An interview with our Tikkun Olam Co – coordinator

2010 has promised Netzer many dynamic and exciting changes. As our mazkirut body grows so does our wealth of ideas and even more so, our ability to put those ideas into action.
One of our major changes this year would be the appointment of our first Tikkun Olam co –co coordinator, Tali Mayson.

I sat down with Tal to get a bit of insight into this role and the big plans she has for the movement this year.
Q: What are your aims?
A: ‘I suppose firstly to create awareness. So that our channichim can be exposed to and understand that there are different lifestyles and levels of privilege in this country.’
‘Secondly, I want us to make a sustainable difference within the communities and environments that we help. Not just playing with kittens for an hour as that isn’t really helpful but rather a more concrete , long-lasting impact such as planting a veggie garden that not only teaches skills but also helps others feed themselves.’
‘I strongly believe that because we are initiating the contact doesn’t mean that they are the only ones benefitting, it’s a sort of ‘mutual gaining’ where we get something out of helping others too.’
Tal also wants to encourage our madrichim to take initiative. She wants to nurture this so that they come up with their own ideas too and take responsibility for implementing them.
Q: What is your process or plan?
A: ‘ Well, I really don’t want to do once off stuff as that isn’t sustainable, rather projects that run throughout the year.’
‘For the older channies/maddies we are working with an umbrella organisation called Work for Love which just started a playschool called Siyakhula in Masiphumelele township. Here we are helping set it up for now, like painting and planting flowers but soon we plan to run activates and take them on outings too.’
‘ With the younger channies I was thinking more along the lines of taking them on Tikkun Days throughout the year, exposing them to all the sorts of things you can get involved in. These days would try to be linked to Jewish festivals or National holidays to make them more significant and educational. They would usually be working with animal organisations, environmental initiatives and also generally a chance to bond with kids from other walks of life.’
Q: Lastly, the words Tikkun Olam get thrown around, what do they mean to you?

A: ‘It’s basically a statement to get people involved and doing stuff, motivates them to take action.’

Q: Why though?

A: ‘… because we are in the fortunate position to make a difference where we can grow from it and help others grow too. ’

This living, breathing, barefoot ideological being stresses an important point; that tikkun olam should be something pragmatic, something down to earth and tangible, not inspiring words lost in ideological discourse.
Written by: Lauren Kessler(Rosh Chinuch, Netzer Cape Town)