Social Action Committee Meeting
April 1, 2015
Join us for our next meeting. All are welcome.
Sunday, May 3, 9:00am
Make a difference, build community, and have a blast!
At CBI, we are both deeply committed to Tikkun Olam (healing the world) and called to Tzedakah (to do what is right and just). This commitment is one we demonstrate as individuals and as a community by walking the talk and doing mitzvot year round. Every day is Mitzvah Day at Congregation Beth Israel. We are an engaged community both beneath and outside our dome.
So why come together on May 3rd for a Mitzvah Day?
Because this annual event celebrates the social action we each do year round, shines a light on and connects us to our Temple’s long-time service partnerships, and galvanizes our community by doing mitzvot together. And . . . it’s a ton of fun!
Walk the talk with us right now by pulling out your iPhone, your desk calendar, the crumpled post-it you keep in your wallet, or any other calendar you use and MARK DOWN MAY 3RD AS MITZVAH DAY.
- You will work on a project that tangibly helps people.
- You will meet and connect with other members of CBI.
- You will get charged up for the day with delicious pancakes made by our Brotherhood chefs.
- You will get the opportunity to be seen in the ever stylish and recognizable CBI bright blue Mitzvah shirt.
It does not get much better than this. As Jake and Elwood Jews remind us, “We’re on a mission from G-d.” Sign up for one of these cool Mitzvah activities:
- Cook and put together bags of nonperishable food items that clergy and congregants can take to CBI members in times of need.
- Make and serve a pancake breakfast for our neighbors at the NW Towers and Annex, the low-income housing complex across the street.
- Clean up and beautify the Beth Israel Cemetery.
- Make flannel blankets to be donated to CODA, an alcohol, drug, and mental health treatment agency.
- Clean books and repair bindings at the Children’s Book Bank.
- Sort and stock donated food items at the Sunshine Pantry.
- Donate blood on site via the American Red Cross Blood Mobile.
- Participate in clean up projects around our campus.
- And more . . .
Check back soon for registration and descriptions of activities.
Tutors Needed at NW Tower on Wednesdays - 4:00-6:00
SAVE THE DATE!
- Friday, May 1 – Social Action Shabbat
- Sunday, May 3 – Mitzvah Day
- Wednesday, June 3 – Social Action Committee Meeting @ 7 pm
- Gay Pride Parade – DTBD
The SAC is an open committee that encourages congregation members to participate in planning, implementing, and staffing many programs that work towards tikkun olam in our world. Below are some of the activities we have right now that are ongoing and can use more volunteers.
Activities will include:
Advocating with Multnomah County and the City of Portland on behalf of our NW Towers neighbors. In the past year, the buildings and our neighborhood have seen a significant increase in crime. As a result, many of the older residents are now afraid to leave their apartments at night. We will be examining the causes of these increasing problems.
Lobbying our regional and state legislators on topics of great interest. A number of reasonable gun violence prevention initiatives are expected to be considered by the state legislature. Work with us to lobby our state legislatures to help reduce gun violence in our state.
Participating in Interfaith Advocacy Day on Wednesday, February 11, 2015. We will be joining members of other faith communities for a full day of lobbying in Salem. The theme of the day is “Raising Diverse Voices of Faith to Strengthen Oregon Communities: Confronting Poverty, Promoting Economic Equality and Preventing Gun Violence.”
Your donations allow us to fund these and other worthwhile activities. Each year we coordinate many activities, which will benefit from your support. However, we also donate to other organizations that provide services that meet our values.
Join our committee that is developing activities for our beloved Mitzvah Day on Sunday, May 3, 2015. List of activities to come.
Tutor children at NW Towers
Once a week we provide tutoring and mentoring to the children who live in the Towers Annex. Please join us on Wednesday afternoons from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm to provide one-on-one support for these children. The program begins with 15 minutes for a snack, followed by 45 minutes of homework, and ends with an hour of games and educational activities.
The NW Towers is part of the Portland’s Home Forward program which provides affordable housing to individuals and families. This tutoring program is coordinated in conjunction with Lift Urban Portland’s Adopt a Highrise Program. As a result, the tutoring responsibilities are shared with other faith communities in the Portland Area.
Meals and parties for NW Tower residents
Mentoring program supporting NW Tower parents
Many of the children living in NW Towers have learning disabilities and/or lack a good educational foundation. For this reason we are starting a volunteer mentoring program to help parents better advocate for their children at schools. We are planning an informational meeting in December for Congregants interested in participating in this crucial program. Please watch for the meeting date in in an upcoming “Beneath Our Dome” or let Tracy Alifanz know if you would like a special invitation to this meeting.
Social Action News
The Longevity Revolution
Listen the program in the audio jukebox to the right of this page.
The Longevity Revolution came to Congregation Beth Israel this fall. It was a time to engage in challenging dialogues with fellow congregants and friends about how to both enjoy life to the fullest and plan thoughtfully for the future.
The patterns and social dynamics of family life have significantly changed during our lifetimes: the oldest generation is living far longer than its parents; emancipated adult children move back with parents; elderly parents live with adult children; and grandchildren take care of grandparents. Who among the now-aging baby boomers ever thought they would find their parents growing older – and perhaps a bit infirm – or that they would have end-of-life questions challenging both their parents and themselves?
