A Short Brief by Barry

Other Messages
Temple Menorah President's Weekly Message
A Strong Pillar of Social Justice and Social Action
10/05/16

One element of a strong congregation is one that has the values of social justice and social action deeply embedded in the fabric of their communities. As you may recall from my speech at our last Hanukkah celebration, I called for building and enhancing this core value of Judaism in our community.

Under the leadership of our Social Action Committee, chaired by Gail Rodkin, we are beginning a number of programs, activities, and speakers to raise awareness, volunteerism, and a greater participation in social justice advocacy and social action projects. My hope and vision is that we become known as the Social Justice/Action Congregation in the next few years, not only in the South Bay, but through-out the Los Angeles Area.


  1. We will be hosting a Social Justice/Action Friday Shabbat Speaker following Kiddush every few months. A few months ago, we hosted a speaker from Habitat for Humanity, who is trying to increase synagogue participation in their projects %u2013 which is one of our first steps.

  2. We are participating in the Habitat for Humanity %u201CJewish Build Day%u201D on October 30th in the Long Beach area. I am very excited about this opportunity granted us on a Sunday (their usual build day is on a Saturday). I hope you'll join Gail and I, along with our families, at this %u201CJewish%u201D Habitat for Humanity Day. You can send Gail or Katie a note if you would like to join us.

  3. This coming Friday %u2013 Shabbat Shuvah %u2013 we will host Lee Winkleman, who is the Western Region organizer for the Religious Action Committee (RAC) of the Union of Reform Judaism. The RAC, based in Washington, D.C. has been significantly involved in a leadership role in the passage, and in many cases the actual writing, of almost every piece of major social legislation passed by Congress over the past 50 years.

  4. A litter primer or background on the RAC might be useful before coming to hear our Speaker. I am including a link to the RAC for additional information, and a couple of YouTube videos from the URJ biennial last November (including one featuring Vice President Joe Biden) honoring the long-time Director of the RAC, Rabbi David Saperstein, who was appointed by President Obama to be the Ambassador for Religious Freedom.
    RAC.Org (don't forget to sign up for their email updates)
    Tribute to Rabbi David Saperstein
    Vice President Joe Biden - Biennial 2015

  5. Our theme this year is around housing and home %u2013 and includes topics like building homes for those less fortunate, affordable senior housing, foster care, and homelessness. There is great power and leverage when congregations organize and take a stand to correct an injustice, or participate in specific projects in our local community.

  6. If you would like to help us plan and participate in some of these campaigns, activities, and projects, please shoot me a note. Together at Temple Menorah we can make a dramatic difference and influence, change, and improve the community around us. Is that not a key element of our Covenant %u2013 to make the world a better place %u2013 to repair what's broken - to be a light unto others as a role model and example?


B'Shalom,

Barry Deutsch
President

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