Tikkun Olam Monthly Report

September 2022

Our fellow congregants are engaged in tikkun olam (repairing the world) on many levels and in many ways. Join us in being inspired and consider joining in! See Tikkun Olam Opportunities for details and contact information for specific initiatives, or email tikkunolambethel@gmail.com if we’ve missed anything or if you don’t see contact info. Thanks to all for your important and holy work!


High Holiday Food Drive

The process began for organizing the High Holiday Food Drive. Money donations expected to be given to:                  

    • A Place to Turn, Natick
    • Sudbury Food Pantry
    • Voices Against Violence (There is a possibility for additional food donations for Voices Against Violence

Contact: Allison Alter (she/her)

Antiracism Working Group

  • Ann B. and Lisa B. organized the Antiracism Learning Group’s discussion of the recently published book, Blacks and Jews in America: An Invitation to Dialogue by Terrence L. Johnson and Jacques Berlinerblau.
  • Michelle L organized a Beth El Summer Community Book Read on Ibram X. Kendi’s new book How to Raise an Antiracist.
  • Lisa G. is organizing a five-part antiracism workshop at Beth El in the fall: “Our Liberation is Bound Together: Combatting Racism, Antisemitism and White Supremacy.” This workshop is offered by Kavod Boston on Wednesday evenings: October 19 and 26, and November 2, 9, and 16.
  • Ann attended the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism-MA’s Action Meeting on August 11 to learn about RAC’s initiatives in MA, including voting rights work. 
  • Matia, Martin, Jane, Ann, Wendy and Karen participated in an August 13th METCO-sponsored tour of Nubian Square, Roxbury, led by two current METCO students.
  • Following the Board of Directors’ endorsement of an antiracism resolution, Judy and Karen continue to work with board members, staff and clergy toward operationalizing the goal of becoming an antiracist congregation. As part of this initiative, they are working with Beth El families of young children and the Director of Youth and Family Education to expand the Beth El library offerings to include broader racial representation.
  • Judy and Karen are in continued contact with the Sudbury Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee about the representation of Indigenous Peoples in public markers in Sudbury.
  • Hadley ordered a number of antiracist children’s books for the Beth El library. This initiative will continue in the fall..

Contacts: Judy Goldberg and Karen Blumenfeld (antiracism@BethElSudbury.org

Green Team

If you are interested in taking part in Green Team initiatives, please contact John Harper to connect with a Green Team member.  Join our list-serv by emailing greenteam-subscribe@members.bethelsudbury.org.

Inclusion Committee

  1. Updates on future plans, speakers, programs
  • November 13, 2022: We are currently working with NAMI to bring speakers with lived experience to speak about their lives, what it is like living with a mental illness and what has helped them. This series is part of NAMI’s In our Own Voice series.  We will also learn about the resources that NAMI provides the community, such as support groups for people struggling with mental illness, as well as support groups for family members and caretakers.  NAMI will also have a very comprehensive community resource guide.
  • Starting December 2022: Through a generous Ruderman grant, we will also be holding Mental Health through the Arts which includes 3 workshops which focus on stress management through the arts. December 4, Sara Roizen, MA, Art Therapist, will be conducting a program for approximately 25 adults to emphasize self-awareness and self-healing using art modalities. She is affiliated with CJP and has extensive experience working with individuals in Jewish organizations. An announcement will go out in early November to register participants. The other two programs are presently in the early planning stages and dates are being secured for Winter and Spring. 
  • February 2023: The Inclusion Committee has secured speaker Dr. Susan Noonan for February 16, which is also Jewish Disability Acceptance and Inclusion Month. Dr. Susan Noonan MD, MPH is a physician, mental health and wellness coach, consultant, group facilitator and Certified Peer Specialist. She is the author of five books on managing mental health and mood disorders and a print and video blog. Her most recent books, published by Johns Hopkins University Press, include: Take Control of Your Depression: Strategies to help you feel better now (2018); Helping Others with Depression: Words to Say, Things to Do (2020) and Reconnecting after Isolation: Coping with Anxiety, Depression, Grief, PTSD and More (in press, 2022). 
  1. Communication and support within Beth El and outreach outside the congregation:
  • We have been reaching out internally to other temple members to enhance communication, share and advise so that our ideals and recommendations might be better integrated. 
  • We have supported the ideal of maintaining digital access to as many temple programs as possible so that all members will have access. Several of our committee members have already stepped up to organize the group of volunteers as well as attend training sessions. 
  • Finally, we are looking into becoming more involved with Keshet, a LGBTQ group.  This group has gotten a number of contributions from Beth El’s Tzedakah Hevra in the past. Stay tuned for more details.

