Tikkun Olam at Temple Beth Am

Connecting our congregation to social action opportunities


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Petition to Encourage Elected Officials to Act on Gun Control

We  encourage you to sign this petition against gun violence.

Jewish Petition to End Gun Violence

December 14, 2012’s tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut has reminded us that the issue of gun violence in our nation must be dealt with immediately.

Please sign this petition to encourage our elected officials in Washington State to support comprehensive action, including legislation requiring background checks (closing the gun show loophole), mandating guns be stored safely around children and robust efforts to ensure that every person in need has access to quality mental health care.

http://org2.democracyinaction.org/o/5165/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=12385

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Everyone Counts: Count Us In 2013

I was lucky enough to be asked to be the  Meal Team Leader last Thursday at the Teen Feed Count Us In site.  During the extended two hour meal we served over 80 youth and young adults ages 13-25, and the many volunteers who came to help out.   Following is an excellent summary of Count Us In and the importance of counting a population that has until very recently been “hidden” in our plain sight.  

If you are interested in joining me in Olympia at Housing and Homelessness Advocacy Day on February 11th please contact me at rsimon28@comcast.net.

Repost: Everyone Counts: Homeless Youth & Young Adult 2013 Count Us In

http://firesteelwa.org/blog/open/title/everyone-counts-homeless-youth-and-young-adult-2013-count-us-in

Posted on 01/29/2013 by 

Firesteel / Blog / Everyone Counts: Homeless Youth & Young Adult 2013 Count Us In.

Homeless counts will have taken place in every county across the country by the end of January. In this series, “Everyone Counts,” our partners at Firesteel explore the importance of these counts and hear what impact they had on some of the thousands of volunteers in Western Washington. In this post, Ashwin from Seattle University shares insights from the Count Us In homeless youth and young adult count–a population which has only recently been counted!

By Ashwin Warrior, Project Assistant, Seattle University’s Project on Family Homelessness; Senior, Seattle University.

At 6 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 24, the doors to the basement of University Congregational Church in Seattle’s University District swing open, and the youth flow in out of the cold.

They are greeted by warmth and smiles, offered dry clothes and small sets of toiletries, and —perhaps most importantly—fed a warm meal.

Since 1987, the non-profit organization Teen Feed has been providing regular meals to the University District’s homeless youth population. In 2011, the organization served more than 13,200 meals to 690 individual youths in need.

Tonight, however, is about more than food. As the youth sit down to an enchilada dinner, volunteers disperse among the crowd, clipboards and pens in hand.

Teen Feed is one of the providers at the center of King County’s third annual Count Us In initiative, an effort started in 2011 to better count youth and young adults who are unstably housed or homeless. This is the first time that Count Us In has been aligned with the One Night Count in King County.

The effort is led by a steering committee that comprises of United Way of King County, the City of Seattle, King County and youth & young adult providers. The goal is to end homelessness among youth and young adults – “unaccompanied youth” ages 12-24 – by 2020.

Volunteers and staff interviewed youth and young adults at centralized sites around the county, including libraries, drop-in centers and meal programs.  Some providers also went into the community to do outreach and find the young people.  The survey they used includes questions such as where the young person slept the night before, but also gets into some of the major causes of homelessness among this group, including whether the young person has ever been in foster care.

The U.S. Interagency Council (USICH) selected King County and Washington state as one of nine locations to participate in a national pilot to collect data on youth homelessness.

Data gathered from Teen Feed and numerous other youth agencies across King County, including Auburn Youth ResourcesFriends of Youth and YouthCare’s Orion Center, will be added to the One Night Count estimates and reported to the Department of Housing and Urban Development. It will also be used to better tailor youth services across the county.

As one worker of the night, Alex Okerman of the YMCA’s Young Adult Services, explains, “It’s really essential to understanding homelessness. If we’re going to try and do something to stop it, by asking questions about these young adults and what their past experiences are like…we can get to the root of some of the issues.” Hear more of his thoughts below:

Volunteer Erin Maguire works on youth programs for Catholic Community Services.  She said that the Youth Count provides important information that she uses all the time.

“The more than we understand the issue from young people that we’re hearing from tonight, the more we can improve our programs and increase our services to them,” Erin said.

Many locations also hosted a sleepover for the youth who participated in the Count.

Skateboards lined the wall at Teen Feed’s Count Us In sleepover. Photo tweeted by @teenfeedseattle, Jan. 25, 2013.

The second Count Us In, in 2012, recorded a conservative number of 685 unstably housed youth and young adults in King County.  Preliminary results from Count Us In will be available soon; watch for more here on Firesteel.


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2,736 people had no shelter in King County last night.

 

From:  Seattle/King County Coalition On Homelessness (SKKCH) blog.homelessinfo.org 

 Posted on January 25, 2013 by 

The One Night Count of homeless people in King County took place early this morning.  We are incredibly grateful to the many volunteers and supporters that worked to make the Count safe, respectful, and accurate.

At least 2,736 men, women, and children were found sleeping on the streets, under bridges, in their cars, on public transit, in temporary shelters and in makeshift campsites. This is 142 more people without shelter than volunteers counted one year ago.

