Tikkun Olam

Repairing the damaged world

“This is the duty of our generation as we enter the twenty-first century — solidarity with the weak, the persecuted, the lonely, the sick, and those in despair. It is expressed by the desire to give a noble and humanizing meaning to a community in which all members will define themselves not by their own identity but by that of others.”Elie Wiesel

The meaning of the Jewish term Tikkun Olam, repairing the world, has grown and shifted over time. It is nowadays used to represent the idea of social action in our often fragmented and tortured world.

At JAT we believe that our work is Tikkun Olam, the support we give to individuals who suffer from STIs to heal and repair their lives, not only in a physical sense but in so many other ways including developing the person’s skills to manage interpersonal relationships and situations, as well as the knowledge and support to keep themselves safe.

The Tikkun Olam that JAT does is often overlooked by our communities and yet we have a duty to repair this world and its people without judging what it is that we are repairing.

Tikkun Olam obliges us as Jews to repair our imperfect world and this is particularly poignant in the context of HIV/AIDS. The global HIV/AIDS situation presents us with a particularly demanding agenda. Perfection of our world must certainly include both the endeavour to make ourselves, and our institutions, as perfect – as compassionate and humane – as possible.

HIV/AIDS is a stigmatised condition and in many parts of the world, a death sentence. It becomes essential for Jews, in accordance with the obligation of Tikkun Olam, to take a leading role in advocating the legal, economic, occupational and social rights of people with AIDS and those diagnosed with HIV infection and to combat efforts to remove these rights.

Tikkun Olam requires of us to change the bad situations we see and experience in our world. Where there is ignorance, we have to bring enlightenment. Where there is hatred or fear, we have to bring love and courage. Where there is suffering and pain, we have to bring relief.