We have reached a turning point in American Jewish history. Now that large segments of our community are living successful, integrated lives, we have an opportunity to align ourselves behind service to enrich Jewish life and to effect prophetic change in the world. In Pirke Avot (Ethics of the Fathers), Rabbi Tarfon admonishes us, "You are not obliged to finish the task, neither are you free to desist from it." The usual interpretation is that our task is bigger than any of us in terms of the quantity of work that must be done. Rabbi Tarfon's dictum, however, also refers to the complexity of the task. We come to understand the critical interdependence of individuals, each bringing their own skills and varied perspectives to accomplish our people's role in the covenant.
Gaines, Maggi G. and Paasche-Orlow, Sara, "United We Serve: A Call To Universal Jewish Service" (2001). Special Topics, General. 104.