Tikkun Olam at Temple Beth Am

Connecting our congregation to social action opportunities

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Freedom Shabbat – January 11, 2013

Musical Performance: 7:30pm
Service: 8:00 pm

I am pleased to remind you of the annual Temple Beth Am Freedom Shabbat service on Friday, January 11, 2013.  Each year, our congregation joins in celebration and education about our relationship as Jews to the life and work of Dr. Marin Luther King, Jr.

So often, it can seem that working for peace and justice involves choosing from a laundry list of “issues” that are addressed as separate concerns.  As citizens, it behooves us to examine the connections between various struggles against oppression in order to further a more just society.

To that end, we are so very pleased to have Dr. Michael K. Honey speak at this year’s service.  Dr. Honey is the Haley Professor of Humanities at the University of Washington-Tacoma. He is the award-winning author of a number of books and a community activist. He will be speaking on the topic of, “The Interconnectedness between Racism, Poverty and War”.

We will again be honoring a number of congregants who have been involved in numerous tikkun olam actions.  While it is not possible to include everyone in reading from the bima, this year we want to invite anyone who has been engaged in this important work to join on the bima at the Torah service for a group aliyah and blessing from Rabbi Beth.  Please spread the word amongst your colleagues in action about this opportunity/honor.

New this year, we will begin our evening of celebration with a musical performance at 7:30pm with Shades of Praise/Jubilation Choir of St. Therese Parish, under the direction of Mr. Kent Stevenson.  We are honored to share this joyous evening with these exuberant singers.  Please help us to express our collective appreciation for their time by attending this part of our evening’s event.

Finally, I want to let you know that this is my fourth – and final – year coordinating this wonderful service.  I am passing on the role to Leigh Hofheimer who has worked with me on this year’s service.  Please join me in welcoming her to this important effort.

For justice!

Susan Picard – Coordinator, Freedom Shabbat Service


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March against gun violence January 13

StandUP Washington, Turn Anger Into Action

  • Sunday, January 13th, 1:30 p.m.
  • March from Westlake Park to Seattle Center Mural Theater for Rally

Bring your family and join civic, religious, and education leaders in a call to ban semi-automatic weapons in our State.

For more info email: info@washingtonceasefire.org or visit www.WashingtonCeasefire.org.

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Tikkun Olam in Tanzania

Dear Friends,

There are a lot of places to do Tikkun Olam in the world, including of course here.  We practice Tikkun Olam both here in our community, and also as many of you know in different parts of the world – most recently East Africa.

In 2013, we are going to volunteer in Tanzania to work in Massai villages in the north, around Arusha.  One of the projects that we want to do is teach children photography.  And so, we asking you, our friends to consider donating your used digital camera that we can bring along with us.  Photography is a very good way to help children communicate and bring out their creativity.  We have seen many examples of this around the world during our volunteering experiences.

If you don’t have a small digital camera to donate, you can make a small contribution which we will use to buy cameras.

We also want to bring some laptops with us for the NGO we will be working with – RISE Africa.  So please consider that also.  By the way, RISE is registered as a US 501 c 3, so any contributions, either in kind or cash are tax deductible.

Please consider helping.

Many thanks!

Peter and Hinda Schnurman

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Faith Action Network News

Dear Friends,

To those of you who joined Jean-Loup and me at the TBA table last Saturday at the Annual FAN Celebration dinner many thanks for your support of FAN.

Our membership in FAN and how we will work together is taking form in preparation for the 2013 State Legislative Session as well as longer term strengthening of our congregational advocacy activity.

Rabbi Jonathan Singer has joined the FAN board of governors.

Contact me at drbaer11@hotmail.com with questions or suggestions regarding our work with FAN.

Visit the FAN website to learn more: fanwa.org.  In addition to our congregational work with FAN you can sign up as an individual FAN member to receive email updates.

And please pass this along to anyone who might be interested in FAN’s work.

