Repairing the World…One Mitzvah at a Time

Posted on November 7, 2017

It has been a busy fall for Social Action at Temple Beth-El. We worked closely with Rabbi Gluck preparing for the Many Faiths, One Home interfaith event on October 29, which is focused on caring for our world. One of the initiatives stemming from that event is a decision to become a founding member of a new GreenFaith Circle in our area, composed of at least five congregations from at least three different faith traditions. This Circle will act as a support group for, and amplifier of, our own environmental initiatives, and we will also plan actions jointly with the other member congregations, to further enhance the visi-bility and focus on sustainability in our broader community. If you would like to take part in the GreenFaith Circle, please contact David Cohen at david@decarchitect.com

A B’rit Olam Congregation

On September 18, the temple’s board of trustees also endorsed becoming a B’rit Olam Congregation under the URJ’s Urgency of Now campaign and in partnership with the Religious Action Center (RAC), the social justice arm of the Reform movement. Our temple board has unanimously agreed to:

  • Act in solidarity with vulnerable communities;
  • Build relationships across lines of difference in our local community;
  • Act at the local, state, and/or federal levels to address the root causes of injustice through advocacy and/or congregational or broad-based community organizing; and
  • Foster a culture of sacred and civil dialogue in our congregation where all opinions are heard

The Religious Action Center commits to provide Brit Olam congregations with resources, training, and specific campaigns to address issues facing our most vulnerable populations and social justice concerns.

There are three primary campaigns currently being promoted by the Religious Action Center, including criminal justice reform, gay and transgender rights, and immigrant justice (this last initiative is being co-chaired by our own Liz Cohen). Please join us in framing how Temple Beth-El will participate in this sacred work. Contact Liz Cohen at liz@decarchitect.com to learn more about how you can become involved in any of these three interest areas.

URJ Biennial Resolutions

Our next event will be an open meeting on Monday, November 13 at 7:00 p.m., to discuss and have input on the resolutions being brought to this year’s Biennial Convention of the URJ, occurring in early December.

There are six resolutions under consideration at this time, and we will present the language of each at the meeting. We welcome all congregants to attend and to contribute their perspectives on the resolutions, in order to inform and guide our voting as congregational delegates to the Biennial. The resolutions are on the following topics:

  • Racial justice;
  • School discipline and academic climate;
  • Redistricting of voting communities;
  • Addressing the impacts of climate change;
  • Responding to the global refugee crisis; and
  • Student on student sexual violence in schools.

We will also discuss our goals for implementing our B’rit Olam commitment.

The success of these initiatives depends on broad involvement from the congregation. We hope to see you on October 31!

Originally published in the November-December 2017 issue of the Shofar. For more issues of the Shofar, visit the Shofar archives.