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Tikkun Olam at Havurah

The goal of Havurah’s Tikkun Olam programming is to be a force for positive social action and healing in the broader community by focusing, organizing, and engaging the Havurah community in social justice work.  

Pathways to Participation in Tikkun Olam at Havurah

Here are a range of suggestions about ways to reach out, connect, and most importantly show up! 

Introduce yourself to the Tikkun Olam Committee co-chairs, Chris Coughlin and Bob Brown, and have a conversation.  

Identify which of the current workgroups within the Tikkun Olam Cluster most interests you. Contact the workgroup lead(s) and ask to meet. Most work groups have targeted email lists that you can opt in to join. Let the workgroup contact know about your interest. And, by all means, go to events and meetings scheduled for this workgroup. Everyone is welcome! 

Follow announcements in the weekly community emails, in the monthly newsletter, and the announcements at services to look for something in your area of interest.  

Finally: SHOW UP! By far, the showing up step is the hardest, especially at the beginning. 

Tikkun Olam Action and Volunteering through Workgroups

Climate Action 

The Havurah Climate Action Team (HCAT) raises awareness and acts to address the threats from the climate crisis. HCAT creates opportunities for Havurah families to make a difference at home, at the synagogue, and in the larger community. We organize climate action discussions, trainings, and other activities to help Havurah members engage and understand the importance of this issue and work together to grow the seeds of our hope as part of our 21st century mitzvot. Leads: Michael Heumann & Andy Beers  

Tikkun Olam Global  

A forum for Havurah’s international social justice work, through advocacy, fundraising, and direct service we aim to be a force for equity and human rights in the developing world.  As we work to “repair the world,” we are extending our gaze outward, towards the entire global village. The problems facing the planet are interconnected: climate change, wealth concentration, resource scarcity, houselessness, disease, and illiteracy are all interrelated. We are deepening our understanding of these issues and taking meaningful actions to improve the lives of people around the world. Lead: David Newman 

Metropolitan Alliance for Common Good (MACG) 

MACG does broad-based community organizing, organizing for issues that impact the larger community. Havurah is one of 24 MACG member institutions in the Multnomah, Washington, and Clackamas county region, including religious organizations, unions, community housing, and health care organizations. Together, MACG institutions leverage the collective power to make change for the greater good. All MACG member institutions identify and prioritize issues that most impact the people in our community and member institutions.  We prioritize our work in areas where we can be most effective in causing change and where we have the people committed to do the organizing work. Current Action Teams include Housing, Immigration, and Climate Change/Environmental Justice, all areas where Havurah is working on change. Our Havurah Core Team provides a link between MACG and Havurah and engages members of the Havurah community in MACG’s process and opportunities for involvement, action, and leadership development. Lead: Andy Beers 

Poverty & Homelessness 

The Poverty & Homelessness work group works through several partner organizations. Havurah members volunteer regularly at a shelter run by Portland Homeless Family Solutions (PHFS). The mission of PHFS is to empower homeless families with children to get into housing and stay long-term. PHFS helps over 180 families per year to move from homelessness into housing, and 94% remain in housing long-term. Almost half of the children who spend time in the PHFS shelter are less than five years old. Havurah members make and share a meal with the families, spend time with the children, help with laundry, and set up the shelter space during volunteer shifts. PHFS also coordinates a Family Winter Shelter (FWS), a short-term volunteer commitment. Leads: Gloria Halper & John Devlin 

Havurah recently become a partner congregation with the Interfaith Alliance on Poverty, a volunteer-driven, advocacy group of Portland faith-based institutions. It offers an opportunity to get more informed and involved with systems-change efforts to reduce poverty in our community.  Lead: Steve Rudman.  

Havurah also supports Lift Urban Portland, which provides food and improves the lives of low-income residents in northwest and downtown Portland. Lift UP runs a nearby food pantry, serves Christmas dinner in partnership with Congregation Beth Israel, offers fresh produce at a free food market, provides nutrition workshops and “supper clubs,” and delivers more than 100,000 meals annually. Lead: Ruth Feldman 

Havurah: a Sanctuary Congregation 

Our work with immigrant and refugee communities focuses on political action and community engagement. We have three partnerships that have helped to define our projects: Partnering with Catholic Charities, we provide direct support to refugees moving to the Portland area. Havurah members serve as cultural navigators to help refugee families acclimate to life in the U.S. and may host refugees in their homes until permanent housing can be found. We also assist with furniture and clothing drives.

As a member of the Interfaith Movement for Immigrant Justice (IMIrJ), we engage in political action work alongside other congregations to advocate on immigration related public policy issues before Oregon legislators and educate the public. We also publicly express concerns over human rights failures through marches, vigils, telephone banking, and canvassing.

Through our partnership with the Ortiz Center in the Cully neighborhood, we have formed the Tikkun Olam Adelante Committee, which has developed three programs to serve the Ortiz community: English Language Learning for Adults; Intercambio, a language exchange opportunity for our members to learn Spanish, teach English, and build trust with our immigrant language learning partners; and After School Tutoring for Elementary and Middle School-Aged Children.   

In addition, we are part of the national HIAS Welcome Campaign and participate in National Refugee Shabbat and other HIAS actions. Sanctuary Leads: Shari Raider, Bob Brown & Kathy Gordon 

*Contact information for members is available in the online directory through the Havurah website. If you are not sure how to access the directory, please contact the office staff for directions. 

Thu, April 9 2020 15 Nisan 5780