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No Age Limits for Tikkun Olam

by Nanci Levy | Feb 01, 2017

OC 5th Grade - Sister Jose Bags - 1-29-17 - 7Tikkun Olam is a Jewish concept defined by acts of kindness performed to perfect or repair the world. Sometimes a charitable or beneficial act toward another person is called a mitzvah. And doing a mitzvah is one step toward making the world a better place. Whatever it is called, any act of kindness can make a difference and can make you feel good.

Many of the residents at Handmaker have completed many acts of charity and kindness throughout their lives. Some have been involved in Hadassah, National Council of Jewish Women, their Congregations, and numerous other charitable organizations.

When someone who has been active all their lives doing for others moves into an assisted living facility like Handmaker, it can be an adjustment for them to now be in a position where others are helping them. While many of them are happy to be cared for by others at this stage in their lives, there are also many who still want to be helping and helpful to others. At Handmaker we see friends helping friends on a regular basis. Random acts of kindness like saving a seat for someone at the lunch table, helping another to find their place in the siddur during services, sharing books or newspapers, or helping someone to get their arms through the sleeves in their sweaters. It is beautiful to see. We also like to provide opportunities, when possible, for residents in the Handmaker community to help others in the greater Tucson community.

This past fall, Handmaker participated in a canned food drive as part of the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona’s Project Isaiah. The food that was collected went to the Tucson Community Food Bank. In addition, last month several Handmaker residents had an opportunity to visit a traveling exhibit that came to the Tucson JCC as part of the Mazon: This is Hunger Tour. Residents learned about hunger in America, how difficult it can be for some to make ends meet, and saw the faces of those who are hungry. It was a very moving experience.

Last week, residents were joined by 5th grade students from Congregation Or Chadash to pack snack bags for Sister Jose’s Women’s Center in downtown Tucson. (The Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona has taken on Sister Jose for their 70th Anniversary Mitzvah project.) The bags were filled with protein bars, cookies, candies, a clementine orange and a beautiful handmade card with sentiments of encouragement and caring. The residents and students enjoyed making the bags and getting to know one another while doing so. They also felt so good to be able to help others less fortunate than themselves. They learned that Sister Jose Women's Center serves only women, many middle aged or older, which is a very vulnerable and under served part of the homeless population in Tucson. While we cannot completely repair all the fractures in the world in one afternoon, it certainly was a step in the right direction.