The One Night Count is just the beginning. It sets in motion a full year of education, engagement, and action for all of us who care about this crisis. This morning we are especially reminded that everyone should have a place to call home.

When we see our neighbors sleeping on cardboard or riding buses to keep warm, we are shocked and saddened. We are also inspired to urge local and state officials to address these needs with resources. With our State Legislators in session debating funding for key housing and homelessness programs at this very moment, we need people to speak up and take action to make sure the One Night Count is more than just a number.

How can you help?

  1. Attend a free “Homelessness Advocacy 101” workshop on Feb. 9 in Seattle or Bellevue; learn about the issues and speak up ~ register at www.homelessinfo.org
  2. Join Coalition members in educating lawmakers in Olympia on February 11 for Housing and Homelessness Advocacy Day ~ register here.
  3. Support the Coalition’s work through a financial donation. Donations made through February 28 will be matched, up to $7,000, providing a unique opportunity to double the impact of your gift. Donate online today.

The Coalition has helped to effect many positive impacts on the crisis of homelessness. Today, thousands of people who once experienced homelessness live in safe, healthy homes, thanks to efforts of our members, supporters, and volunteers.  Together we’ve raised our voices.  And, it has worked.  This morning we are reminded there is still much to do.

After seeing what volunteers and supporters pulled off in a few short hours this morning, I’m confident that together, we can ensure safety for people who are homeless today and end the crisis of homelessness once and for all.

See our website for the 2013 street count results in more detail, as well as results from previous years.


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The Come Home Alive Initiative (CHAI)

Submitted by Jessica Trupin, Temple Beth Am Member

On Friday, December 14th, after hearing about the shootings in Newtown, I posted a notice to Facebook.  I would open my living room every other Sunday at 3pm for the foreseeable future to anyone who wanted to “do something”.  On Sunday the 16th nine people gathered.  The Come Home Alive Initiative was created from that first meeting.

Our founding mission is this:  The Come Home Alive Initiative (CHAI) is committed to a violence-free America so our children come home alive from school or play, soldiers come home alive from our wars, and each of us finds in our minds a place to which we may come home alive. CHAI is a group of parents, educators, and activists who came together in the wake of the Connecticut school shootings to lobby for legislation, dismantle our nation’s culture of fear and violence, and raise awareness of peaceful alternatives.

On December 30th we were fortunate to have the executive director of Washington CeaseFire come speak with us.  This Sunday, January 13th, we will be joining the march from Westlake Park to the Seattle Center: StandUp Washington : Turning Anger in to Action.  

We will be supporting the assault weapons ban this session, but beyond that, we’re committed to a broader view than the us v. them paradigm that’s kept a grip on our national dialogue.  Sensible, responsible gun owners are more than welcome and are, in fact, crucial to this conversation.

If you’re interested, we currently exist only on Facebook as the Densmore Working Group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/485572574828611/?bookmark_t=groupand in my living room, so please email me either at jtrupin@comcast.net or connect with me on Facebook.  The name CHAI was a lucky accident. 

Best,

Jessica

Jessica C. Trupin
jtrupin@comcast.net ∙ 206-992-6684

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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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Kaddish for Kindergartners

Those of us who routinely say Kaddish at the close of Jewish religious services are generally aware that the Hebrew prayer for mourning makes no actual reference to mourning nor to death. It’s a prayer of glorification, sanctification, and praise for God and the world He made, and it’s a call for the peace He can bring to that troubled world.

The guttural and beautiful sing-song in the middle makes clear our connection, dependence, and awe – Continue reading


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2013 Housing and Homelessness Advocacy Day Monday, February 11

By Sally Kinney, Temple Beth Am

We hope to have a vocal contingent of Temple Beth Am members join  the Housing Alliance on February 11 in Olympia for Housing and Homelessness Advocacy Day.

Are you passionate about ensuring that everyone in Washington has the opportunity to live in a safe, healthy, and affordable home? Do you want to unite with others to end homelessness in our state? Are you ready to join over 500 other advocates from around Washington to tell your elected officials how you feel?

If you answered yes to any of these questions then please join the Housing Alliance on February 11 in Olympia for our annual Housing and Homelessness Advocacy Day!

The day includes:

  • Inside information and timely updates on affordable housing and homelessness legislation.
  • Workshops on how to talk to your elected officials and be the most effective advocate possible.
  • Meetings with your lawmakers for which you’ll be armed with key messages, supporting documents and facts to help share your story.
  • And an opportunity to feel the power of a strong and growing movement for affordable housing and an end to homelessness.

This year’s theme is “2-11: Hear the Call for Housing and an End to Homelessness.” HHAD will help connect powerful advocates to elected officials in order to make the call to increase access to affordable housing and services and programs that prevent and end homelessness. This year’s theme was chosen in recognition that our date (2-11) is the same phone number (2-1-1) that struggling individuals and families call when trying to get connected to critical resources. This year lets all come out to Olympia and make the call together to ensure our message is heard loud and strong!

 For more information:

https://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/2685/p/salsa/event/common/public/?event_KEY=76591

Together we can make our voices heard!

If you are interested in joining other Temple Beth Am members or in receiving additional information as plans are made please contact:  Randy Simon at rsimon28@comcast.net