Gantseh Megillah Book Review
June 2002 Volume 3 Issue 6
and Global Survival - New Revised Edition
Lantern 272 pages, $20
By Richard H. Schwartz, Ph.D.
Do you remember those wonderful 1950's science fiction
movies? There was always a terrifying monster threatening
humanity! Great minds would come up with a new high
tech gizmo they claimed would be able to destroy the
awesome threat! Somehow, in the final reel, it was
always the courage and heroism of an ordinary individual
that would beat back the evil force and save the world.
Let's flash forward to the present day where we are
faced with many, seemingly insurmountable problems.
Once again, we look to high tech to cure what ails
us. We expect great minds to present us with solutions
for global warming, overpopulation, world hunger and
myriad other evils. Dr. Schwartz shows us in his book,
Judaism and Global Survival, that great minds
already delivered a solution and the hero for survival
is us. By employing the basic tenets of Judaism, we
can help correct much of what is threatening our planet
and its inhabitants.
Tikun Olum - is the Jewish concept of restoring and
redeeming the earth. Each of us, as Jews has the responsibility
to make our world a better place. Dr. Schwartz emphasizes
the idea of individual responsibility. When we see
a wrong, we must protest it and take action to correct
it. It is up to us as individuals to sound the alarm
and motivate society to help itself.
Many of us expend enormous amounts of energy in areas
over which we have little control. For example, have
you ever listened to a show biz or sports fan rattle
off every single statistic imaginable about their
favourite celebrity or team? These kinds of issues
have their place, but let's face it, they are third
party concerns at best. Nothing is going to change
and no one is going to benefit from the energy we
spend on those discussions. By using just a fraction
of that time and energy in the goal of changing things
about ourselves, we can have tremendous influence
on the overall condition of the world.
To me, the essence of Dr. Schwartz's message is KISS-
Keep It Simple Stupid. Let's not always look for the
most complicated and high tech solutions to our problems
when so often good old common sense will do the job.
Science and technology present us with tools to identify
and expedite possible solutions, but it is up to us
to determine what needs to be done. We must then motivate
ourselves and those around us to take the necessary
This book helped me to understand how looking towards
Jewish teaching and ancient wisdom can bring about
a greater sense of social justice and compassion.
I wholeheartedly recommend Judaism and Global Survival,
as a source of spiritual and social motivation and
as an instruction manual as to how we, as Jews, can
Keep It Simple and accomplish enduring good.
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