For Nonprofits

Tikkun Olam is a Verb

What isTikkun Olam? Rachel Naomi Remen, a physician and writer, explained on NPR’s show “On Being” what the Kabbalists told: In the beginning…this world…emerged from the heart of the holy darkness as a great ray of light. And then…there was an accident…the wholeness of the world broke…We [humans] are born with the capacity to find the hidden light in all events and all people…to restore the innate wholeness of the world…This task is called ‘tikkun olam’ in Hebrew, ‘restoring the world’…”

In honor of my parents who worked so hard to repair the world, when they died I made this sculpture for Congregation Beth HaTephila, a reform synagogue in Asheville NC where my mother was a member. She and the synagogue shared a deeply held mission of Tikkun Olam, and I wanted to honor that passion for justice, compassion, courage, equity, and healing. My sister and I together donated the sculpture.

The sculpture has a job: to inspire this congregation with a portrayal of its own mission statement, in a form that’s 3-dimensional and has mass, has weight.

From the top is brokenness, and from the bottom comes healing. In the middle is the community reaching out to do the repair—putting out fire, planting gardens, lighting shabbat candles, clasping hands in racial healing, supporting and softening anger, comforting the hurt and lonely, putting a broken piece back in place.


We are proud to display this beautiful wood sculpture by Elana Kann. Tikkun Olam is a central pillar of our congregation’s mission. This piece of art is a wonderful inspiration to help people see what Tikkun Olam looks like–a special, special treasure to remind all of us of the shared healing work that we do.
– Rabbi Batsheva Meiri

A truly magnificent wood sculpture, so expressive of human care and love passing from hand to hand, person to person, exquisite poetry in form. You have poured your heart and soul into this masterpiece. I am deeply moved and impressed by what you’ve done. I hope that it reaches more people even beyond those who attend the synagogue in Asheville. You have made the Soul itself visible.
– Jeff Wolverton