Tzedek/Justice

“Tzedek Tzedek Tirdof / Justice, justice, you shall pursue” (Deuteronomy 16:20)

Since its founding, Temple Beth Am has been firmly committed to tzedek (justice), chesed (acts of loving kindness), and tikkun olam (repairing the world) as a vital part of how we deepen our relationship to Judaism. We hope that in practicing these values, our community gains an actionable awareness of the issues we face today.

Temple Beth Am’s Active Efforts

The Temple Beth Am Board of Directors, in support of the URJ’s & Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism’s (RAC) efforts has passed a series of white papers that elucidate our congregational commitment to the following issues:

Our community supports many issues, but we have active lay-leader efforts in the following series. We encourage you to reach out to these groups to join in their efforts as we all seek to live our values:

Homeless 2 Renter (H2R)

Homeless 2 Renter helps families who have faced houselessness and housing instability with move-in assistance, eviction prevention and many of the other challenges encountered when renting.

Contact: Susan Covey and Fred Diamondstone

Health Care for All

The Health Care for All Committee provides a Jewish voice in advocating for universal and equitable access to quality health care.

Contact: Ronnie Shure

Interfaith and Intercultural Initiative (I3)

I3 works to create opportunities for interfaith collaboration and relationships, be a voice of solidarity for faith communities, and provide educational resources about Judaism to our neighbors.

Contact: Diane Baer

Immigrant Justice Action Team

The Immigrant Justice Action Team participates in discussion, action and advocacy to live the Jewish value of welcoming the stranger and honoring many of our immigrant ancestries. They often partner and champion the work of HIAS and the Jewish Coalition of Immigrant Justice Northwest.

Contact: Susan Schulkin

Teen Feed

Teen Feed cooks and serves hot, nutritious dinners to houseless youth, ages 13-25 in the University District. Specially trained advocates and support coordination staff help access resources and services.

Contact: Maya Menon

Angeline’s Kitchen

Temple Beth Am members make sack lunches for the women of Angeline’s Day Center, where women can store their belongings, shower, clean their clothes, warm up, talk to counselors, get medical treatment, or simply sit and rest.

Contact: Julie Lyss

Lake City Meals

In collaboration with Congregation Beth Shalom, members of Temple Beth Am provide hot meals and to go snacks to 40-70 houseless individuals each month. Hosted at the Lamb of God Lutheran Church (12509 27th Ave. NE, Seattle) in the lower level kitchen/dining room.

Contact: Jo Merrick

Our Historic Involvement

Temple Beth Am has a proud history of social justice advocacy. Our Rabbi Emeritus Norman Hirsh marched in the Freedom Protests of the 1960’s. In 1964, Rabbi Hirsh, and 16 of his colleagues went to St. Augustine at the invitation of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. They were arrested and penned the powerful note, entitled Why We Went. Upon returning to Seattle, Rabbi Hirsh spoke about his motivations and values in the sermon Sacrifice and Freedom.

Senior Rabbis Jonathan and Beth Singer continued to live these values and took public action on numerous issues, including homelessness, refugee resettlement, genocide in Darfur and Sudan, marriage equality, and more.

Our work in the past is prelude for today. We are committed to not rest on pretense, but to be actively engaged in the justice efforts of the present and the future.

Our Community Partners

Temple Beth Am proudly partners with many other organizations and groups to share in the sacred work that is needed throughout our city, country, and world.

Personal Work and Learning

There are a great many issues that burden our community, and much sacred work that is to be done. Even though Temple Beth Am has a limit on how much we can undertake as an organization, the joint work and passion of all of our members can make significant changes in our world. We encourage everyone to find the issue or project that is most meaningful to you and bring justice to all.

We also must be eternal learners, pushing ourselves (often out of our comfort zones), listening to new perspectives, and challenging our preconceived notions. We look forward to robust, heartfelt, and perhaps, at times, contentious dialogue within our community.

Below is a collection of resources on a number of current issues. Please explore them for yourself, and use them to inspire new conversations, learning, and action. Feel free to contact Beth Am staff for more resources.

Anti-Racism

For a full resource list, please click here.

Anti-Semitism

Environmental Justice

LGBTQIA+ Justice and Gender Equity

Gun Violence Prevention

Housing Justice

Immigrant and Refugee Protection

Israel/Palestine

Reproductive Justice

Voting Protection

For Parents and Children