No one has all the answers, but our synagogue was the perfect place to raise the questions and reflect together on the moral, ethical, and practical choices our longer lives and changed living circumstances warrant.
Gun Control Advocacy In Oregon
A talk by Ginny Burdick, State Senate President Pro Tempore, District 18
Listen the program in the audio jukebox to the right of this page.
Ginny Burdick was first elected to the Oregon Senate in 1996, and is currently serving in her fifth term.
Burdick was elected by her peers as Senate President Pro Tempore in 2011. She is Chair of the Senate Committee on Finance and Revenue, an appointment she received in 2008. In 2011, Senator Burdick was also appointed to Co-Chair the newly created Joint Tax Credit Committee. Additionally, she serves on the Senate Committee on Rules and the Senate Committee on Rural Communities and Economic Development. From 2004 to 2008, Senator Burdick was Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Over the past few years Burdick has championed common-sense gun legislation, enduring smear campaigns from gun rights extremists.
This summer she received death threats stemming from her public comments concerning the shootings at Reynolds High School in Troutdale. Burdick had said she believes the shooter’s parents should be held criminally responsible for the death of Emilio Hoffman, the 14-year-old freshman shot at his high school.
You Stepped it up for Social Action!
Thanks to all who “Stepped it up for Social Action!” and to our hosts Dorota and Mike Sinclair for generously opening their warehouse with proceeds to benefit Social Action. A grand time was had by all and $2,000 was raised for CBI’s Social Action Fund.
MITZVAH DAY 2014 was a great success thanks to all of you!
Thanks to everyone who participated in Mitzvah Day - you were all so great - you even made the sun shine!
Special thanks go out to the folks who started our day on such a great note - our engaging sign-in folks and our wonderful breakfast mavens - the mighty CBI Brotherhood led by David Goldwyn, and Linda Harrison and Stephanie Siegel holding down the fort for Sisterhood as the other sisters worked to improve Janus House under the leadership of Daphna Stadig. Special thanks also to your breakfast servers, Deb and Lance Caldwell, Bonnie and Jonathan Barg, Bob Rosenbaum, Marc Birge and Jim Davidson.
We are grateful to Rob LaForte for providing us the opportunity to distribute 6,000 pounds of apples, as well as to our amazing Mitzvah Day Committee, Janet Morgan, Andy Olshin, Alexa Hasman, Julia Waldinger and Stephen Cassell.
And of course, none of the day could have happened without the support of our CBI team - Rabbi Joseph, Rabbi Cahana, Cantor Cahana, Sydney Baer, Dara Docherty, Tracy Alifanz, Ben Sandler, Mor Kenane, Vickie Grief, Jim Baldwin, Jen Feldman and Craig Paton.
Special thanks to Stephen Cassell for the design and production of the Mitzvah Day 365 t-shirts (as well as for countless other duties, which he performed flawlessly), which we will wear for our CBI events - if you don't already have one, please come by and pick one up to wear in the Gay Pride Parade on June 15 - see Rabbi Joseph's article in the June Bulletin for more information.
And last but not least, special thanks to Solomon Olshin who led both SoupSac and the dinner for NW Tower Dinners. Solomon defines mensch - we all have a lot to learn from this 13 year old.
Thanks to everyone who participated in our Good Deeds Day!
Many thanks to those of you who joined us to participate in our Soup Sac program as part of Good Deeds Day, sponsored by the Portland Mitzvah Network, a program of the Jewish Federation of Greater Portland. It was a great day as we made 400 meals to distribute to those in need.
To the soup makers, bakers, sandwich makers, packagers and delivery folks - you are the best! We thank Jewish Federation of Greater Portland for coordinating this event. Special thanks to Grand Central Bakery at 1444 NE Weidler Street for its very generous donation of bread and pastries. Please patronize this store to support its efforts to do such good for others.
Thanks for your commitment to Tikkun Olam.
In addition to the projects sponsored by Congregational Beth Israel's Social Action Committee, we partner with the following 503(c) (1) nonprofit organizations:
LIFT URBAN PORTLAND
JANUS YOUTH PROGRAMS
Janus is licensed to provide group residential and shelter care and a certified drug and alcohol program. Janus' alternative education school is approved for learning disabled and emotionally disturbed students.
Community Warehouse collects donated household goods and furnishings and redistributes them to our neighbors in need.
THE ReBUILDING CENTER
The ReBuilding Center, a project of Our United Villages, provides resources that make home repairs affordable to everyone, with the goal of promoting the reuse of salvaged and reclaimed materials.
RONALD McDONALD HOUSE CHARITIES
The Ronald McDonald House Charities provide a “home away from home” for families with seriously ill children and support initiatives to improve pediatric health.
Sunshine Pantry offers food, clothing, household items, toys and toiletries to families in need in Beaverton.
Urban Gleaners mission is to help alleviate hunger by collecting edible, surplus food that would be thrown away and distributing it to agencies that feed the hungry.
Questions about how you can get involved with the Social Action Committee?