Why Repair the World?
By Jon Rosenberg, CEO of Repair the World, and Lisa Eisen, Chair of Repair the World and National Director of the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation
As far as Jewish questions go, “Why repair the world?” is certainly less commonly asked than“Why is this night different?” but perhaps only because the call for
is so deeplyingrained in our tradition. Though there is debate regarding the centrality of the modernconcept of tikkun olam as it conceives of our religious duty to those outside the Jewish world,there is no question that the concepts of
chesed (caring), of gemilut chasadim (acts of lovingkindness)
remain at the very core of what it means to be an active Jew.For those of us who believe that, as Jews, we are called to repair the world both inside andoutside our Jewish community, we see the great and ever-growing needs of our country andour world, and our question is not
to engage but
to engage. Instead of asking
“Why repair the world?”, we are asking “Where to begin?”
One answer to that question led to the creation in 2009 of Repair the World, a nationalorganization dedicated to making service a defining element of American Jewish life, learningand leadership. Repair the World is the only organization in the American Jewish communitythat is single-mindedly focused on Jewish service, service learning and volunteerism.The American Jewish community has robust and long-standing structures for Jewish socialservices, Jewish philanthropy and advocacy for Jewish causes. But until the creation of ourorganization, the community has lacked a means to mobilize our passion and commitment toserve. Repair the World is working to forge a movement of Jews of all ages and backgroundsusing their time, skills and energies to make the world a better place.We are not focused on a single issue, region or organizational mission. We are focused onservice as a defining Jewish act, and as a means to dramatically and positively affectcommunities and people in need around the world, while reinvigorating our community andtraditions around a deeply shared value.What does success look like? In 10 years:
Service will be a part of the Jewish lifecycle and calendar in ways that resonate deeplywith our faith, history and tradition.
The great majority of Jewish young adults will engage in term of service programs as arite of passage.
The rates of Jewish volunteerism will increase steadily, and Jewish communalorganizations and social service agencies will benefit from the volunteer efforts of children, families, young adults and professionals.
Jewish service efforts will make a measurable difference in improving conditions in theworld both within and outside the Jewish community.