Social Action

EVENTS | VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES | NEWS

Rabbi Rose Tikkun Olam Awarded to Ilene Davidson

We are thrilled to be awarding Ilene Davison the Rabbi Rose Tikkun Olam Award for her commitment and devotion to making the world a better place for all of us, every day. Please join us on Friday, June 26th when we will honor Ilene during our Shabbat on the Plaza service. We hope you will join us in celebration and the awarding of this well deserved recognition.

Ilene and her husband Jim joined Congregation Beth Israel in 2007 and have been passionate advocates for the vitality of our community ever since. They travelled with a group led by Rabbi and Cantor Cahana to Israel and are steadfast attendees of services and temple celebrations. We count on them and are counted as blessed by their participation.

Ilene has served our board of trustees for 4 years, is a member of the executive committee, chaired our Adult Education, Social Action and Engagement committees, chair of Mitzvah Day, while also serving on the Budget & Finance, Leadership and Development Committees.

Beyond the important leadership role Ilene has served in, she has completely re-envisioned and re-imagined our relationship with our neighbors at NW Towers, volunteering every week as a mentor and teacher, advocating on behalf of the residents, organizing and encouraging others to come and lend a hand. Ilene inspires acts of kindness in others by modeling it herself.

 

Upcoming Events

Designer Shoe Party Fundraiser!

POSTPONED - September Date TBD

Join us for a designer shoe party with proceeds benefiting CBI's Social Action projects.

Dorota and Michael Sinclair invite you to shop for women's shoes at their warehouse. Dorota, who is on our Social Action Committee, and her husband import beautiful leather European shoes, which can be found at Switch, Nordstrom, and Zappos. They are generously sharing their samples (usually a size 7) and assorted inventory (sizes 5–10) with CBI.

Many of these designer shoes are valued at $200. They are selling these shoes for $90-$100 with 50% of the proceeds benefiting CBI’s Social Action Projects. Purchases can be made with cash, credit card, or check.

Fun fashions and unique designs abound!

 

divider 

Thanks to everyone who joined us for Mitzvah Day!

You made a difference, built community, and hopefully had a blast!

View our Mitzvah Day Photo Album!

mitzvahday2015-thumb

 

Please Don't Forget our Mitzvah Day Donation Wish Lists!

Many organizations rely on donations to succeed. Please consider donating items or funds to the following worthy causes:

Donate DIAPERS to CODA, an alcohol, drug and mental health treatment center. Bring a new package of diapers or some from your own supply at home.
www.codainc.org

Donate non-perishable FOOD to Sunshine Pantry, an organization that provides food, amenities, housewares and clothing to people in need in the Portland metropolitan area. “No child should go to bed hungry.”
www.sunshinepantry.org

Donate TOOLS to support Tools4Troops, a non-profit co-founded by Beth Israel member Patt Bilow. T4T gives away unwanted hand and power tools to veterans of the five branches of the US Armed Forces for use in their homes or workplaces. T4T can also pick up the tools from your home – contact Patt Bilow at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . www.tools4troops.org

Donate BOOKS to The Children’s Book Bank, an organization that gather thousands of new and gently used children’s books (baby to middle school) and delivers them to children who might not otherwise have books in their own homes. www.childrensbookbank.org

Donate KITCHEN ITEMS, ART MATERIALS, NEW & USED CLOTHING to UpLife, a non-profit community art space, gallery and gift shop for people of all ages and abilities founded by Beth Israel member Rachel Bloom.
www.uplifepdx.org/about-uplife

You can drop off items or funds at the Schnitzer Family Center from Monday-Friday between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm or at the Sherman Education Center on Sundays during Religious School. 

These were this year's Mitzvah Day Projects:

Bake!
Bake homemade treats to serve.

Blanket Making 
Make warm fleece blankets for CODA, an alcohol, drug, and mental health treatment center. Suggested for our younger congregants. 

Caring Cooking 
Prepare meals to be frozen, assemble bags of non-perishable food, and make cards to take to congregants in time of need. 

Cemetery Clean-Up 
Plant plants, pull weeds, and clean older marble headstones. Wear old clothing and bring gardening tools, like shovels, hoes, and clippers. 

Children's Book Bank 
Clean books and repair bindings. The Book Bank gathers thousands of new and gently used books and delivers them to children who might not otherwise have books in their home. 

