Allowing for difference of opinions and interests, and respecting personal choices, as is the Reform Jewish tradition, we dedicate ourselves to these essential purposes…. To constantly probe and apply our moral and ethical values, making our best contribution to Tikkun Olam – repairing the world – through acts of kindness and social justice, loving our neighbor, and caring for God’s creation.
Beth Shalom offers a variety of individual and group opportunities that allow members to practice tikkun olam through the mitzvah of tzedakah, acts of loving kindness and the promotion of social justice.
Tzedakah and Acts of Kindness
Hineinu Caring Committee
Tikkun Olam begins at home, and within our own smaller circle of friends and community. The Hineinu (“We are here”) Caring Committee helps bring support and comfort to those in need in our own congregation, reaching out to those who have experienced a loss, a sickness or a crisis, by visiting them and/or providing meals, and helping at Shivah services. We not only support each other in times of distress, but also celebrate our good times together, such as the joy of welcoming a new life into our family. We join with these families in their celebration and provide resources, food and any other support they may need.
Meals on Wheels
Beth Shalom members have participated in the Meals on Wheels
program for at least 10 years. On the 3rd
Friday of each month at lunchtime, members deliver meals to approximately 50 people in the Cary area.
Yom Kippur Food Drive
Each year, as we gather in our synagogue for Yom Kippur, and as we fast for a day and feel hunger, we recall the words of Isaiah commanding us to “share your bread with the hungry.” We do not just say the words, but we also act on them by collecting bags of food for the Food Bank
of Central & Eastern North Carolina.
Beth Shalom often partners with this Food Bank, a nonprofit organization that has provided food for people at risk of hunger locally and in 34 counties for 30 years. The Food Bank serves a network of more than 800 partner agencies such as soup kitchens, food pantries, shelters, and programs for children and adults through distribution centers in Durham, Greenville, New Bern, Raleigh, the Sandhills (Southern Pines) and Wilmington.
Last Yom Kippur (2013), we provided over 4,200 meals to the Food Bank.
The Beth Shalom Annual Turkey Drive collects frozen turkeys and/or money and delivers them to Western Wake Crisis Ministry. “Western Wake Crisis Ministry was founded in 1983 by a small group of churches and community members interested in coordinating benevolence services to our neighbors in need in Apex, Holly Springs (NC), and surrounding areas.” In this way we celebrate both our American holiday and heritage, and our Jewish values of thankfulness, sharing and caring for our neighbors.
“Founded in 1962 by a concerned group of physicians and community leaders, Rex Blood Services opened its doors as the first community blood donor center in the Triangle to ensure that there would always be a safe and adequate blood supply to meet the needs of local patients.” Each year in January, Beth Shalom partners with Rex Blood Services to help fulfill the high demand for blood in the Triangle. Our efforts have been so successful that, in recent years, we have added an additional donation day in June.
The Carying Place provides short-term housing and support for homeless, working families with children and teaches them life skills for independent living. Each family is paired with a volunteer team, which works with the family to develop a plan for self-sufficiency. Beth Shalom members work with local churches and other non-profit groups to organize and provide meals for these families during the weekly Thursday counseling sessions. While adults provide meals, our seventh graders also gather at Beth Shalom to prepare and cook meals which are then transported to the Carying Place.
Inter-Faith Food Shuttle
“The Inter-Faith Food Shuttle pioneers innovative, transformative solutions designed to end hunger in our community.” They rescue food that would otherwise be thrown away and use it to feed those in need. In 2011, they recovered more than 7.1 million pounds of food from more than 350 donors. Each year, Beth Shalom volunteers work to harvest excess crops, which are then delivered to low-income families.
Each spring, the Social Action Committee organizes a Mitzvah Day in which families go out into the community to help non-profits address the needs of our community. Each year we strive to seek out new ways to help the community as well as to continue to support past causes. In the past, we have helped, among others, the following organizations:
The Catholic Parish Outreach Food Pantry
Raleigh Rescue Mission
Horses for Hope
Interfaith Food Shuttle
Annie Jones Park
Promoting Social Justice and Advocating for Ethical Values
Beth Shalom is seeking to expand this way of pursuing tikkun olam by engaging with the current social needs, becoming informed and educated about the relevant issues, and advocating for core Jewish values of social justice.
We have hosted speakers to educate us about the current social injustices in North Carolina and what we can do to address them. Our Shabbat services have been enriched by speakers from the NC Justice Center, and from Carolina Jews for Justice, among other organizations promoting social justice. Our Adult Education programs often explore the ways in which Jewish ethical and religious values relate to our current social reality.
In addition, in March 2014, a group of our teens in our Madrichim program joined Rabbi Edery and traveled to Washington, D.C. to take part in the L’Taken Social Justice Seminar. There they learned about current public policy issues and relevant Jewish values, and had an opportunity to learn how to use their voices to address specific causes they are passionate about to bring about Tikkun Olam.
In June 2014, a group of teens and adults from Beth Shalom went on a Tikkun Olam trip to Guatemala with Curamericas Global, a nonprofit that works to address the high infant and maternal mortality rate and the lack of adequate nutrition in local Mayan communities. They helped with construction projects, with the administration of vitamins to infants and weighed infants as a part of a program that helps undernourished children.
One of our teens weighs a local Guatemalan child