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Tikkun Olam Volunteering & Action

The Tikkun Olam Committee supports Havurah Shalom’s mission to provide a vibrant, egalitarian, diverse, engaged Jewish community through promoting acts of social responsibility steeped in Jewish values. As a community, Havurah has active work groups focusing on and partnering with organizations working on accessible housing and homelessness, equity, climate change, supporting newly arrived refugees into our community, and living out our declaration of being a Sanctuary Congregation.

There are many ways to connect and get involved with our existing Tikkun Olam work, and we invite you to join our Tikkun Olam Committee by contacting us at for more information! If you’re a member of Havurah Shalom and have a new idea or would like to request that the Tikkun Olam Committee sponsor a cause, please complete this form and email it to The committee maintains an email list for members to share information about Tikkun Olam events. Please email us if you'd like to be added to the Havurah Shalom Tikkun Olam email list.

We welcome your ideas, passions, and actions for social justice. Our community is involved in many projects, most of which are either organized through the following workgroups, or through connections with partner organizations (listed below). The current workgroups include:

More information about each of the workgroups and their activities are below. Please contact the Workgroup lead listed or the Tikkun Olam Committee if you want more information or are interested in joining one of the workgroups.

The photo above is of Mica and Tali Hastings, whose whole family volunteers at the Portland Homeless Family Solutions (PHFS) Goose Hollow Shelter.

Climate Action

The Climate Action Team at Havurah is engaged in efforts to raise awareness about opportunities and the urgency to take meaningful actions that will help address the threats to climate change in our region and the world. We plan to offer a climate action discussion course this fall or winter. In the coming months, we also plan to offer other activities and events to further connect Havurah members with ways to make a difference. For more information, and if you would like to get involved, please contact Michael Heumann.


Havurah prides ourselves on being a welcoming congregation. A robust contingent gathers to march behind our Havurah banner in the Pride Parade each June, with more always welcome! We recognize that we need to do more to address equity issues so a group of 18 Havurah members met last winter and early spring, in a two-part series of classes to help us crystalize our concerns and priorities regarding Equity and Privilege, both within Havurah and as we interact in the larger community. Class members, joined by other congregants, have continued to meet to concretize plans for moving this work forward. As we set our initial priorities, we will share them in Hakol and the community email. Contact Susan Rosenthall if you want more information or want to get involved.


Our work with immigrants is focused on defining and implementing what we mean to be a Sanctuary Congregation. We have been working through our Havurah Sanctuary Committee with support from the Interfaith Movement for Immigrant Justice, IMIrJ, along with 25 other communities. We have identified two focus areas: political action and community engagement and have made connections with a Latina group to understand what the needs of their community may be. We anticipate our work will include accompanying people who feel threatened by ICE to leave their homes. We also connect our community to actions and rallies, delegations and other means to express our outrage with the current immigration environment. Contact Shari Raider if you want to get involved.


We have partnered with Catholic Charities to provide direct support and services to Refugees moving to the Portland area. After receiving training at Havurah from Catholic Charities, numerous Havurah members have become cultural navigators and are matched with specific refugee families to help them acclimate to America. Havurah families have also hosted Refugees in their homes until permanent housing can be found, while others have helped with rent assistance. The Tikkun Olam committee has sponsored two apartments for new Refugee families and conducted numerous clothing and diaper drives to help Refugee families. Due to the highly individualized needs of these families, we are committed to providing direct services as the needs arise. Contact Fran Berg if you want to get involved.

Another partner organization working on refugee issues is the Never Again Coalition, a Portland-based coalition focused on anti-genocide work in Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo to support people fleeing violence and living in refugee camps. In addition to international, federal, and state advocacy, projects include early childhood education and sports programming. Contact Chris Coughlin for more information.

Poverty and Homelessness

Havurah members will continue doing the direct service work of Tikkun Olam by helping homeless families at the Goose Hollow Portland Homeless Family Solutions (PHFS) this year through our monthly adopt-a-night at the shelter. The shelter provides support to 200 families each year who are experiencing homelessness, with the goal of alleviating long-term family homelessness in the community. Several members are volunteering in the SMART program at the Community Transition School (a private school for houseless children) which many of the Goose Hollow children attend. Havurah also works with the Metropolitan Alliance for Common Good and other partners on advocacy efforts to address housing issues. Contact Gloria Halper about more information about the Goose Hollow project.

This article from the July-August 2017 issue of Hakol, by Stefanie Hausman, gives great advice on providing effective support for parents and kids at the Goose Hollow Shelter. It is a must-read for anyone interested in volunteering with Portland Homeless Family Solutions at Goose Hollow.

Currently the Poverty and Homelessness Workgroup is focusing on our project with the Goose Hollow Family Shelter, but we have partnership with many organizations in the community including those listed below:

  • Community Warehouse – Local, nonprofit furniture bank that collects and redistributes donated furniture and household goods to neighbors in need.
  • Lift Urban Portland – Interfaith community of volunteers serving NW Portland and parts of downtown through a food pantry, backpacks for kids and annual food drive.
  • Outside the Frame - Changing the way homeless and marginalized youth see and are seen through film.
  • Transition Projects – Serves people’s needs while assisting them in transitioning from homelessness to housing. Havurah students in grades 2 through 6 make and serve meals to Transition Projects residents during the Havurah school year.

Other Community Partners

American Friends of Hand In Hand: Center for Jewish-Arab Education in Israel – American branch of Hand In Hand, a nonprofit co-founded by Havurah member Lee Gordon. Works to build an inclusive society, partnership and equality through a network of integrated, bilingual schools and shared communities of children, youth and adults throughout Israel. (Contact Lee Gordon or Susan Danielson to learn more or contribute financially to Portland Friends of Hand In Hand.)

Metropolitan Alliance for Common Good (MACG) – A coalition of religious communities, labor union locals, and community-based organizations working to build a vibrant democratic society and the social fabric necessary for strong families, healthy communities and a just world. MACG is currently working on improving the housing situation in Metro Portland, prison reentry, and issues that affect our Latino brothers and sisters. (Michael Heumann)

Tivnu Building Justice – Service learning organization that braids together advocacy for the fulfillment of basic human needs, Jewish study, and construction work and training. (Steven Eisenbach-Budner)

Sat, July 21 2018 9 Av 5778