With the approach of Chanukah during days of still-diminishing daylight, it is within our power, each and every one of us, to think of ways, large and small, to illuminate the darkness.
The moral imperatives of our faith provide countless concepts and deeds through which we can brighten our outlook and begin to repair our world. During this festival of lights, these are the kind of gifts we could bring to Atlanta, and to our greater community.
Eight concepts for Tikkun Olam:
– Give with a free and open heart.
– Learn with an open mind.
– Let go of anger or resentment. Understand that hate cannot counter hate.
– Accept that there are viewpoints and opinions that differ from our own.
– Be a steward of our environment.
– Cultivate compassion and generosity.
– Practice gratitude.
– Mindfully resist judgment.
Eight ways to repair our world:
– Do something kind for people in need. Look them in the eye and treat them with dignity.
– Listen to hear instead of respond. Truly try to understand the other.
– Don’t let the light of their torches diminish your soul. Engender good will with kindness.
– Build coalition and consensus.
– Say no to plastic bags, always. Compost. Remember to bring along, and use, recyclable bags.
– Welcome and open your hand to a stranger.
– Understand that we have enough. Realize there are others who do not.
– Learn that there are countless reasons for homelessness, poverty, addiction. Do what you can to help.
As my rabbi once said, be righteous without self-righteousness, and be holy, but not holier than thou.
Wishing you and your family a Chanukah filled with gratitude, appreciation and light.
Leah R. Harrison is a board member of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Atlanta and a contributor and proofreader for the AJT.