One of the most important Jewish values is Tikun Olam.
The Hebrew words “Tikun Olam” mean to mend the world.
I grew up in a home that took this value, VERY seriously.
I belong to a spiritual community that is driven by this value.
Last year I was a global justice fellow in an organization whose core mission is basically to do just that.
As I watched my girls rise up to the occasion of our final presentation, I could not stop thinking about tikun.
This group was the most broken I have ever had. No, they were not broken; they were shattered. How do I even begin to mend them?
I realized I don’t. It is not my job to literally fix. My job is to stand close by.
Mending the world is allowing ourselves to fall apart into the brokenness.
Fixing the world is actually rebuilding it. Because not everything broken can be fixed.
But in every broken there is a piece that can be saved.
You might not be the one to save it, but you must do everything in your power to find that piece, because in that piece, there lies the tikun.
We must wait patiently, search relentlessly, persevere and find the tiniest piece in the ruin. Because, even in the most horrific of ruins, there is and can be a spark.
A spark of good.
It might be covered in layers of bad; we might not really understand.
We might barley see it. We will be discouraged and want to stop. We might want to lose faith but, alas, we really mustn’t.
I have learned that transformation isn’t about dramatic change, even though I’d love it to be. It's about opening the door, holding someone’s hand, collecting the tears. Being the vessel for the worst of behavior, believing in the possibility.
And when we find the tiniest little piece of good, that is what we must do, believe.
Yeats wrote, "I have believed the best of every man. And find that to believe it is enough to make a bad man show him at his best or even a good man swing his lantern higher."
No matter how bad it got in the past 10 weeks I never had a doubt that the girls would be brilliant in the final presentation, and brilliant they were.
They danced, they sang, they were funny, fierce and they made everyone cry.
I always believed that we would and should fill the house with a vibrant audience cheering these girls on. I believed that, even when only 6 people showed up (and that was when I counted my husband as 2). In my disappointment I would say to myself,
“It’s ok, next time there will be more, next time they will come.”
We had 65 people at this show. It was what I always wanted. Now, of course I want more. I want every chair to be filled. I want standing room only. I want to send people away. I want to say “Sorry no room!”
A girl who was in my group last year, who no one believed in came to the show.
Shaking, she walked through the doors that took her freedom.She walked in with her head high, a high school graduate, beautiful and radiant. There is nothing better than living proof to ignite belief in the most sceptical of beings. And let me tell you, people were sceptical about this girl.
The county official came. Not only did he come, he stayed till the end and then he spoke. We were all a little cynical about him coming and prepared for him to NOT show up, but he did!
It was truly, an amazing day.
There are so many people I have to thank.
For holding my hand. Listening to me rant. Reassuring me that I will not fail.
People who shared their stories and wisdom with me, so I understand better and don’t give up.People who simply showed up.People who stood next to me and had my back.
And then, there are all of you who read this blog every week.You, too, are now part of the process. Your support is my strength.
So I ask now of you to do everything in your power to be the tikun, make the tikun. Rebuild.
“Swing your lantern higher” as Yates said. Swing it higher because you can,because we need you to.
But most of all, BELIVE. Believe, with a full heart.
Believe, when you can’t, when you don’t want to.
Believe, when you don’t believe at all.
I will be taking a much needed break for 2 months. And then, I will continue to share with you my Thursday adventures. I believe that on those Thursdays some kind of tikun happens.Not only for the girls, but for me as well.
I believe that somewhere and somehow the funding I need to continue and help my adva (ripple) grow will come through. And I believe with every part of my being that by merely believing, we will, and can mend the world, and start to make it a better place.
Have an absolutely wonderful summer!