Who is Tikkun Toronto?
Tikkun Toronto is a community inspired by a diversity of spiritual and social justice traditions and committed to Tikkun Olam, a Jewish belief in healing and transforming the world and ourselves. We work through the arts, politics and inclusive spirituality in a manner that is caring, creative, collaborative and fun.
What are “The Israel Stories”?
They are stories by nine members of Tikkun about the complexities and changes in our individual relationships to Israel. These stories are not written in stone; rather they are the tracks made in our continuing personal evolution. They are, we believe, ultimately spiritual stories: they show the patterns that each of us sees our lives making in relationship to something larger than ourselves. For some, that is a set of moral or ethical values, for others a religion, for others the Great Mystery.
Why did you write and record these stories?
Over a year ago, Tikkun Toronto appeared on “The Big Picture with Avi Lewis”, a CBC television program exploring people’s reactions to a film about Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons. It was a hugely frustrating and futile experience for us, as true believers on both sides of the issue shouted and interrupted each other, trying to prove that their pain was worse than the others’. No one was interested in hearing anyone else; both sides focussed on scoring points by shouting clichéd slogans.
We decided to try to reach out by telling our personal stories. One prospective member of the group, an ex-Israeli soldier, asked us how we were going to make it clear who was right and who was wrong through these stories, a question that made it clear that we weren’t the group he was looking for. The purpose of these stories is to open up dialogue; when we tell them to others in person we invite the listeners to share their own stories with us. We all believe that the first step towards reconciliation is to see and hear the other person’s view. We tell these stories not to give you our answers, but to share our exploration of important questions.
What questions are these stories about?
The stories started from the simple question, “What was my relationship to Israel when I was a child; how and why did that relationship change?” But there are larger questions embedded in that. Robert Frost once wrote, “Home is that place where, when you go there, they have to take you in.” In some of these stories, Israel is a literal home, in others a spiritual home, in some the possibility of a home. But there is always a tension in your home: to stay there you may have to give up some of who you are, but if you leave you may lose your community. There is a tension raised in our lives when the clothes of our ancestors, passed down to us, do not fit who we are. And there is a tension when the truths we learned in childhood no longer seem true. These stories explore how we wrestle with those tensions in our lives, and we hope they inspire you to do so, wherever your path may lie. We share the stories in a spirit of dialogue, and in the hopes of a deep and shared nurturance for us all.