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Poster Commentary
"Judaism is founded on human faith and divine promise that the world can be perfected."Rabbi Irving "Yitz" Greenberg
Poster design:Ruah Edelstein


by Rabbi Irving "Yitz" Greenberg

Judaism’s central message is tikkun olam (repairing and perfecting the world). The Torah teaches that all humans are called to join in the work of making this earth a better place. We are not alone and can work with God to make this happen. If we devote our lives to perfecting the world, if we partner with the generations before us and build on their accomplishments, if we partner with the incoming generations, educating them to join the mission, then together we will eventually achieve our goal.

To achieve our vision, we will have to overcome poverty, hunger, oppression, war, sickness, and more enemies of life. This accomplishment is called the Messianic Age in Jewish tradition.

Creating such a paradise is so hard that people are tempted to back away or give up before starting. Judaism responds: Do not give up. Have faith in God, your partner. Have faith in yourself and your ability to work hard and achieve the impossible. Have faith in your fellow Jews’ willingness to work for the goal. Have faith in all human beings—for they, too, want to improve the world. Have faith in the generations yet to come that they will continue the mission.

Before Sinai, at Sinai, and subsequently, Jews stepped up and pledged: we have faith, and we will commit our lives to tikkun olam. The divine response was a promise: if you do your share, I will partner with you for as long as it takes. At the moment when human faith and divine promise intersected, the Torah was given. Judaism was born. Jewish identity was forged. Our mission began. 

Conversation Guide

What do you THINK?

1. The vision of a repaired world is a lofty and a distant one. How can we sustain work in our own small corner of the world and in our own lives without feeling overwhelmed by the greatness of the task?

2. What do you feel is the most important work for you, personally, to help repair the world? What encourages you to do it, and what gets in your way?

3. Have you ever felt that you “partnered with God”? When? How did it feel?


What do you SEE?

1. Describe the colors, layout, and atmosphere of this poster. How do they reflect the quote?

2. What do you think each of the elements in the sky could represent?

3. What does the style of buildings suggest to you? What is their relationship to the objects at the top?  


Copyright© 2015 Harold Grinspoon Foundation

Please use this guide creatively in your programs.  We’d also love to see what you’re doing and share it with others, so please post on our website using the Share button in The Exchange.


Proudly Jewish©2015, Ruah Edelstein, Quote: Rabbi Yitz Greenberg, Harold Grinspoon Foundation, West Springfield, MA