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Tikkun Olam

Tikkun Olam is one of Judaism’s fundamental principles. In our actions, our “mitzvot,” we are co-participating in the restoration of all things.

This comes in many forms for Bet Alef. We have our Tzedakah contributions, in which we set aside a certain portion of our giving toward a nonprofit we desire to support. We also participate in numerous food drives throughout the year through the Jewish Family Services here in Seattle (during High Holy Days and Passover). We care for one another through our Mitzvah Team as part of a Caring Community

We believe in spirituality in action in our community. Members of Bet Alef community have taken the initiative and partnered with others in order to offer four different ways for you to be involved with the work of Tikkun Olam in our community.

Interfaith Climate Action - First Hill

This group is composed of members and friends of Bet Alef Meditative Synagogue and Seattle First Baptist Church who are learning about the causes and effects of human-caused climate change. They work in concert with other local and regional groups to maintain a livable climate.  Interfaith Climate Action – First Hill  sponsors educational events, supports climate-friendly legislation and policy, and opposes actions that would increase global warming.
 
We would be happy to speak with you directly if you have questions or want to talk.  Please contact:  Keith Ervin, keithervin@msn.com, 206 371 3834 or
Rev Harriet Platts, seeker@seanet.com

Immigration & Refugee Committee

You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.

In response to this command, we have been working to support immigrants and asylum seekers in the greater Seattle area. Under the auspices of the Bet Alef Learning Institute we created an information session earlier this year and along with the Jewish Coalition for Immigrant Justice – NW, we co-sponsored a fundraiser in December 2018 to establish a bond fund administered by the Washington Immigration Solidarity Network. Loans from this fund enable asylum seekers to bond out the detention center while they are pursuing their legal cases. Once the bond is released, it is available to another asylum seeker. The fundraiser collected over $41,000 for the Bond fund. Bet Alef is also a congregational member of HIAS.

Bet Alef members are warmly invited to join our small committee. We do not meet regularly, but are project oriented. Opportunities to help include giving moral support by accompanying an asylum seeker to their hearings. You could open that extra room in your home for someone who needs temporary housing while awaiting hearing. Or you can contribute to the bond fund, which is always in need. “We will do and we will hear,” we responded at Sinai. Here at Bet Alef we are trying to do just that, both as individuals and as a community. 

Bet Alef Anti-Racism Group

Some Bet Alef members and regular attendees have created an anti-racism group in response to the discussions that grew out of our shared study of Dr. Ibram X. Kendi’s book, “How To Be an Antiracist”. We’ve been meeting for a few months now and would like to invite other interested Bet Alef members and attendees, who have also read the book or are willing to read it, to join in the work.  

So far, we’ve worked on deepening our relationships within the group, are creating shared definitions of what anti-racism work means, brainstormed about ways to make Bet Alef even more welcoming and inviting to Jews of Color and others who may come from marginalized communities. We have also had the opportunity to hear from members of another area synagogue regarding anti-racism (Kadima), who have been doing anti-racism work for quite a while.  

Our Draft Mission:

We are a group of Bet Alef members and regular attendees exploring what it means to be anti-racist through the context and through the lens of Judaism. We have defined four spheres through which to focus that work:

  • Inner healing (looking at how racism, antisemitism and white supremacist patriarchal thinking is internalized within ourselves)
  • In our Synagogue and community (making Bet Alef even more welcoming for Jews of Color and People of Color)
  • Partnering with other communities and anti-racism groups (forming relationships and connections with other Faith based groups, communities of color and communities in pursuit of anti-racism work)
  • Solidarity with larger efforts toward political / structural anti-racist change (social activism and justice work)

Would you like to learn more about the group or get involved?  Keep an eye on the Bet Alef website and newsletters for future opportunities to join anti-racism discussions and events, and if you have any questions or feedback, or would like to join our planning meetings, please email: antiracismgroup@betalef.org

Committee Members:

Barrie Rein Thunemann, David Kroopkin, Elizabeth Heath, Linda Morris, Lowell Weiss, Pam Emerson, Shelly Cohen, Shemaia Kountouros

Burrito Roll

The Burrito Roll is a focused community effort to provide high-quality, delicious food to neighbors in First Hill who may be unable to source fresh, healthy food. The team “rolls” on the 3rd Friday and Saturday of the month, and welcome people to help with any of the shifts that they are available for!

Will you help?
All hands are welcome, because many hands make light work.  (We are especially in need of someone who is wiling to learn how to cook the rice.)
Here’s the plan:
Friday, March 15 – Main kitchen
Canny Cooks (11:00) and Hot Peppers (1:00)
Saturday, March 16 – Fridell Meeting Room
remember, the church is closed on Saturday – ring the buzzer so you can be let in.
Super Set Up Elves (1:45) and Assemblers (2:00) and Holy Rollers (2:00)
Clean Machine (3:30)
Dedicated Distributors (after the roll)
Faith Action Network

Faith Action Network is an interfaith statewide partnership striving for a just, compassionate, and sustainable world through community building, education, and courageous public action.

We are a widely-diverse coalition of all people of faith which allies with like-minded communities and organizations across the state to take courageous action and create a more just and peaceful world.

  • Believes justice work is part of our religious calling
  • Communicates with elected officials about critical social issues
  • Advocates for a more just and sustainable world

Each year, Bet Alef participates with FAN in various issues and sponsors a table at their annual fundraiser.