Social Action

תיקון עולם
Tikkun Olam

Literally translates to "world repair" and has come to
connote social action and the pursuit of social justice.


The Social Action Committee (SAC) creates opportunities, within our temple community and beyond, for temple members to contribute to the work of tikkun olam, repairing the world, through mitzvot, good deeds, tzedakah, charitable acts of justice and righteousness, g’milut hasadim, acts of loving kindness, and tzedek, working to overcome root causes of social injustice. 

We work on projects and activities that address human needs, including food, shelter and security for families and children in our local and global communities.

Our Tikkun Olam (Hands-On Service) programs include: 

Family Table – Beth El is committed to delivering 45 cans of tuna and 45 cans of low salt vegetables each month to Family Table, the Jewish food pantry operated by Jewish Family & Children’s Service to help Jewish families in need. Leave donations in the SAC closet, across from the main coat closets. Temple members volunteer to deliver our monthly food donation and once a year, to help sort and deliver groceries. 

High Holiday Food Drive – We conduct an annual food drive for families in need during the High Holidays. Food is donated to Family Table, the Belmont Food Pantry, Boston Medical Center Food Pantry and the Boston Food Bank

Second Sundays Community Cooks Join Beth El members making a meal for the Heading Home shelter in Cambridge which shelters approximately 25 men and women. Cooking takes place in the BETC kitchen. It’s great fun for cooks and aspiring cooks of all ages.

Mitzvah Day – A day of tikkun olam and hands-on community service for the entire Beth El Temple Center community, usually scheduled the second or third Sunday in May – Participate in one or more of 18 hands on service projects inside and outside the temple. Projects include: cooking a meal for a local homeless shelter, working at a community garden, sewing blankets for infants with special needs, painting flowerpots for elderly in nursing homes, painting onesies for at-risk new-borns, making birthday cards for Temple elders, making Welcome Baskets for newly arriving refugee families and much more.

Literacy Tutoring – Many members of the Beth El community tutor children at Tobin Elementary School in west Cambridge as part of the Greater Boston Jewish Coalition for Literacy - The time commitment is one hour per week from October to May. Training provided.

Refugee Response - In January over 150 members of the Beth El community came together for a meeting to learn about the refugee crisis and begin thinking together about ways that we can help support refugees. What emerged was a clear commitment to build a formal program for addressing the cause of refugees and providing support for those displaced by war and oppression. Find out about our Refugee Response Team and join in on this important act of Tikkun Olam!


Our Tzedek (Social Justice) programs include:

GBIO - We work with congregations of other faiths through the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization (GBIO) to address pressing issues which have included: financial inequity, elder care, health care, youth violence, and gun violence. 

Social Action and Social Justice Shabbat Service - Each year we lead a Social Action and Social Justice Shabbat Service for the congregation. 

Reducing Gun Violence -Through the Belmont Religious Council, we actively participated in Belmont’s Gun Buy Back program in 2014 and have participated with other congregations, and GBIO and the MA Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence, to take action to reduce gun violence.  

Climate Change and Sustainability – We have worked with Sustainable Belmont on their programs and hope to expand out work in this area, perhaps collaborating with other groups such as Mothers Out Front. We have created a Donate, Recycle and Reuse Guide for temple members to use. We participate in the Beth El Climate Team to raise awareness and educate congregants about actions on climate change. Work to reduce the carbon footprint of the Temple building.

Our Tzedakah programs include:

Tzedakah Box - We collect and distribute Tzedakah Box donations most often for emergency funds in the communities where our congregants live but also for disaster relief throughout the world. Social Action Committee uses its funds to match the Tzedakah Box donations. 

Benefit Concert or Film - Each spring we hold a Benefit Concert or Film, to raise funds for organizations at home or abroad. In recent years, we have raised funds for Arava Institute in Israel, BPeace and Ziv Medical Center in Safed. 

Yad Chesed - On Purim, we join with 80 other local Jewish organizations and temples to help Yad Chesed collect funds to purchase and distribute grocery gift cards for local families suffering food insecurity.

Chanukah Winter Coat Collection and Gift Drive– Each year during Chanukah, we collect winter coats to donate to CASPAR Emergency Homeless Shelter and Cradles to Crayons.  We usually also organize a gift drive for individuals or families in need.  Recent gift drives have included boots for homeless women and linens and towels for families moving out of homelessness.


Social Action Shabbat - Each year we create a Social Action Shabbat service to share with the community.




Upcoming Services

Fri, Jul 29 6:00pm

Sat, Jul 30 9:30am

Sun, Jul 31 8:30am

Sat, Aug 6 9:30am