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Finalist—National Jewish Book Award,
Modern Jewish Thought!

The Way Into Tikkun Olam (Repairing the World)


Elliot N. Dorff, PhD

6 x 9, 304 pp, Quality Paperback, 978-1-58023-328-6

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Finalist—National Jewish Book Award,
Modern Jewish Thought!


An accessible introduction to the Jewish concept of our responsibility
to care for others and repair the world.
For everyone who wants to understand the meaning and significance of tikkun olam (repairing the world) in Jewish spiritual life, this book shows the way into an essential aspect of Judaism and allows you to interact directly with the sacred texts of the Jewish tradition.
Guided by Dr. Elliot N. Dorff, Rector and Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the University of Judaism, this comprehensive introduction explores the roots of the beliefs and laws that are the basis of the Jewish commitment to improve the world. It looks at the various motivations that the sacred texts provide for caring for others, the ways the Jewish tradition seeks to foster such concerns in our social and family relationships, and the kind of society that Jews should strive to create as partners with God.
  • What tikkun olam is. Ancient idea? New concept? The underlying theory has developed over time and branched into related terms and concepts that Judaism has used over thousands of years to describe the duties we now identify as acts of tikkun olam.
  • Why we engage in acts of tikkun olam. Reasons include, but go far beyond, a general humanitarian feeling that we might have or the hope that if we help others, others will be there to help us.
  • How we repair the world. The concrete expressions of tikkun olam in our families, our communities, the wider Jewish community, and the world at large help shape one of the most important aspects of the Jewish tradition.
By illuminating Judaism’s understanding of the components of an ideal world, and the importance of justice, compassion, education, piety, social and familial harmony and enrichment, and physical flourishing for both the individual and society, we see how this ancient quest for a world with all these elements helps us define Jewish identity and mission today.
“A lucid, clear and inspirational text.... Acknowledges that the acts of tikkun olam that we perform have to be underpinned by a spiritual dimension as well.”
Union of Liberal & Progressive Synagogues Newsletter
“Conveys the depth, scope and reach of Jewish teachings on tikkun olam…. Brilliantly examines the deep theological roots of the Jewish social vision, the enormous range of human life encompassed by these teachings, and the expansive vision of the ideal world we are called to co-create. An essential for every Jewish bookshelf.”
Rabbi Amy Eilberg, co-director of The Morei Derekh Training Program,
Yedidya Center for Jewish Spiritual Direction
“Provides a rich store of practical wisdom based on solid learning and speaks to our hearts. A gift to all who want to ‘do what is right and good in the sight of the Lord.’”
Richard J. Mouw, president and professor of Christian philosophy,
Fuller Theological Seminary
“Provides a clear and straightforward path that combines a deep knowledge of Jewish sources with wisdom and compassion to direct our conduct in the world. A treasure for all people concerned.”
Rabbi David Ellenson, president, Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion
“Compellingly addresses the social challenges of our time.”
Rabbi David A. Teutsch, director of The Ethics Center at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College; author of Spiritual Community: The Power to Restore Hope, Commitment and Joy
“Erudite, compassionate and moving … demonstrates the contemporary relevance of Jewish tradition and shows how that doctrine undergirds the moral imperative of social action.”
Nancy Dubler, director of the Division of Bioethics, Montefiore Medical Center
“Brilliant, lucid, and eminently accessible … combines a profound command of Jewish text with an acute grasp of the nature of human beings and the way of the world. A multitude of mitzvahs and many lives changed for the better will most certainly result.”
Danny Siegel, author, poet, and lecturer
“With great clarity, shows us how the hand, the heart, and the head can address the healing of the world: what we need to do, how to go about it in a Jewish framework, and why Jews have thought that responding to God required the work of healing.”
Rabbi Arthur Waskow, director of The Shalom Center (; author of Godwrestling—Round 2, among many other books
“Straightforward, inspiring…. Jews and non-Jews alike will find Dorff’s exhortations challenging and provocative.”
Publishers Weekly starred review
The Way Into...
The Way Into… Series offers an accessible and highly usable “guided tour” of the Jewish faith, people, history and beliefs—in total, an introduction to Judaism that will enable you to understand and interact with the sacred texts of the Jewish tradition.
Each volume is written by a leading contemporary scholar and teacher, and explores one key aspect of Judaism.
The Way Into… Series enables all readers to achieve a real sense of Jewish cultural literacy through guided study.


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