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Interfaith and Intercultural

IMG 3852 cropJFS' Will Berkovitz, Muslim Association of Puget Sound's Aneela Afzali, and Rabbi Ruth A. ZlotnickIt is imperative to our rabbis and our temple's community that we stand up with our neighboring communities of faith against all forms of discrimination. We support freedom and respect for all people, no matter if we share the same history or culture. Under our traditions of tikkun olam, Temple Beth Am has held lasting friendships with a variety of temples, mosques, and churches. Our interfatith and intercultural committees and programs are leading the way in bridging the gaps.

Our vision to build meaningful relationships with other faiths and cultures also extends to provide help and assistance when needed. For ways to do this, please refer to this resource list from the Muslim Association of Puget Sound (MAPS).

Interfaith and Intercultural Initiative (I3)

Our congregation has a long history of engagement in interfaith and intercultural activities. To support the many ways in which our rabbis and members engage with people of other faiths, this group fields requests and undergoes committee-oriented work toward opportunities for interfaith collaboration. 


Through education, advocacy, collaboration, communication, outreach, and engagement, the Interfaith Cultural initiative strives to:

  • Foster the establishment of a committed, strong, active network of congregation members,
  • Cultivate and maintain meaningful relationships with other faiths and cultures, and 
  • Be a resource for the understanding of Jewish values and religious practices by other faiths and cultures.

MAPS CeremonyRabbi Jason Levine and Mahmood Khadeer, the President of MAPS

Established in 2015, Temple Beth Am's Interfaith and Intercultural Initiative has already organized a variety of presentations by noted guest speakers, took part in the annual Faith Action Network Summits, represented Temple Beth Am at religious and cultural observances located at other communities of faith, and is planning many more engagement opportunities.

In the process of reaching out to our neighbors, we hold open, vibrant conversations where every participant's ideas and experiences help expand our vision. Are you interested in joining us? For more information on this initiative, please contact Diane Baer.


Upcoming Events:

2018 FAN Interfaith Advocacy Day
Tuesday, February 20, 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM
Olympia, WA
For the sixth year, members from Temple Beth Am will join other members of the statewide FAN Network of Advocating Faith Communities  to speak to elected officials about issues of common concern found in the FAN legislative agenda

Register here. If you are interested in carpooling, please contact Diane Baer.

We also encourage participation at the 2018 Jewish Community Advocacy Day on Wednesday, February 21 in Olympia sponsored by The Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle. This is the third annual Jewish Community Lobby Day and feedback from the Jewish Community Survey helped determine issue priorities for meetings with elected officials. Information about registration, transportation, and the day's schedule.


Mimouna: A Muslim and Jewish Interfaith Celebration
Saturday, April 7, 2018, 7:00 - 9:00 PM
Temple Beth Am
MimounaTemple Beth Am warmly welcomes our Muslim neighbors for an evening of interfaith community building.

Mimouna is a centuries old celebration where Jews and Muslims mark the end of Passover. There will be music, poetry, henna, art projects, and guided tours of Temple Beth Am.

Vegetarian/Halal/Kosher-style snacks and sweets will be served. This event is free, family-friendly, and open to everyone!

 Temple Beth Am at FAN's Interfaith Advocacy Day

Interfaith Advocacy Day

Rabbi Ruth A. Zlotnick and several Temple Beth Am members joined together with leaders and members of local faith-based communities for the Faith Action Network's Interfaith Advocacy Day. While there, the group gathered in support of a pair of bills that would keep agencies from creating and sharing a religious registry with the federal government.

"All of us - people of faith - we create around us when we stand together a sukkat shalom, a shelter of peace," Rabbi Zlotnick said.

Read or listen to the Seattle NPR's article, which features Rabbi Zlotnick and other local faith leaders speaking out against President Donald Trump's immigration order at a press conference in Olympia.

Rabbi Ruth A. Zlotnick in The Seattle Times

Health Care ReformPhoto by Mike Siegel/The Seattle Times

"Rabbi Ruth A. Zlotnick from Temple Beth Am in Seattle joined with local immigrant and refugee leaders to 'announce plans to resist' President (Donald) Trump's agenda to limit refugee entry into the United States. Rabbi Zlotnick shared a prayer adapted from the words of Rabbi Michael Latz about 'speaking up' and noted that Friday was International Holocaust Remembrance Day." - Mike Siegel/The Seattle Times

Read The Seattle Times' article on Seattle-area refugees speaking out against President Trump's executive order banning certain foreign refugees and crackdown on undocumented immigrants.

United, We Stand Together

In response to the hateful rhetoric and divisive policies of the new presidential administration, our clergy have issued a statement emphasizing the importance of standing together to enact change and Temple Beth Am's commitment to social justice along with resources for how to get more involved.

"First, and most importantly, we stand strong as a kehillah kedosha, a sacred community. In every historical moment, no matter how challenging the circumstances, our ancestors upheld enduring Jewish values, celebrated together in joy, comforted each other in sorrow, studied with vigor, prayed with fervor. We at Temple Beth Am will likewise be a haven from the events of the world around us and continue to engage in Jewish acts that are life affirming and powerful."

To read the entire statement, click here.

Refugee Resettlement Task Force (RRTF)

MiMi Globe Goods at Gates Giving Marketplace 4MiMi Globe Goods at the Gates Giving Marketplace

Maimonides taught that the greatest level of tzedakah is giving, so that a person can become self-sustaining. The Refugee Resettlement Task Force (RRTF) brings together members of Temple Beth Am who want to support international refugees as they work to rebuild their lives in the Seattle area.

The greater Seattle area is the new home for refugees from the world over. Many more refugees will continue to arrive. These men, women, and children have fled a variety of horrors and hardships - from drought and other natural disasters to war, discrimination, and oppression. They urgently need housing, household goods, jobs, education, and other basic necessities as they begin the next chapter of their lives in our community.

MiMi Globe Goods at Gates Giving MarketplaceLibby Cohen volunteering at MiMi Globe Goods at the Gates Giving Marketplace

The RRTF supports international refugees in the Seattle area and collaborates with other organizations that support them. Our efforts are based on four pillars:

  • educating the community about refugees’ situation and needs
  • advocating
  • building community by bringing together Temple Beth Am members who are interested in supporting refugees; by welcoming refugees to Temple Beth Am and the larger Seattle community; and by forming connections between Temple Beth Am members, the refugee community, and other supporting organizations
  • collecting and distributing resources, working with organizations such as Jewish Family Service (JFS) and/or the International Refugee Committee (IRC) to identify what resources are needed, who needs them, and where and when to provide them. 

We encourage assistance, ideas, and participation from anyone and everyone with a desire to welcome and support refugees and contribute to their well-being and independence. The Jewish people have been refugees many times during our history. We welcome the opportunity to improve the lives of international refugees in our community.

Contact Cecily Kaplan at cksings@msn.com to learn how to participate.