J-LOFT

J-LOFT has booked a service trip to New Orleans that will take place over spring break in 2023! This will be a week-long service trip, open to teens in grades 8 and 9 from Beth El and other temples who are part of J-LOFT. Our partners in NOLA will be Youth Rebuilding New Orleans, and we intend on putting together a group of about 20 volunteers and chaperones.

Metrowest Free Medical Program

Updates on this program can be found in their monthly newsletter posted on their website: metrowestfreemedicalprogram.org.

Sanctuary Committee

  • The Sanctuary Committee continues to investigate ways that we might become involved in supporting one or more families of Ukrainian refugees. HIAS has a national program to do this, and we have been in contact with them.  This would almost certainly be a joint project involving other groups — most likely, other religious organizations.
  • The so-called “driver bill”, recently passed into law after being supported by many groups including us, allows undocumented immigrants to apply for and receive drivers’ licenses.  The point of this bill is to allow these people to drive safely to work without fear of getting stopped by the police.  And it would ensure that they can pass the driver’s test, making it much less likely that they would be involved in accidents. Our “moderate” Governor Baker initially vetoed this bill, claiming that it would be used to allow such people to fraudulently register to vote. We are not aware of any case in which this has actually happened anywhere; and the veto was overridden in our state legislature.Now the state Republican party is attempting to repeal this law by a ballot initiative this November. They refer to undocumented immigrants as “illegal” (which they are not), say that this would cause accidents and fatalities (which is the exactly the opposite of what will happen), and again claim that this will be used for voter fraud.This is yet another crude appeal to racism and ignorance. We will organize along with others to defeat this ballot initiative in November.
  • We have also been centrally involved in re-establishing the weekly Friday stand-outs in Sudbury Center.  Initially focusing on abortion rights, they are now starting to address issues more broadly. We welcome everyone to join us. Currently (unless we are rained out, as has happened recently), we stand there from 5 – 6 PM each Friday. We’re very popular with passing motorists, and we believe this is an important way in which we can help change the political climate — what is “acceptable” to talk about — and in doing so, give people confidence and hope.         
  • We have also been centrally involved in re-establishing the weekly Friday stand-outs in Sudbury Center.  Initially focusing on abortion rights, they are now starting to address issues more broadly. We welcome everyone to join us. Currently (unless we are rained out, as has happened recently), we stand there from 5 – 6 PM each Friday. We’re very popular with passing motorists, and we believe this is an important way in which we can help change the political climate — what is “acceptable” to talk about — and in doing so, give people confidence and hope.
  • The Sanctuary Committee has had TWO successful collections this summer: one for clothing and household goods that Jewish Family Services of Metrowest distributed to new arrivals from Ukraine, AND one for medical supplies that are currently being shipped to Ukraine. Keep an ear/eye open for FUTURE drives. If you want to participate in future drives, please contact Ann Kramer.

Contact: Carl Offner

 

COVID-19 Support Services from CJP

If COVID-19 has affected someone you know financially, the CJP WarmLine (800-CJP-9500) may be able to assist. By making one phone call or filling out a simple online form, trained Warmline counselors can begin to help navigate available services across the Jewish community. JewishBoston.com also has information about community resources during the COVID-19 crisis. Anyone feeling overwhelmed with sadness, anxiety or stress, or who wants to harm themselves or others can access the mental health, emotional support and suicide prevention program Call2Talk by dialing 211, calling 508-532-2255 or texting C2T to 741741.

Covid-19 volunteer opportunities

Our community rises to the current Covid-19 challenge! The JCRC, Jewish Family & Children’s Service, and others offer many volunteer opportunities. If you’re able to help, please take a look at their websites.


Thanks to everyone for your wonderful work! If I’ve missed anyone’s Tikkun Olam efforts at Beth El, please let me know. We’d like to share the news with the community! If something here interests you, and you don’t see contact information, let me know and I’m happy to connect you.

L’shalom,

Allison Alter
VP, Tikkun Olam
tikkunolambethel@gmail.com