Choir Room Clean-Up 
Sort, file, and archive music, dust and clean choir room and organ loft. Some music readers would be helpful. 

Classroom Clean-Up 
Get classrooms in tip-top shape for next school year - wash windows and walls, clean and organize desks and cabinets, sweep and mop floors, etc.

Fruit Snax
Help distribute 100 cases of fruit to community-based organizations that serve children living in poverty in Multnomah County. Need drivers and vehicles to transport fruit.

Library Clean-Up
Clean our beautiful and very dusty library. Wear work clothes. 

Lift Urban Portland Food Pantry Clean-Up 
Clean food pantry and refrigerator. Clean and paint entry, including some decorative stenciling. Wear work clothes. Lift Urban Portland is a non-profit dedicated to reducing hunger and improving the lives of low-income residents in NW and downtown Portland. 

NW Tower & Annex Pancake Breakfast 
Cook, set tables, serve, and clean up; also perform host activities and games. A great opportunity to get to know our neighbors as we enjoy brunch together. 

Soup Sac 
Prepare, assemble and deliver sack lunches to some of Portland’s neediest citizens. Need soup makers, cookie bakers, sandwich makers, and delivery folks. If you volunteer to be a soup maker or cookie baker, please bring soup and cookies with you on Mitzvah Day.

Sunshine Pantry 
Sort and stock food. Sunshine Pantry provides food, amenities, housewares and clothing to people in need in the Portland metropolitan area. 

UpLife Painting & Clean-Up 
Paint 2,000 square foot space, organize and clean donations, and some sewing jobs. UpLife is a new non-profit community art space, gallery, and gift shop for people of all ages and abilities. Wear work clothes and bring work gloves. 
 
divider

Volunteer Opportunities

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.

Join the SAC Advocacy Task Force

The Advocacy Task Force at CBI is working on issues that are important and relevant to our community. Join the committee to help determine those issues. Send an email to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to join the committee or for more information.

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.

 

Donate to our Social Action Fund and Social Action Food Fund

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.

  

ACTIVITIES AT NW TOWERS:

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
Food is the key to reaching people and making connections, which is why we have parties/meals every few months and we always need help with cooking and serving. Please keep an eye on “Beneath Our Dome” to learn about upcoming meals and parties or send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. requesting to be added to our mailing list to get special notifications from the SAC.

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.

divider

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.

divider 

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!

Mitzvah Day 2014 logoThanks 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.

We want and need your help on these projects. Please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  for more information and to volunteer.

divider

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
Lift Urban Portland provides in Northwest and Downtown Portland. They help our neighbors through food programs (including in partnership with the Wheels on Meals People), the Neighbors Helping Neighbors program and the Adopt-A-Highrise program. Through the Adopt-A- Highrise program, CBI adopted the Northwest Tower, which is adjacent to CBI. Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you are interested in working with the residents of Northwest Tower.

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
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
Sunshine Pantry offers food, clothing, household items, toys and toiletries to families in need in Beaverton.

URBAN GLEANERS
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?  
Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  to learn how you can make a difference!

 

Volunteer Opportunities

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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.

Join the SAC Advocacy Task Force (Ongoing committee)

Donate to our Social Action Fund and Social Action Food Fund (Ongoing)

ACTIVITIES AT NW TOWERS:

Tutor children from NW Towers Annex (Wednesday afternoons during the school year)

Mentoring program supporting NW Tower parents (Ongoing program)

Meals and parties for NW Tower residents (Occasional events throughout the year) 

For more information about any of these volunteer opportunities or to sign up to volunteer, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Listen to Social Action Events and more

Please update your Flash Player to view content.

Social Action Links & More

Questions about Social Action?

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Links

Seeking Peace, Pursuing Justice
The Reform movement's campaign to educate, encourage, and mobilize North American Jewry to support peace efforts and social justice causes in Israel. www.seekpeace.org

Religious Action Center
www.rac.org

Union for Reform Judaism 
www.urj.org

ARZA/World Union for Progressive Judaism
http://www.rj.org/arzawuna

Basic Rights Oregon
www.basicrights.org

 

Rabbi Rose Tikkun Olam Award Recipients:

2015: Ilene Davidson

2014: Jill Rubinstein

2013: Sanny Snell

2012: Women of Reform Judaism/Beth Israel Sisterhood

2010: Tracy Oseran and Dr. Gregg Coodley

2009: BINA

2007: Dr. Jill Ginsberg

2006: Rabbi Rose