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Tikkun Olam - How to Do Good and Make the World Better

Updated on July 12, 2020

Tikkun Olam: Repairing the World


What is Tikkun Olam?

"In Jewish teachings, any activity that improves the world, bringing it closer to the harmonious state for which it was created."

I like the definition from Learning to Give.
"The Hebrew phrase tikkun olam (pronounced tee-KOON oh-LUHM) means "world repair." In modern Jewish circles, tikkun olam has become synonymous with the notion of social action and the pursuit of social justice".

Tikkun Olam is for anyone who wants to make a change, to make their community better. It is for people of all religions.

Yael Eckstein Teaches Us about Tikkun Olam

Why do good?

My dad always said that it easier to complain than to try and solve a problem. Anyone can complain. But if there is something that needs fixing, try and fix it.

It doesn't have to be complex

When we think about making the world better, we tend to think big - fix the economy, end racism, achieve world peace. This is normal, we respond to the problems that afflict our society. However, let's focus on our part of the world, where we live, our neighborhood, community, town, or city. That is where we can make a difference,

There are many things you can do to make your community. Here are a few that I do:

  • I volunteer at local senior centers and present my Musical Conversations program where we listen to recorded musical selections, talk about, what we are listening to, and learn about the musical selections.
  • I volunteer and tutor students who are learning English.
  • I try and support my local, small businesses whenever possible.

How you may make a difference

  • If you like photography, volunteer and use your skills to take photographs for local charities.
  • Help the elderly with common tasks. For example, on trash day, take out their barrels.
  • Tutor students.
  • Help immigrants with the language, culture, and customs of the United States.
  • Interview people in nursing homes and senior centers and make a journal or blog of living history, their stories

Tikkun Olam Makers

Ideas from Learning to Give

Learning to Give is an organization that provides lesson plans written by teachers to teach students how to be giving and caring students. These lessons enrich the lives of students from Kindergarten through high school. Some of their projects are:

  • Simply teach a lesson a day
  • Making masks for people who need them
  • Cards and activities to cheer nursing home residents
  • Reading as Service

Volunteer Match

VolunteerMatch lists volunteer opportunities in your area. Opportunities are listed by categories, These include:

  • Advocacy & Human Rights
  • Animals
  • Arts & Culture
  • Children & Youth
  • Community
  • Computers & Technology
  • Education & Literacy
  • Health & Medicine
  • Seniors, and more.

VolunteerMatch opportunities

  • RESULTS fellowship to fight poverty
  • Cat caregiver
  • Music teachers for underprivileged children, and so on.


I must admit that DonorsChoose is my favorite organization and have supported many classroom projects. So who are they? In their own words,

"Support a classroom. Build a future. Teachers and students all over the U.S. need your help to bring their classroom dreams to life. Get crayons, books, telescopes, field trips, and more for a classroom today."

How to Start

This article lists three sites that provide you some opportunities to get started. However you can find and create your own opportunities. You have the tools that you need: social media, a smartphone, friends and neighbors.

Determine what you want to change or improve. It may be a park that you walk by daily that needs to be cleaned. It's filled with trash. Your child's school or classroom needs supplies - paper, pencils, pens, etc. A community program may be in need of funding.

You may find opportunities from local social media - an organization's website or Facebook page, your community's Facebook page or group, newspaper. etc.

If you found your opportunity from the organization's website or social media, contact them to see if you can work together.

Once you know the change or improvement you want to make, use social media to get the world out. Take photographs and video and share them in social media. Use Facebook to organize an event, to get others involved, to get the word out. Create a Facebook page for your change and share your words, photographs, and video. Engage with others.

Create a plan to do good. Small projects make a difference.


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