I was going to expand upon the Jewish Holy Books for this article by summarizing the two Talmuds for readers, but something else needs to be discussed before returning to the previous topic. I want to talk more about the Jewish idea of helping fellow man through the idea of Tikkun Adam. Tikkun Adam are Hebrew words that mean a partnership with God to heal humanity. Judaism is a religion that concerns itself with the here and now and what needs to be done to alleviate suffering in the world today. This is why there is a large portion of Jewish people in the helping professions such as nurses, doctors, teachers, social workers, etc. We are charged to care for those around us, not just our co-coreligionists but anyone vulnerable to diseases, persecution and other human maladies.
My readers from the Blanco County News might recall me writing about my great-grandmother who was Native American. Her name was Viva Collins Darland. She was born in the early 1900s and died in the 1950s from melanoma so she was long gone before I had a chance to know her, but her legacy lingers in our family. Our Indian heritage is shrouded in mystery. She told her three sons that, yes, they are Native American but she wouldn't say which tribe or Nation we share our lineage with. She only told them she was born in Winterset, Iowa and that her birth certificate perished in a courthouse fire, so don't bother trying to obtain a copy.
One can only speculate why she took our heritage to her grave. My grandfather (her eldest) thought us to be Dakota Sioux because of the patterns of travel by the tribes close to that time period. Even though I don't know the tribe, I hold on to the precious gift of being partially Indian. Many Americans have Indian heritage, but few reach out to those suffering from the impact of what being Indian means in our society.
I use Indian and Native American interchangeably; they are the Indigenous people to the Western Hemisphere. We don't even have them named correctly. Our society doesn't know what to do with what has been done to the people. Some wish them away while others tell the tribes to get over what has been done to them for that was a long time ago, you see. What general society fails to see is that policies of the federal government still impact Natives to this very day. Tikkun Adam has an answer for this; we address what has been done to Native Americans and work to improve conditions between the people.
November is Native American History Month so in honor of all Native Americans, including my great-grandmother and those of the future generations, I will write about Native peoples and their surprising similarities to Jewish people.
To learn how you can helping tribal youth, check out SOTY - Save Our Tribal Youth: www.myspace.com/saveourtribalyouth