All my best and Happy Chanukah and holidays,

Diane Baer

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Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Awaits Renewal

Congress is also deciding the fate of legislation important to our community. The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) is an essential tool for our community. VAWA makes it possible for agencies like Jewish Family Service (JFS) and the National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) to aid those who are struggling to escape domestic violence.

VAWA was enacted in 1994. The programs under the act are administered by the Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services. VAWA gives law enforcement, prosecutors, and judges the tools they need to hold offenders accountable while supporting survivors of domestic violence.

Key legal tools like self-petitioning and program funding for the states will be lost without reauthorization of VAWA. Without reauthorization it will be harder for JFS and NCJW to carry out their work helping survivors of domestic violence.

Self-petitioning is a critical tool for abused immigrant spouses. The provisions allow for survivors of domestic violence to petition for immigration status on their own instead of relying on an abusive spouse as a sponsor. VAWA’s self-petition provisions remove the ability of an abuser to manipulate a survivor’s fears about his or her immigration status. Legal immigration status is crucial to a victim feeling safe enough to seek help.

Please urge Congress to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act today.

Washington State Jewish Action Center
Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle
2031 Third Ave, Seattle, WA 98121

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Charitable Deductions and Medicaid Key to Fiscal Cliff

Congress is in the middle of a “lame duck” session as Members (including those who were defeated or did not seek re-election) attempt to prevent our economy from going over the “fiscal cliff.” This session will probably conclude before the Christmas holiday. The Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) recognizes the significant economic challenges facing our country and the immense pressure to reduce the deficit and our national debt. Deficit reduction is necessary, but it must be carefully calibrated so that the most at risk among us are protected while our collective national interests are preserved.

If a deal is not reached during this “lame duck” session, discretionary cuts will take effect as of January 1, 2013. This will affect large portions of the health and human service safety net, Medicare payments will be reduced and families struggling to get ahead will face higher taxes.

Tell your members of Congress that we support a balanced approach, which reflects three essential goals: that Medicaid is not turned into a block grant; that the charitable deduction is preserved; and that proportional reductions are made in discretionary spending for defense and domestic sectors.

Washington State Jewish Action Center
Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle
2031 Third Ave, Seattle, WA 98121

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Health Care for All – L’dor v’dor

Temple Beth Am’s Health Care for All Committee will continue to advocate for health care in the important, upcoming 2013 Washington Legislative session.  The Supreme Court’s 2012 decision upholding the Affordable Care Act – and recent election results – assure that major health care changes are coming.  This makes 2013 an historic opportunity to shape implementation of the health insurance exchange, Medicaid expansion, and Basic Health Option.

The TBA Health Care for All Committee will participate with other organizations in the Healthy Washington Coalition on important efforts to make health care more widely available to families and individuals in Washington.

  • Spread the cost of implementing the Insurance Exchange across all insurance underwritten in the state to provide more stable and predictable funding.
  • Expand the Basic Health Option, to take advantage of federal funding to help low wage workers and families who cannot otherwise afford insurance,
  •  Take advantage of federal funding to expand Medicaid to cover individuals and families earning up to 138% of the federal poverty level.  This will be funded 100% by the federal government in 2014-2016, then 95% in 2017 and 90% in 2020.
  •  Support new revenue to help fund vital safety net programs. Throughout the recession, health care and safety net programs have been cut.  There is no more room for additional cuts. Health care programs must be protected and preserved by raising revenue.

On February 20, we will join with Faith Action Network’s 2013 Interfaith Advocacy Day in Olympia.  We will focus on implementating health care reform.

We will provide more information about pending health care legislation at a Sunday Morning Forum on Sunday March 3, 2013 at 10 am at Beth Am.

The March 3rd forum will also share information about a national campaign called Caring Across Generations. This coalition effort to develop and implement policies addresses the increasing demand for home health and other home based services. As the boomer generation retires and as more people of all ages with disabilities live in the community, all generations face new needs and demands on how we care for one another.