Tikkun Olam at Temple Beth Am

Connecting our congregation to social action opportunities


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Members of FAN Speak Out at 2013 IFAD

IFAD1Over 400 people from 43 of Washington state’s 49 Legislative Districts, from diverse faith traditions, came together in Olympia on February 20 to speak out with one voice for more just, compassionate state policies and laws.

Rabbi Jonathan and members of TBA at FAN’s 2013 Interfaith Advocacy Day February 20 in Olympia.

IFAD2
Attending From left to right Rabbi Jonathan Singer, Linda Harris, Ronnie Shur, Dina Burstein, Diane Baer, Margo MacVicar-Whelan, Jo Merrick, Tom Buchanan, Fred Diamondstone, Gail Nicholson, Jonis Davis; front row: Jacqueline Sorgen

Legislative briefings, workshops and district caucuses were held in the morning at the Church followed by meetings with district legislators in the afternoon at the Capital Building.

IFAD3
43rd Legislative District meetings Dina Burstein and Fred Diamondstone, together with upwards of 30 43rd Legislative District members met with State Senator Ed Murray as well as Representative Jamie Pedersen and House Speaker Frank Chopp. The message they carried focused on support for legislation to end Gun Violence, to support Budget and Revenue policies to protect social and health programs in the state, to support Medicaid expansion in implementation of the Affordable Care Act and to support $175 million for the Housing Trust Fund in the 2013-2015 biennium to help meet Affordable Housing needs of our state residents.

On February 20 we joined together with 400 members of diverse faith communities in support of legislation and policies to address gun violence, economic justice for struggling families and wage earners, implementation of the Affordable Care Act to ensure affordable health care for all, immigration reform to provide opportunity for undocumented young people to access university education.

Many of the bills that were discussed are still viable and it’s important to contact our legislators now either thru email (find contact information at leg.wa.gov) or by leaving a message at 1-800-562-6000.

Fiscal Bills – these need to be passed out of committee by Friday, March 1:

  • HB 1338 – early review and second chance for juveniles sentenced to life without parole
  • HB 1440 – wage theft prevention
  • HB 1651 – second chance for juveniles via prohibiting the dissemination of their court records

Following four policy bills are in the House rules committee and need to be voted on by the House by March 13:

  • HB 1413 – voting rights act
  • HB 1429 – allows state funding for higher education programming in prisons (a second chance act)
  • HB 1588 – establishes universal background checks for all firearm sales in our state
  • HB 1817 – Washington state DREAM act, allowing all college-bound students in our state to be eligible for state financial aid

Call 1-800-562-6000 or email your legislators.  Updated status on these priorities is reported regularly by FAN

 Contact Diane Baer for information about Faith Action Network legislative agenda.

 

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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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An Invitation to Learn About the Abaudaya Jewish Community of Uganda

Dear Friends,
I am forwarding this invitation to you in the hope that you may want to attend and meet Aaron Kintu Moses.  We have known him for several years and first met him in Uganda in the Abayudaya Jewish Community near Mbale, in Eastern Kenya.  Several years ago we raised some money to help the school build latrines for the students and also purchase a small generator.
While this event may no doubt be of interest to you, and there is no cost, it is a fundraising event.  All of the money that is raised will help the Abaudaya Jewish Community of Uganda.   Indeed Aaron Kintu Moses is a remarkable man and leader of the Abaudaya.
It will be very nice to see you on November 15th.
Thank you!
Peter and Hinda Schnurman

 

You’re Invited!

Please join us in giving a very special welcome to Aaron Kintu Moses, leader of the Abayudaya Jewish community of Uganda!

On Thursday, November 15, we’re having an invitation-only gathering at the home of Howard Metzenberg in Seattle to introduce Aaron Kintu Moses, Headmaster of the Abayudaya primary school in Uganda, during his speaking tour around the United States. This is a special opportunity to meet a remarkable man who has helped lead his community through persecution and poverty as they’ve struggled to maintain their Jewish identity in Africa.

Will you attend?

Location: Please RSVP for location

Date: Thursday, November 15, 2012

Time: 7pm – 9:30pm

A light vegetarian supper will be served.

Space is limited, so please RSVP as soon as you can (harriet@kulanu.org). Please also RSVP if you cannot attend.

Howard Metzenberg: metzenberg@gmail.com  cell 360.553.1149

Aaron Kintu Moses will be touring the US from October 18 through November 21 to inform American audiences about the fascinating history and current developments of the inspiring Jews of Uganda. To view the full calendar of events, visit our online calendar. The annual Kulanu-Abayudaya Speaking Tour supports the two Abayudaya schools in Uganda, which educate and feed nearly 800 Jewish, Christian, and Muslim children who study and play together in peace. Kulanu, Inc (www.kulanu.org) is a grassroots non-profit that supports isolated and emerging Jewish communities around the world. You can read more about Kulanu’s work with the Abayudaya at www.kulanu.org/abayudaya

We hope you can make it!

Warm regards,

Harriet


Harriet Bograd, President
Kulanu, Inc

165 West End Ave, 3R
New York, NY 10023

212-877-8082
hbograd@gmail.com
kulanu.org kulanuboutique.com
Donate to Kulanu


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Tikkun Olam in Action – Temple Beth Am Mitzvah Day 2012

On Sunday, May 6th, 400+ Temple Beth Am Religious School students, 50+ parents and 30+ teachers could be found hard at work on multiple mitzvah projects to serve our community. The positive energy in the classrooms was palpable and smiles were everywhere. This year, nine different grade levels from PreKindergarten (our 4 year olds) all the way up to our 7th graders learned about the many critical needs throughout our community.  Each grade level found a special way to impact those in need.

Some of the highlights of the day were: 

–         PreK children helped to make catnip toys for newly adopted kitty cats at the Seattle Animal Shelter.
–         Kindergarteners created colorful collages of happy faces which were then turned into laminated placemats for residents of Providence Elderplace.
–         Our joyful, energetic 1st grade students visited Ida Culver House and entertained the residents with songs, storybook reading, and colorful drawings.
–         The staff at Treehouse, http://www.treehouseforkids.org/ an organization that serves the needs of foster children, requested kid-created stationary.  Our 2nd graders did a fabulous job producing the requested stationary.
–         Our industrious 3rd grade students prepared a meal for homeless teens.  An excellent speaker from Teenfeed  www.teenfeed.org  helped the students understand the causes of teen homelessness.
–         Mary’s Place, http://marysplaceseattle.org/ a community center serving homeless women and their children, was the recipient of more than 100 personal hygiene kits. These kits were lovingly assembled by our 4th graders and an encouraging note was added to each kit.
–         The 5th grade students tackled the problem of hungry families. Our students converted bulk dry goods (rice, beans, sugar and rolled oats) into family-sized portions.  They also provided useful recipes for the food.
–         The Downtown Emergency Services Center http://www.desc.org/needed artwork to make apartments seem more welcoming and home-like for residents moving away from homelessness.  Our 6th graders eagerly shared their creative skills making the needed wall hangings.
–         The 7th grade students and parents tackled environmental restoration work at the Beaver Pond Natural Area under the supervision of EarthCorps http://earthcorps.org/. It was a great day to be outside repairing the world.

We would like to express a huge thank you to all who participated, all of the TBA rabbis and administrators who supported our efforts, the custodial staff who took care of many needed room modifications, and congregants who gave time and donations.  

Sandy Cobel and Peter Gruenbaum, 2012 Mitzvah Day Co-Chairs