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Poster Commentary
"Serving others is one of the pillars upon which Judaism rests."Lynn Schusterman
Poster design:Mordechai Rosenstein


Interview and Commentary by Sandee Brawarsky

Ethics of the Fathers opens with the dictum, “The world stands upon three things: on the Torah, on worship, and upon acts of kindness.” Lynn Schusterman echoes this teaching in her emphasis on the third pillar, service to others. Every act of kindness, whether a small gesture or a global effort, makes a difference and can potentially transform the world.

Service to others is a responsibility and a privilege, and Schusterman takes both very seriously. She grew up in a family where giving back to society was a core practice. They reached out to individuals by focusing on what was needed, and gave generously with no strings attached. In raising her own family, Schusterman and her late husband, Charles Schusterman, sought to “live by the idea that each of us is worth only what we are willing to give to others.”

Not only is the idea of service ingrained in her family experience, but Schusterman finds deep roots for this calling in the Jewish values of tzedek (justice), chesed (loving kindness) and tikkun olam (literally, repairing the world). The mystical concept of tikkun olam sees God and humankind as partners in fixing what is broken and perfecting the world. Thus, acts of service are holy acts in which one feels closest to God.

For Schusterman, the idea of service is also inherently inclusive. “I strongly believe in a Jewish future that is diverse, welcoming, and accepting of all who seek to participate in Jewish life.” She believes that everyone has the power to make a difference in the lives of others. 


Sandee Brawarsky, an award-winning writer and editor, is the culture editor of  The Jewish Week. She also curates the “Well-Versed” blog, moderates a summer literary series, and teaches memoir writing to a group of seniors. Brawarsky’s essays and articles have appeared in The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The Lancet, Hadassah Magazine, and The Jerusalem Post. She is the author of several books, including a recent book about Central Park. Brawarsky is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and a member of the Author’s Guild. 

Conversation Guide

What do you THINK?

1. Is there someone in particular who has been an inspiration to you in the area of serving others? What did you do as a result of their inspiration?

2. What acts of service can everyone participate in, regardless of income, location, or age?

3. Upon which “pillars” does your Judaism rest? Do you agree with Lynn Schusterman that “serving others” is one of the pillars?


What do you SEE?

1. Describe the different elements you see in this poster and how they suggest meaning for the quote.

2. What feelings or moods do the strong colors create for you?

3. The Hebrew calligraphy that wraps around the pillar spells “chesed” (loving kindness). What significance can you find in this? Are there other “wrappings” within Judaism that may have inspired the artist?


Copyright© 2015 Harold Grinspoon Foundation

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Proudly Jewish©2015, Mordechai Rosenstein, Quote: Lynn Schusterman, Harold Grinspoon Foundation, West Springfield, MA