Olam. Here are a few recommendations for places to start.
Volunteer KC, Inc.
Volunteer KC works to support nonprofit organizations and homeless outreach groups by providing volunteers and donations to those who need it most. In 2020, their volunteers spent 1,830 hours putting together food boxes, donations, and resources that totaled $482,000. That is an incredible impact on the local community, especially at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. If you are interested in volunteering with them, visit https://www.volunteerkc.com/volunteer to learn more.
Nourish KC works to ensure that everyone has access to hot, fresh, and nutritious meals. They have three different programs: Kansas City Community Kitchen (KCCK), Food Rescue, and Culinary Training. They envision a community where all people have equal access to healthy food. During the height of the pandemic, the KCCK served nearly 88,000 free meals to anyone that came to their door. NourishKC’s volunteer program offers two shifts every weekday and some weekend opportunities. To learn more, visit their website here.
This is the perfect place to volunteer for anyone who loves working with animals. Wayside Waifs is committed to finding the perfect home for adoptable pets and is the largest pet adoption campus in the area. Whether you like dog walking, community education and events, or working in the vet clinic, Wayside Waifs has opportunities in nearly every area of the shelter. For more information on volunteering your time, click here.
These are just a few places where you can spend your time embracing Tikkun Olam in the local Kansas City community. Tikkun Olam isn’t difficult, but we must commit to making it a part of our everyday lives.
I think author Krista Tippett said it best, “It insists that each one of us, flawed and inadequate as we may feel, has exactly what is needed to help repair the world that we can see and touch.”
Until next time!