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Social Justice

“If I am not for myself, who is for me? 
And if I am only for myself, what am I? 
And if not now, when?” 
—Hillel, Pirkei Avot, 1:14

Congregation Shir Hadash believes that as an evolving Reform Jewish congregation we have obligations not only to provide community for our members but to reach out into the world at large through individual and communal acts of gemilut chasadim (loving kindness), tzedakah (righteous giving) and tikkun olam (repairing the world). The Social Action and Social Justice committees help channel these intentions into concrete programs that have in the past included projects such as packing backpacks for back-to-school for children in shelters, hosting blood drives, providing meals, and promoting public discussion on a variety of issues in the community. The Caring Committee serves our congregants by offering care and support to those who are ill, in mourning, housebound or returning home with a new baby.

In 2005, Shir Hadash embarked on a new effort, joining with People Acting in Community Together (PACT), to promote tikkun olam in our local community. Through PACT, our congregation is connecting with other religious groups in our community to pursue similar goals for social change through community organizing.

Shir Hadash is also active in local Jewish community consortia, including the Jewish Film Festival and the Jewish Community Relations Council. We are proud of our members who have stepped forward to take leadership positions in the local community.

In the spring of 2011, several teens from Shir Hadash traveled to Costa Rica to participate in a service project expedition led by Matt Cook of CASE (Central American Service Expeditions). In 2013 our teens in Panama painted a local school.

Shir Hadash is a proud member of the Brit Olam Network of the Religious Action Center (RAC) of Reform Judaism. The 150+ congregations in the network collaborate on programs and share knowledge for the greater good. The RAC has recently launched the Brit Olam Congregation Network group, an online space for you, members of Brit Olam Congregations across North America, to connect and collaborate with each other about your congregation’s social justice work. Please use this group to ask questions, solicit advice or resources, and share successes, challenges, and resources related to your congregation’s social justice work.

If you are not already registered for the Tent, the URJ’s online collaborative workspace, click here to learn more and create an account.

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