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Social Justice

Social Justice

 

The Mission of the Tikkun Olam/Social Justice Committee is:

To strive to be a body of lifelong learning, a bridge bringing communities together and a catalyst engaging communities to respond to current societal conditions and contemporary issues through Jewish values, grounded in the mitzvah of “Tzedek, tzedek tirdof – Justice, justice shall you pursue!”

This committee is currently focusing their work on the following priorities:

  • Climate Action – led by Liba Zweigbaum Herman & Nancy Joseph-Goldfarb
  • Institutional Racism (Anti-Racism) – led by Dani & Alex Fisher
  • Food Justice – led by Cindy Witkin & Jeffrey Schein
  • Gender Inequality – led by Aklilu Dunlap

Read the full Social Justice Committee mission statement HERE

We need your help engaging in these areas! 

To get involved with the work of the Social Justice Committee, please contact Aklilu Dunlap at Aklilu@adunlaplaw.com, Jeffrey Schein at utschein@gmail.com, Dani Fisher at danzierach@gmail.com, Alex Fisher at pescadero1@gmail.com, or Nancy Joseph-Goldfarb at ngoldfarb@comcast.net.


 

CLIMATE ACTION

Hazon Seal of Sustainability
Beth El is proud to be applying for the Hazon “Seal of Sustainability”: This is a 12-month program designed to support organizations and communities working to create a healthier, more equitable, and more sustainable world for all – through education, action, and advocacy. As the Jewish lab for sustainability, Hazon effects change through immersive experiences and inspires individuals and communities to make specific commitments to change with a particular focus on food systems.

More information at https://hazon.org/

 

 

Organics, Recycling & Landfill
Our new tri waste management program at Beth El is a pivotal step in linking our Jewish values to substantive action toward sustainability and our climate-centered goals.

Food waste represents the single largest component of the waste sent to landfills and waste-to-energy facilities. According to Hennepin County’s 2016 waste sort, food is the largest proportion of our trash by far – compromising 19 percent of the trash by weight.

Wasted food is an environmental and social problem. Environmentally, food disposed of in a landfill quickly rots and becomes a significant source of methane – a potent greenhouse gas. Landfills are the third largest source of methane emissions in the U.S.

Adding a Tri-Waste System to our campus that include Organics Recycling, delivers food waste to area commercial composting facilities. Our specific organics recycling will be brought to Hennepin Country transfer stations, then delivered to the Mulch Store in Rosemount and the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community Organics Recycling Facility.

 

Beth El’s Green Team
Beth Els Green Team takes bold strides in learning to address the issues of climate action; building a healthier, more equitable and sustainable world for all. Protecting our planet is not just a scientific or political issue. It is a religious, spiritual imperative. We find this truth embodied in three core Jewish values.

Join us as we engage in this work!  Learn more about upcoming events HERE

 

 

 

Questions on getting involved with Climate Action? Contact Liba Zweigbaum Herman at zweigbaum@yahoo.com or Nancy Joseph-Goldfarb at ngoldfarb@comcast.net.

 

 

ANTIRACISM

Last spring, a group of Beth El congregants gathered together via zoom after Shabbat services to process the tragic killing of Daunte Wright in Brooklyn Center.  Subsequent to this gathering, we convened an Antiracism team to explore the ways that the Beth El community can better educate ourselves and take concrete actions toward antiracism. As a next step and as part of this process, two congregant groups have been meeting online to read and discuss the books How To Be An Antiracist (Ibram X. Kendi) and Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents (Isabel Wilkerson).

How to Be An Antiracist
“The only way to undo racism is to consistently identify and describe it- and then dismantle it.” Ibram X. Kendi writes in his 2019 book How To Be An Antiracist.
A group has been meeting monthly to discuss this book through a virtual Beth El space, led by Amy Shapiro and Alex Fisher. Although it’s through our computer screens, we’ve been able to create an intimate space to share life experiences, discuss racism and antiracism and ask important hard questions.  It has been meaningful to discuss this important book with an intergenerational group from Beth El. We each bring our own unique life experiences to the conversations. 

Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents
The second group is diving into former New York Times journalist Isabel Wilkerson’s most recent book, Caste. According to Wilkerson, caste is a “fixed and embedded ranking of human value that sets the presumed supremacy of one group against the presumed inferiority of other groups on the basis of ancestry and other immutable traits”, like skin tone or religion. Led by Nancy Gildin, our group is wrestling with the arguments that Wilkerson sets forth, and simultaneously exploring and discussing the actions each of us and the Beth El community can and should take to heal ourselves and our country.

Race In Current Events – Discussion Series
This quarterly discussion series will explore the various ways race manifests itself in current events. The series will draw from news articles and other sources to examine how America is responding to difference in a post-George Floyd world, how policies are being adapted to recent findings on the impact of race, and how culture is helping to shape national and global attitudes on the legacies of slavery and race-based oppression. This series facilitated by Aklilu Dunlap, Bob Fine, and Naomi Zuk-Fisher.

Questions on getting involved with our Antiracism work?  Contact Dani Fisher at danzierach@gmail.com or Alex Fisher at pescadero1@gmail.com

 

FOOD JUSTICE

Israel is not just the land of milk and honey, but the land of seven special species of plant foods: wheat, barley, pomegranate, fig, date, olive and grape. In 2022, the Beth El Food Justice Committee will provide the congregation with recipes featuring one of the species, paired with a particular holiday. To enhance holiday celebrations, the Committee will also include information about both the species and the holiday. There is a Chassidic teaching that says, when we are judged at the end of our lives, we will be equally judged for the sins we committed as well as our failure to celebrate when celebration is called for. We hope this project will bring added joy to the holidays.

We will start in January with Tu B’shevat and dates, the fruit. Along with the celebrating, we hope you will find balance by bringing joy to others through acts of loving kindness. We will provide you with suggestions of volunteer opportunities that reflect the holiday as well as charitable organizations that tie to the mission of food justice.

Questions on getting involved with Food Justice?  Contact Cindy Witkin at cindy.witkin@gmail.com or Jeffrey Schein at utschein@gmail.com