Good for the Soul

With the High Holidays upon us, we are reminded of our responsibilities to our fellow man. The Torah tells us we are to be the caretakers of the planet and the people on it. The Mishnah tells us of the importance of tikkun olam — that through our actions we must work to repair the world.

One of the most formative experiences of my life was joining the Boy Scouts at age 11 in 1950. I learned the principles of teamwork and self-reliance and developed skills and competencies. I gained a deep appreciation for nature, the environment, and people of all colors and creeds.

In Judaism, as in the Scouts, we are asked to serve — our country, our community, our fellow man.

Throughout my life I have been presented opportunities for tikkun olam. I served as a scoutmaster, and over many years and many moves, I sought out service projects in each city in which I lived.

Since moving to Atlanta in 2013, I have served as a volunteer with the Marcus Jewish Community Center and the Dunwoody Voter Registration Group. I serve as a Torah reader at Congregation Beth Shalom and Emory Hillel. In March, I was presented the Volunteer of the Year award for supporting the Book Festival of the Marcus JCC, for co-chairing the Edgewise lifelong learning program, and for offering my guidance and suggestions to the Mature Adult Council.

The Marcus JCC has a poster saying that contributing to the good of others “is a great source of fulfillment and pride.” Those words express what I have gained through my volunteering experiences, and I encourage everyone in the Jewish community to participate in activities that enrich the lives of others. As we enter the High Holidays, we can engage in acts of tikkun olam. We can adhere to the Torah’s teachings and volunteer.

It’s our responsibility to leave the world a better place than we found it, and doing so you will fill your soul with peace. Scout’s honor!Boy

— Ed Aqua, Dunwoody

A Better History List

My list of Atlanta Jews who made the community and touched the world is a little longer than the AJT’s “10 Jews Who Helped Shape Atlanta” (Guide to Jewish Atlanta) because I have included individuals from the first list: Harold Hirsch, Rabbi David Marx, Victor Kriegshaber, Morris Lichtenstein, Rabbi Jacob and Janice Rothschild, Rabbi Emanuel Feldman, Rabbi Harry Epstein, Rabbi Tobias Geffen, David Mayer, Max Gettinger, Aaron Haas, Josephine Heyman, Frank Garson, Bernie Marcus, Arthur Blank, Rabbi Donald Tam and Ben Massell.

The lady credited with starting the Jewish Home only built on the existing home, which I visited with my grandparents and parents. My grandmother was considered the founder of the home and the force behind the new home, which was on 14th Street.

— Rabbi David Geffen, Jerusalem