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Tikkun Olam

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. We invite you to join our Tikkun Olam Committee by contacting us 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 Tikkun Olam Committee. The committee maintains an email list specific for Tikkun Olam communications. Please email us if you'd like to be added to the Havurah Shalom Tikkun Olam email list so you can get regular updates on Tikkun Olam activities.

More than 100 Havurah members attended a meeting at Havurah Shalom on Sunday, Nov. 13, to process the results of the presidential election.

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.

Climate Change (Michael Heumann)

The Climate Change Workgroup is currently offering a course to better understand climate change and how we can take action to increase resilience and mitigate the impacts. The course refers to connections in Jewish texts that relate to our impact on the earth. The discussion sessions integrate video and readings compiled by the Northwest Earth Institute’s guide "Change is Our Choice: Creating Climate Solutions." Part of the course will be to look into possible next steps to engage the Havurah community in these critical issues.

Equity (Susan Rosenthall and Liz Schwartz)

This is our newest area of focus, and we are sponsoring a six-session class on “Being Jewish Makes a World of Difference: Equity, Privilege and Otherness” during November – January. Rabbi Joey will lead the first three sessions where we will look at texts from Jewish tradition about equity and otherness. These examples of situational ethics will be the foundation for our study and reflection - what do the texts mean to you as an individual? What is the relevance in our own lives? What are the issues that we need to confront? The second set of three sessions will broaden the discussion to explore tools that can be used to help us wrestle with these challenging topics as we explore issues of equity, privilege and otherness at personal, community, organizational and systematic levels. For example, how can we become more aware of our implicit biases and assumptions?

How do we address the impact of our behavior and that of others in respectful and productive ways both in and beyond Havurah? Outside educators will facilitate these three sessions. We hope that the class participants will continue working on these issues and help to support a broader conversation within the Havurah community.

We have also hosted a discussion on Black Lives Matter and how we can support efforts in the broader community, and hope to continue to explore that topic. Additionally, we are members of the Community of Welcoming Congregations and work to increase understanding among people of all genders to ensure that Havurah is intentionally welcoming to everyone. 

Immigrants and Refugees (Rachel Oh and Bob Brown)

Over the last year we have implemented our local Refugee Support Project. Havurah Shalom adopted a statement of support for refugees. See the statement here. We are also partnering with two local organizations to support refugee families in our community, Catholic Charities and Morrison Center.

  • Refugee Support: Catholic Charities. Havurah is working together with Catholic Charities to train members to serve as Cultural Navigator for newly arrived refugee families. We have also gathered items to furnish and set up an apartment for the Hassans, a new refugee family from Somalia, and are exploring the option of doing another apartment setup, if there is interest among Havurah members.
  • Refugee Support: Morrison Center. Havurah has partnered with the Morrison Center’s Mi Casa program to identify and train host families for unaccompanied refugee minors. There are many refugees from our own hemisphere who have fled violence and the impacts of crime from the Northern Triangle countries of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. Both families and unaccompanied minors are affected; they embark on a dangerous journey overland through Mexico and arrive at our southern border. Once they arrive at our border, these people are asking for asylum in the United States. They are placed with organizations like the Mi Casa program while the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement is finding a sponsoring family. While these children wait for a sponsoring family, the Mi Casa program provides foster care for these children. There is a range of volunteer opportunities: requiring various amounts of commitment. These opportunities include foster care, home-stays for children that “age out” of the Micasa Program and numerous other volunteer opportunities for Havurah families. More information is available here.

Other partner organizations working on immigrant and refugee issues include:

  • Interfaith Movement for Immigrant Justice (IMIrJ) – IMIrJ is a coalition of individuals, faith leaders and diverse faith communities called by our conscience to respond actively and publicly to the suffering of our immigrant brothers and sisters residing in the U.S. Through advocacy and outreach, we educate our members, the community, and policy makers about the injustices current immigration policies inflict on the entire community, and we provide real opportunities to take action for change. The IMIrJ general meeting happens on the second Tuesday of the month at St. Michaels and All Angels church. Sign up for the IMIrJ newsletter on their website.
  • Never Again Coalition – A Portland-based coalition focused on anti-genocide work in Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo that focuses on supporting people fleeing violence and living in refugee camps. 

Poverty and Homelessness (Gloria Halper and Steve Rudman)

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. 
  • New City Initiative Village Support Network – This year we sponsored a Havurah team at the Race to End Child Homelessness fundraiser.
  • Portland Homeless Family Solutions/Goose Hollow Shelter – Interfaith coalition supporting families experiencing homelessness who are transitioning to stable housing. Goose Hollow Family Shelter is one of the sites supported through this program. Havurah Shalom has adopted one night a month to provide dinner and volunteers at the Goose Hollow Shelter. 
  • 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.)

Jubilee Oregon – A chapter of Jubilee USA Network, Jubilee Oregon is an interfaith organization supporting economic justice, debt cancellation and tax fairness on behalf of the world’s poor. (Bob Brown)

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)

Monday, May 22 2017 26 Iyyar 5777