Updated: Mar 18, 2019
I have spent the week reflecting on the words Tikkun Olum and my Jewish identity. Today as I watched the St Patrick’s Day Parade floats pass by I reflected on my Irish heritage on my mothers side. I am struck between the similarities between the two. To think that generations ago, an Irish family and a Jewish family crossed the Atlantic, leaving behind homes, hearts, and nations yearning to be free. My mom’s Irish ancestors left Ireland in a time of hunger, poverty, and subjugation. My dad’s Jewish ancestors left Europe at a time of danger, uncertainty, and Anti-Semitism. Both groups contributed greatly to the building of the United States. In turn, no nation has believed as strongly in the causes of Irish freedom and Israeli statehood as the United States. As I look back on a week of service and look at all the green shamrocks, I see the onus of making and shaping a better world shared by our peoples. It is the perseverance and compassion possessed by our two cultures that is needed now more than ever. We share a proud past and a promising future. Happy St Patrick’s Day!
-Jackson W. Ribler