Heritage Florida Jewish News - Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

By Jim Shipley
Shipley Speaks 

Tikkun Olam


So, what does that mean? If it is the duty of the Jewish People to “Heal the World,” where would you start? Is it up to us to finally wake the world up to the fact that the world—our world—really needs healing?

Yes, it is. No one in this winter of snowy discontent will disagree that something is really changing. That the snows, where they are, are deeper and more frequent and where they are not the drought gets worse. That we know. That is a given. That last year was the warmest on record and this year, despite a brutal winter will probably be worse is also a given.

There are those few mouth breathers who still might believe that this is a natural sequence of the world chilling and heating. That might not find it different. But the cycles are now in years not centuries. There are 30 million automobiles spewing carbon monoxide in the air that were not there 50 years ago. The science is strong. The threat is real. Read “The Sixth Extinction” if you have any doubt.

Each of us might feel a bit helpless with our feeble attempts at recycling while the Indonesian government allows vast swaths of rainforest to be cut down each day so rich folks can have the kind of hardwood floor they fancy. And why do we as Jews have to take particular interest and action about this? Is it really our job?

Yes, it is.

There have always been floods and droughts. People have always starved in parts of the earth. Bad guys have ruled and the government of this nation has often been stupid and short sighted. So what is different now? The difference is that we know better now. And we know so much more about stuff than we used to.

We live in a 24-hour news cycle. Nobody waits until the morning paper shows up to get the news. Turn on your phone at any hour and there it is. There were once celebrated news anchors like Cronkite and Brokaw and the giant Tim Russert of blessed memory.

News is a 24-hour business. So, would you not think we would be better informed, better educated? Not a chance. Not when college dropouts like Sean Hannity opinionate every day on radio and on that silly excuse for a news channel called FOX.

But through it all. Through the clutter and cacophony and the bias and the lack of talent and brains, the story is there for all to see. We see the icebergs melting. We see the huge traffic jams and the carbon monoxide rising from the cars in them. We hear the scientists and we know. Oh yes, we know.

Jews are tasked with healing the world. No other people were given this mandate directly from God - and now we know why. We in this nation of ours will surpass three hundred million people very soon. And they all eat and drive and pollute and are totally in favor of greening and stopping global warming as long as it does not cost them anything.

Never mind that the cost of not doing anything a generation or so down the line will be triple the cost of reversing the trend now. Our congress thinks in two-year segments and outside interests have more clout than either party.

But we are Jews and we are supposed to do better. We are supposed to really care about feeding the hungry and keeping this planet of ours as God intended it. We have risen from the Holocaust to create the State of Israel whose greatest export is brains.

We are Jews and we are not supposed to sit idly by, driving our Lexus cars and our SUVs and watering our lawns five times a week and grabbing our plastic bags and keeping our Florida houses at 70 degrees in the summertime.

We are the Jews. We have been put here by God for tikkun olam. We are supposed to cut through the clutter of the talking heads on all those channels and seek the truth. We are supposed to take action once we have the facts. And friends, we have the facts.

There are still those who believe we have too much influence. Great. Let’s use it. On our congress people and our state, which allows a California water company to draw more than a million (a million) gallons of water out of our aquifer every day.

It’s time. Let us begin to heal the world. Turn up the thermostat; get the heavy bag for your groceries. Get involved locally and beyond. Yes, your word, your voice, your vote counts. You are a Jew? It is your heritage and your mission. Do not ignore it. We are Jews. We are here to heal the world. Hillel said it best: “If not me, then who? If not now. Then when.” Today.


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