Tikkun Olam at Temple Beth Am

Connecting our congregation to social action opportunities


Leave a comment

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

Advertisements


Leave a comment

3/18 – TBA Tikkun Olam Teach-In: Homelessness and Economic Injustice

Exploring the Issues of Homelessness and Economic Injustice?  Still Have Questions? Frustrated by How to React as an Individual and as a Community?

Please join us on March 18th at the TempleBeth Am Tikkun Olam Teach-In:  Homelessness and Economic Injustice as we wrestle with these and other questions:

What do you think a caring community should know about homelessness?

Is this a community problem or someone else’s misfortune?

What can I do to help?

What can we do as a community to help?

By allowing tent cities, as an example, are we not addressing the problem? Or are we perpetuating a problem?

How does homelessness affect different populations such as adults, families, youth, chronically ill, mentally ill, chronic substance abusers?

The politics ­ Is this an issue for the city?  county? state? 

Schedule and Registration Info at:  http://templebetham.wufoo.com/forms/tikkun-olam-teachin/


1 Comment

Matanot L’evyonim for Purim Returns!

Homeless To RenterBy Temple Member Sue Covey

Sunday I took two of my grandsons to the Purim Carnival.  While they enjoyed the carnival, I was the “rover” for H2R – educating people about H2R and also encouraging people to celebrate the mitzvah of matanot l’evyonim with tzedekah for homeless families with children. My grandsons observed me talking with parents about donating to H2R.  My youngest grandson, Lincoln, a kindergartner, began asking me questions about what I was doing; what is H2R; etc.  As I explained it to him he was most concerned.  He then said, “Well, I want to help the children have a home; can I give some money?”  I answered in the affirmative; and he then pulled out all the money he had in his pocket that he had recently saved – $.39 cents.  Lincoln asked, “How much do you think I should give?”  I responded, “How much would you like to give?”  He asked, “Is $.10 cents okay?”  I welcomed his donation; gave him a smiley face H2R donation sticker and he observed me add his 10 cents into the donation envelope.  All considering, $.10 may seem like a small amount, but for Lincoln this donation was 25% of his saved pocket change.  Just imagine if each person donated 25% of their pocket change to H2R.  Remember – You can make a difference with any donation, no matter the amount.

Donate with PURIM to PESACH H2R VOUCHERS.  To give online, please go to Http://templebe.ejoinme.org/h2r

DONATIONS TO DATE: $2349.10


Leave a comment

Matanot L’evyonim for Purim

Homeless To RenterPerform the Mitzvah of Matanot L’evyonim (gifts to those in need) on
Purim by donating to homeless families through our H2R (Homeless to Renter) vouchers. Make a donation online or download a copy of our voucher here and mail it in. Information can also be found in the March Temple Beth Am bulletin.

Your support provides funds needed to help homeless families move to permanent housing. All donations are tax-deductible.


2 Comments

3/18 Temple Beth Am Tikkun Olam Teach-In: Homelessness and Economic Injustice

We hope you can join us on March 18th for the Temple Beth Am Tikkun Olam Teach-In:  Homelessness and Economic Injustice.  To register for the lunch and/or Advocacy 101 with Nancy Amidei please go to:

http://templebetham.wufoo.com/forms/tikkun-olam-teachin/

Learn and share what we can do as individuals and as a community to respond to homelessness and economic injustice.

Sunday Morning Forum: The History and Landscape of Homelessness in Washington
10:00 – 11:30 AM
Laurie Lippold, Moderator; Alison Eisinger, Executive Director, Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness; Megan Gibbard, Executive Director, Teen Feed; Bill Block, King County Committee to End Homelessness; and Youth Speaker, the Mockingbird Society

Luncheon and Discussion: Advocacy as Part of the Jewish Directive to Engage in Tikkun Olam
12:00 – 1:00 PM
Led by Rabbi Beth Singer, Senior Rabbi, Temple Beth Am
Pre-order lunch using this form for $8. A limited number of lunches will be available the day of for $10.

Training: Homeless Advocacy 101
1:00 – 3:00 PM
You are guaranteed to leave this training inspired and with tools to impact your legislators and government leaders. Led by Nancy Amidei, Civic Engagement Project, University of Washington

Tikkun Olam Information Fair
9:30 AM – 1:00 PM
An opportunity to learn about our community partners, Temple Beth Am Tikkun Olam committees and programs, volunteer opportunities and advocacy efforts.

You are welcome to come to all or part of the Teach-In. Sign up for Lunch and Advocacy 101 is required. Sponsored by: Temple Beth Am Tikkun Olam Committee. Email rsimon28@comcast.net with any questions.


1 Comment

An Evening With Mary’s Place Families at TBA

by Ellen Koretz Whitton

My usual role with the Mary’s Place families while they are at Temple Beth Am (or Ravenna United Methodist Church, where TBA volunteers also help out) has been as an overnight host, so I often don’t really get the chance to know the families.  But this time, along with my husband and 8-year-old son,  I hosted one evening.  My son was nervous.  He asked, “what if the homeless people aren’t nice?”, but once he got there he fit right in and had a great time playing with the other kids.

One conversation I overheard really struck me.  One of the children had brought a Scholastic book order leaflet back from school.  The child’s mother sighed and said, “I don’t get my TANF until the middle of the month.”  Here is a mother who has nothing, not even a roof over her head, yet she is trying to find a way to get books for her child.

As I write this story, I reach over to pet Grace, our family’s tuxedo cat.  I know that we can have a pet because we have a home. (Grace is a shelter cat, who was homeless herself!)  The night I served as evening host, another volunteer let the children pet his dog, and they were delighted. Having a home means that a child (or a parent) who loves animals can have the simple joy of having a pet.

No matter how much you study the problem of homelessness, I don’t think you can truly understand what homelessness means until you have spent time with these brave and resourceful people.  It truly has been a privilege to help.


Leave a comment

Volunteers Needed for Mary’s Place Shelter

Our Family Shelter Program works because ordinary people take time out of their busy lives to provide help to families in crisis in our community. And right now we still have an urgent need for volunteer drivers and overnight hosts between December 27, 2011, and January 9, 2012, when Temple Beth Am will be hosting homeless families from Mary’s Place.

Last August, Lin-Marie Nacht, TBA congregant, public defender and mother of two very busy children, shuttled families back and forth, hosted our guests in the evening and overnight, washed all the sheets and blankets, and delivered them along with the beds to the next host congregation. Continue reading