Hurricane Katrina: Community Responsibility and Tikkun Olam
The Kabbalah (Jewish mystical school of thought) teaches that God created the world by projecting a beam of light into the universe and then created vessels to hold the light. But the divine light was too strong for the vessels and they shattered into bits. These bits and holy sparks scattered into the world. Our job as humans is to redeem the holy sparks through prayer and action. In doing so, we act as partners with God in the work of Tikkun Olam (repairing the world).
This Go and Learn guide explores Hurricane Katrina as an example of how Jews respond to catastrophe. In our featured document, “Beth Israel Torah Ceremony,” reporter Gail Chalew, a Jewish resident of New Orleans, tells us the story of one thirteen year old girl, Hayley Fields of Los Angeles, who came up with her own unique way of redeeming the sparks.
- Acts of tikkun olam (repairing the world) are central to Judaism and what it means to be Jewish.
- Thirteen-year-old Haley Fields’ act of tikkun olam should inspire us to act when disaster strikes, even if it’s not in our own community.
- What acts of tikkun olam do you perform in your own everyday life? What opportunities are there to expand your acts of tikkun olam?
- Even though tikkun olam are acts that we perform for others, how do they help us too?
- For youth:
Empowering Young People to Repair the World
- For family/congregational education:
Parents and Children Working Together for Tikkun Olam
- For adults:
Tikkun Olam: Charting Your Course