The Beth El Temple Center community seeks social justice by working to overcome some of the root causes of injustice. We pursue many avenues including, for example, some activities of: the Social Action Committee, the religious school programs, the congregation’s youth groups, and the Women of Reform Judaism’s social justice initiatives. Some of our actions are informed by the Religious Action Center which educates and mobilizes the Reform Jewish community on legislative and social concerns, advocating on more than 70 different issues, including economic justice, civil rights, religious liberty, Israel and more.
Beth El Temple Center also is a proud member of the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization (GBIO). GBIO is a faith-based, community organizing group that brings together more than 50 congregations from across the Boston area, representing more than 50,000 people, to share the sacred work of pursuing justice.
Social Justice Goals
- Foster a synagogue culture that fully integrates social justice into congregational life.
- Build a congregational community in which action for the public good is integrated with ritual and educational life.
- Join with neighboring religious congregations of all faiths, recognizing and developing our capacity to be agents of effective social change for the common good.
Our Tzedek (Social Justice) programs include:
Social Action Shabbat Service - Each fall we lead a Social Action Shabbat Service for the congregation.
Tzedek Salon (Social Justice Discussions)
In 2015, we started a new forum for periodic discussions on social justice topics.
Our Tzedek Salons are intended as opportunities for us to:
- learn -- from “experts” and each other
- connect -- have conversations & become better connected within our Temple community as well as our broader community
- organize – around issues or problems that are (personally) broadly and deeply felt
- act – to solve collectively agreed upon issues
Reducing Gun Violence -Through the Belmont Religious Council, we actively participate in Belmont’s Gun Buy Back program 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.
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. We organize for Social Justice.
GBIO addresses specific social justice issues via time-limited "campaigns." Together we identify and prioritize common problems and shared interests, research possible solutions and actions we might take, and gain a more powerful voice in policy discussions