“Justice, justice you shall pursue.”
Tikkun Olam—repairing and healing the world—is a core Jewish tenet reflected in Temple Israel’s values, culture and community engagement. The Temple’s Social Action Committee embodies this ethos by advocating for social justice and working to eliminate inequities at the local, state and national levels. The committee focuses on pressing challenges such as homelessness, hunger, affordable housing, domestic violence, racial injustice, and the environment.
For example, the committee sponsors annual winter clothes drives and High Holy Days food drives. Each year, hundreds of volunteers from the Belmont Heights Neighborhood Association and local churches join Temple Israel members on Make A Difference Day. Together, they tackle more than 20 family-friendly projects throughout Long Beach communities—from weeding non-native plants to collecting food for low-income families to reading to shelter animals.
In addition, Temple Israel is a proud member of the Long Beach Faith Coalition for Habitat for Humanity. The coalition’s mission is to raise money for Habitat builds in the Long Beach area, as well as to sponsor congregational builds. As a representative on the Habitat L.A. Jewish Coalition, Temple Israel shares ideas and energies with synagogues and schools from Redondo Beach, Palos Verdes, Encino, Mid-Wilshire, Pacific Palisades, Bel Air, West Hills, Manhattan Beach, and Los Angeles.
Other committee activities include a Workers’ Justice Seder; an informational forum on immigration; and a neighborhood climate action fair co-sponsored by the City of Long Beach and multiple community groups. Recently, the committee participated in a webinar focused on race and discrimination, featuring Bishop Kenneth Ulmer from Faithful Central Bible Church in Inglewood.
The Social Action Committee also supports the congregation and surrounding communities with both money and people power. Its Homeless Assistance Fund donates money and gifts to impactful organizations including the JFCS, Wrap the Kids, We Care, Long Beach Community Table, Flossie Lewis Recovery Center, Casa Youth Center, WomenShelter, the Children’s Clinic, the Drop-In-Center and Christian Outreach in Action. In addition, congregants are the beneficiaries of our Homeless Assistance Fund in times of need.
Social Action Committee members, as well as many other Temple congregants, demonstrate their commitment to repairing the world by volunteering for a wide range of organizations and advocating for social justice.
The committee welcomes new members, ideas, issues and concerns. It is guided by the Religious Action Center’s Brit Olam covenant and charter aimed at bringing together the Reform Jewish community to organize across race, class and faith to achieve a more just world.