Tikkun Olam Monthly Report

January 2023

Our fellow members are engaged in Tikkun Olam on many levels and in many ways. Join us in being inspired, and consider joining in! Email tikkunolambethel@gmail.com for more information.

Antiracism Working Group

Please see the Antiracism Working Group’s 2022 Year in Review. At our January meeting. we:

  • Read and discussed “Liabilities of White Privilege: How White Privilege Hurts White People” by Michelle Chalmers.
  • Discussed a January 16th interfaith, cross-racial bible study in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., led by Rabbi Josh Breindel and Pastor Sheila Sholes-Ross (senior pastor, First Baptist Church of Pittsfield).
  • Discussed a survey, to be sent to members of the congregation after MLK Day, to help the Beth El Antiracism Working Group understand what matters to congregants so we can plan programs in the coming year that are in line with the community’s interests. 
  • Discussed progress on creating a list of MetroWest Black-owned businesses.
  • Discussed a proposal by Elaine to bring a discussion of the film “Primary Source Legacy of Courage, Black Changemakers” to religious school families on a Sunday in the spring.

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

Blood Drive

We have scheduled the next blood drive on March 28. We need volunteers to staff the registration desk and the canteen, as well as sign-ups for blood donations. Sign up below.

Shirley Hui also joined the MetroWest Women’s Fund as an ambassador for Natick. This organization is founded by Rebecca Parkhill and former Beth El member Rachel Sagan. Their focus this year will be on mental health. More at metrowestwomensfund.com.

Green Team

If you’re interested in taking part in Green Team initiatives, please contact John at jpharper47@gmail.com. Join their listserv by emailing greenteam-subscribe@members.bethelsudbury.org.

Inclusion Committee

Programs now being developed:

  • February 12 — Susan Noonan (see JDAIM below; flyers and publicity in process).
  • March 12 from 1–4 PM — Healing ARTS series through a Ruderman grant. We confirmed with Linda Klein, who will be presenting “Exploring the Essence of Oneself through Collage: A Healing Arts workshop,” which will include creating collage, journaling, meditation, couple discussion and larger group discussion and self-reflection. 
  • May 7 at 2 PM — TBD. Proposed: Healing through movement and meditation

JDAIM (Jewish Disabilities Awareness and Inclusion Month) — On February 12, keynote speaker Susan Noonan will present “Living with Mental Illness: Words to Say, Things to Do.” During the rest of the month, there will be reflections by congregants, and teachings by the rabbi at Friday and Saturday services.

Gender-neutral bathrooms Susan has met with a representative (Rabbi Micah) from Keshet, and will be keeping us updated on the results of this effort. Carrie was instrumental in getting a grant to help defray costs of Rabbi Micah’s public speaking engagement (date TBA).

Zoom hosting — Cat continues to be coordinator/committee chair with Marty. They continue efforts to get hosts to sign up for services as well as events. 

Contact: Maxine Haron or Carrie Fuchs

J-LOFT

Thank you to all our volunteers who participated in the 2023 MetroWest MLK Day of Service! Thanks to each and every one of you, whether you participated in person or with a kit, we were able to meet the goals of making 150 banana breads, 95 lasagnas, 80 soup jars, nearly 100 Stars of Hope and more than a dozen desks! Your valuable time and efforts have provided support for the following organizations:

  • Harmony Grove Elementary School
  • SMOC (South Middlesex Opportunity Council)
  • Pearl Street Homeless Shelter
  • Clinton House Shelter
  • Pathways Shelter
  • Gordon Street Shelter
  • Sudbury Community Food Pantry
  • New Hope Inc.
  • Father Bill’s & MainSpring

Click here to see photos

Metrowest Free Medical Program

As many of you know, the Metrowest Free Medical Program has had a long, close relationship with Beth El dating back to the program’s founding in 2004. The program saw patients in the sanctuary most Tuesday evenings until we had to take a hiatus due to Covid in 2021. Many of you have volunteered with us in the past and some are still volunteering with us in our new location at 246 Maple St. in Marlborough. We continue to see uninsured and underinsured patients who would not have access to health care without our program. 

These are our current services for which we need volunteers:

  • Adult Medicine Clinic — Most Tuesday evenings from 5:30-8:30 PM. 
  • Women’s Health Clinic — Most Thursday evenings from 5:30-8:30 PM. 
  • Vision Clinic — Monday evenings 5:30-8:30 PM at the offices of Lexington Eye Associates, 534 Boston Post Rd., Sudbury.  

The following volunteers are needed:

Licensed clinicians

  • Physicians
  • Nurses and nurse practitioners
  • Physician assistants
  • Social workers 

Other volunteers for the clinics

  • Medical assistants and scribes
  • Insurance navigators to help patients apply for health insurance
  • Interpreters, especially for Portuguese
  • Administrative support volunteers

Other volunteer opportunities

In addition to helping in the clinics, there are many other ways you can support the program. For example:

  • Writing newsletters and press releases
  • Researching funding opportunities and proposal writing
  • Web site maintenance and development
  • General administrative support

To get more information and to let us know you’re interested, please click here. Updates on this program can be found in the monthly newsletter posted on their website at metrowestfreemedicalprogram.org.

Sanctuary Committee

Our work for the last month or so has been focused on preparing for the HIAS Shabbat weekend (February 3–5). The two events are:

  • Meeting the Ayalas on Saturday after the kiddush lunch. They will be interviewed by Judy Sletzinger about their life in El Salvador, the events that caused them to have to flee the country, and their continued efforts to receive asylum status in our country.
  • HIAS “coffeehouse” on Sunday from 3–5 PM. Stories from congregants about our families’ immigration to this country and what happened when we got here. Singing, music, snacks.

And in all this we’ll be talking and publicizing the work that HIAS is doing (and has done for some generations now) supporting people fleeing danger and oppression around the world. Contact: Carl Offner

Sudbury Community Food Pantry

The Sudbury Community Food Pantry is busy feeding about 300 clients monthly (understanding they can shop as much as weekly), and the free home delivery service orchestrated and managed by Deb Oppenheimer for clients unable to otherwise access the pantry is similarly quite busy. If anyone is interested in volunteering to help pack groceries for those clients getting home deliveries on Wednesdays (once or multiple times per month), please give Deb Oppenheimer a call at 978-443-4972 and all questions will be welcome and answered. 

Tzedek Scholarship Committee

 The Tzedek Scholarship Committee is happy to announce that we have just accepted a new recipient for our scholarship. She is delightful, hard-working young woman from Turkey studying at Framingham State University.


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.

Allison Alter (she/her)
VP, Tikkun Olam