Tikkun Olam (Social Action)
Making a Difference at Temple Israel
Different approaches to social action are represented in this old story about a village located on a riverbank ... one day, as a few people were walking by the riverside, they saw babies floating down the river. Several people jumped into the river and started pulling the babies out to try to save them, but more and more babies kept coming faster and faster. One of the men jumped out of the river and someone screamed to him, "where are you going?" He said, "I am going to see who is putting the babies in the river and try to stop them."
One of the tenets of Reform Judaism is the responsibility to answer the prophetic call for making the world a better place. Here at Temple Israel, we are not only working to "pull the babies out of the river" through acts of hands-on, community service, but we are also working to prevent the proverbial babies from being "put in the river" through a focus on systemic, big-picture advocacy. We try to do this two ways:
(1) Social Action Projects
TI members participate in a variety of hands-on projects to meet the immediate needs of those less fortunate. Examples of these projects include:
Collecting food not only during the High Holy Days, but also year-round, for the WPB Food Pantry (click HERE for more information about this project);
- Collecting Publix gift cards during the High Holy Days to benefit Alpert Jewish Family and Children’s Service;
Participating in the “Mitzvah Menorah” program to benefit needy families through Alpert Jewish Family and Children’s Service at Chanukah;
Our ongoing partnership with St. Ann Place Homeless Outreach Center, which includes clothing, shoe, and toiletry drives, special PB&J-making days, and special meal preparation programs
Our partnership with Church World Service to assist with the resettlement of refugee families (click HERE for more information about this project);
Our ongoing partnership with CROS Ministries Neighborhood Afterschool Snack Program providing a healthy snack for 40 kids every month (this is a special project taken on by Temple Israel’s Board of Trustees);
Making and serving dinner on Christmas Day for those in need at St. George's Church in Riviera Beach (this is a 20+ year tradition for Temple Israel);
Collecting school supplies for local children from Roosevelt Elementary School starting the school year without the required notebooks, pens, pencils & backpacks (Roosevelt is a Title I School in our neighborhood where 96.62% of the students qualified for free or reduced lunch for the 2015-2016 school year );
Providing volunteers, sponsors and walkers for the Komen Foundation's Race for the Cure; and
Bringing regular speakers to the Temple to share new ways we can make a difference in our community.
If any of these projects sound interesting, please contact the Temple office at (561) 833-8421 to be involved.
(2) Social Justice Advocacy:
In addition to participating in letter-writing and call-in campaigns to our state and national representatives, Temple Israel members are organizing themselves to learn about and advocate on a variety of issues facing West Palm Beach, our country, and the world. Through this process, the groups being created will provide education opportunities to the greater community and teach advocacy skills to all who are interested. Please contact Rabbi Olshein if you are interested in TI's Social Justice Advocacy program.
As Jews, we know that we have an obligation to make the world a better place ... please let us know if you would like to be involved in this very important part of work here at Temple Israel!