“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.
Our community supports many issues, but we have active lay-leader efforts in the following areas. 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 helps families who have faced homelessness and housing instability with move-in assistance, eviction prevention and many of the other challenges encountered when renting.
The Health Care for All Committee provides a Jewish voice in advocating for universal and equitable access to quality health care.
Contact: Ronnie Shure
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
The Immigrant Justice Action Team offers opportunities for learning, action and advocacy to foster the Jewish value of welcoming the stranger.
Contact: Susan Schulkin
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. To sign-up to donate and drop-off food and beverages for Teen Feed’s December 2nd meal click here. If you can’t help out this month, email Maya to be added to the Teen Feed volunteer list. Contact: Maya Menon
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
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
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:
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 Singer and Ruth A. Zlotnick continued to live these values by taking public action on numerous issues, including homelessness, refugee resettlement, 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.
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.
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.
For a full resource list, please click here.
LGBTQIA+ Justice and Gender Equity
Gun Violence Prevention
Immigrant and Refugee Protection
For Parents and Children
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