Almost two months ago, I was in Budapest for a conference with other Jewish young adults from around the world, each of us professionals engaged in some way in the work of tikkun olam, of repairing the world.
There was a doctor from Australia who offered medical services in areas devastated by a tsunami; an environmental educator who focuses on welcoming young, unaffiliated American Jews; a Talmud teacher who leads text study sessions for social change activists in Jerusalem; and a Jewish community professional who struggles to bridge still-gaping racial divides in her home country of South Africa. Those were just four of us. We were seventy total, from all around the world.
While at the conference, I learned about Jewish responses to global human trafficking; about challenges facing Jewish community life in Mexico; about the enduring effects of the Holocaust, Communism, and still-existing anti-Semitism on today’s Eastern European Jews; about the persecution of the Roma people throughout Europe; about social change organizations in Israel….
So many people, in so many places, doing such important work on so many pressing social, environmental, and community issues. Thank goodness, because it all needs doing and no one person can do it all!
And that’s the thing. I do care about interfaith efforts in Hungary, and Jewish farming in Connecticut, and the struggle to make the land and people of Israel the dream that it could and should be. I am so thankful to be connected to these people, and to continue to learn from them. And yet…
My work and my community are right here in Texas.