by Jeremy Appel
(AJNews) – What is the relationship between healing the world and healing ourselves?
Tikkun Olam – repairing the world – is one of the core values of Judaism. The work needed to heal the world must include at its foundation, the work to heal ourselves, says Calgary Psychiatrist and Mindfulness Teacher, Dr. Allan Donsky.
This statement is the starting point for a very special zoom webinar presentation by Dr. Donsky, on Sunday June 6, 2021 as part of the Calgary B’nai Brith Speaker Series. The theme of the presentation is “Tikkun Olam: Healing yourself as essential for healing the world.”
The topic is particularly relevant in these times of turmoil, including the necessity of navigating the war in Israel, the global pandemic, the climate crisis, and fears for our economic future. Our own mental, spiritual and physical health is paramount in the work of Tikkun Olam.
“As a therapist, a lot of the work I do is to guide people to healing themselves,” Donsky, who’s been a therapist for 26 years, told AJNews.
“People often feel fractured or disconnected from themselves, or they don’t feel integrated in some way, and this can present in various ways. It can present as depression or anxiety. Trauma can do this to people. It can present in the form of secondary problems, like addictions and eating disorders.”
The words ‘heal,’ ‘healthy’ and ‘wholeness’ come from the same root word, he added, underscoring how the concepts are connected.
“When we heal ourselves, we will automatically have healthier, more nourishing connections to the world out there, and those connections can be with partners, our families, our kids, our communities and the world at large,” says Donsky.
“Healing yourself is not selfish, or self-indulgent, or arrogant. It’s essential.”
Within each individual is an “inner garden waiting to blossom” that needs to be taken care of by uprooting its weeds, rocks and clay, so it can flourish, he says.
“Tikkun Olam is about development. It’s not about chasing away evils. It’s not about trying to fix every problem. It’s about healing (and) integration, both inwardly and outwardly.”
He says there’s a major spiritual component to emotional and mental health, which is not necessarily religious, although it can be.
His presentation will incorporate kabbalistic concepts of healing, Donsky says, but he has also studied various other faiths to inform his spiritual practice.
“I have faith in the human capacity to transcend our baser behaviour and activities. We can transcend the immediate and become creatures of the material plane,” he said. “There’s no mental health without spiritual health.”
Lodge member Irena Karshenbaum, who’s co-chairing the event with Joel Zimmerman, says that she finds Dr. Donsky’s message to be very inspiring. The event was originally supposed to occur in-person last year, but they had to postpone it due to COVID. They decided it would make the most sense to do it online this year.
Karshenbaum says she hopes this event will get more people involved with the Calgary lodge.
“Dr. Donsky is a very talented therapist and I think he has a wonderful message and a lot to offer our community,” she said. “We have so many talented people in our community, and we need to be promoting our own talent, and giving voice to the special things they’re doing.”
B’nai Brith Calgary Chapter 816 President Darren Bondar is encouraging the whole community to participate.
“Dr. Allan Donsky is a compelling speaker with insightful information about Tikkun Olam and how it relates to our health as individuals and as a community,” stated Bondar.
“With the postponement of our annual dinner, which is our key fundraiser and with the needs of the organizations that we support as great as ever during this Covid-19 pandemic, we greatly appreciate your generosity and support.”
The event is happening Sunday, June 6 at 10 a.m. To register click https://bnaibrithcalgary.org/ or https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_QYXAKwoZSK6DHKZ1cfdKvg.
Admission is by donation which can be made before or after you register at bnaibrithcalgary.org/donation. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.
Jeremy Appel is a Local Journalism Initiative Reporter.