What is Tikkun Olam?
Tikkun Olam (literally, “world repair”) has come to connote social action and the pursuit of social justice. Tikkun Olam is a key element of the Union for Progressive Judaism (UPJ) mission statement. The UPJ and its members, including Brisbane Progressive Jewish Congregation, support a range of projects in Australia and around the world. This page has been developed to provide a portal for our members and supporters to access some of these projects and other organisations who contribute to Tikkun Olam. As we become aware of projects, new links will be added. If you know of a new program, or would like us to add a link to an existing project, please contact us.
The following paragraphs give information on some Tikkun Olam-based activities you may wish to support.
Jewish Aid Australia (JAA) is a non-profit organisation dedicated to pursuing social justice for disadvantaged communities in Australia and overseas. JAA enables people to realise and practice the core Jewish concepts of Tzedakah (justice), Chessed (kindness) and Tikkun Olam (repairing the world). Jewish values urge us to question injustice, act, and take collective responsibility. JAA sparks and sustains social change by channelling the unlimited passion and potential of Jewish change-makers into action for a more just world. Volunteering with JAA is an avenue for Jews, who are passionate about community and international development, to work through a Jewish aid organisation.
Queensland Jewish Community Services Inc. provides welfare services for people in the Jewish community. We respond to enquiries from the community by giving information, referring clients to the relevant Government departments, organisation or professional person to assist them. If needed, we support clients in their interaction with these services. Where appropriate, we provide practical assistance as well. Our work includes:
- Providing client support and advocacy at the Police, Courts and Government Departments;
- Visiting correctional facilities to assist determining the needs of Jewish prisoners;
- Finding legal representation and support to those exposed to abuse, domestic violence and discrimination;
- Providing initial contact and assistance to access services for clients with mental health issues;
- Helping purchase medical equipment for people to maintain a level of independence in their homes;
- Providing transport to people who need to attend medical procedures and appointments; and
- Doing our best in a professional caring manner.
Tevel b’Tzedek (Earth – In Justice) is an Israel-based non-profit organization promoting social and environmental justice. Our mission is to create a community of Israeli and Diaspora Jews engaging in the urgent issues of global poverty, marginalization and environmental devastation from a place of deep commitment to the Jewish people and its ethical and spiritual traditions.
Union for Progressive Judaism Social Action – Mazon Appeal. At Mazon, we recognise that even in our lucky country the homeless and unemployed, the elderly, single parents and the working poor suffer from food insecurity. And the numbers are growing. With this in mind Mazon runs an annual Mazon Food Bag Appeal at Rosh Hashanah as a direct means of getting food to those who need it most. Mazon also collects funds throughout the year and runs an annual Pesach appeal. We encourage people to donate a nominal 3% of the cost of the catering at a simcha to Mazon. To find out more, to get involved or to donate funds, contact the UPJ office at (02) 9328 7644.
Who was Efrat? The Midrash tells us that Efrat was Miriam.
Who was Miriam? Miriam was the sister of Aaron and Moses. A courageous woman who attained the supreme spiritual level of prophecy, Miriam was granted an additional name, Efrat, which has the same root as pru v’revu – to populate the world – in recognition of her heroic measures in saving Jewish children from annihilation.
Pharaoh decreed that all male Jewish infants were to be drowned and declared the death penalty to anyone evading his orders. Miriam personally intervened, endangering her own life to save Jewish children from certain death. In addition, she provided the children’s families with all their needs. As a result of her bravery, the Jews continued to multiply and the Jewish nation survived.
We at EFRAT aspire to emulate Efrat’s accomplishments and save the lives of unborn Jewish children. We could not think of a more fitting way to honour Miriam-Efrat’s bravery than through naming our organization in her memory.
EFRAT’s goal is to inform women faced with an unwanted pregnancy that there are choices. Not all unwanted pregnancies must end with an abortion.
EFRAT believes in a woman’s right to free choice, and that information is the key to making an educated, well-thought-out choice. An elective abortion is a viable option only after a woman understands the full implications of her decision. To that end, EFRAT sets up lectures and distributes informative pamphlets, videotapes and CDs, demonstrating the different phases of a fetus’ development and the rewards of parenthood.
EFRAT assists thousands of women who choose to continue their pregnancy with monthly food packages and basic baby equipment such as cribs, strollers, baby baths and layettes.
EFRAT maintains contact with several hostels to provide unmarried young women with a warm, caring environment, far away from the tension of social pressure.
EFRAT’s over 3,000 trained volunteers are constantly available to provide women facing an unwanted pregnancy with one-on-one counselling and emotional support backed by EFRAT’s assurance of physical assistance.
Since 1977, EFRAT has saved over 50,000 children. Through a combination of education and economic assistance, EFRAT has helped establish a new generation of Jewish families.
To donate, please click on the link.