Make the world a better place | Worship

By Glen Pickus, Temple Beth Or | Apr 09, 2014

What’s the meaning of life? Why are we here on Earth?

These simple questions seem to demand a complex answer, given the struggle many of us have in answering them for ourselves.

However, Judaism provides a response that is as simply stated as are the questions.

Jewish values suggest we were put on this world to make it a better place.

Tikkun Olam is near the top of Jewish priorities. It means “repairing the world.”

We repair the world by promoting social justice and by protecting the Earth.

In Genesis we are called to “till and tend” the Earth. This tells us that human dominion over nature does not provide a license to use and abuse the environment however we want.

In a commentary on this Torah passage, we are reminded to be careful not to spoil or destroy the Earth because if we do, there will be nobody after us to fix it.

Jews believe it is humankind’s solemn duty to improve the world for future generations.

In order to fulfill this obligation, we must do everything in our power to protect the environment.

By doing so, we will save the lives of millions of humans and diverse species all over the world, especially those unable to adapt to environmental damage caused by human activity.

This year, Temple Beth Or is offering programming called Protect Our Waters (POW).

The goal is to educate and inform congregants and guests about the importance of protecting the health of our region’s waters as one way to meet our responsibility to repair the world.

For our first event, we invited participants in Everett Community College’s Ocean Research College Academy (ORCA) to a worship service to talk about why keeping our waterways healthy is so important.

A few days later they visited the Temple Beth Or religious school to provide hands-on lessons for our students.

Later, congregants gathered to watch and discuss the PBS Frontline documentary “Poisoned Waters,” which describes how iconic American waterways like Puget Sound and Chesapeake Bay are in perilous condition.

These and other waterways still face new sources of contamination despite over three decades since passage of the Clean Water Act, which was intended to protect them.

The next POW event is a 3-hour whale watching tour on April 27, leaving the Everett Marina at 2:30 p.m. The event is for people of all ages and is open to the public.

We have chartered a boat for our private use from Island Adventures to allow us to venture out onto Puget Sound to observe gray whales and other wildlife.

A naturalist will be on board to offer insights into the Puget Sound environment and the wildlife we see.

The cost to join us is $50 for adults and $25 for children ages 3-12. If you are interested in going on the whale watching tour with us, call the Temple Beth Or office at 425-259-7125 before April 17.

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