Congregation Beth Am is committed to the prophetic values of our Reform tradition which command us to bring justice into the world. We provide the necessary tools opportunities, and encouragement to engage our congregants in the sacred work of tikkun olam, social action, and tzedek, social justice. We strive to create a committed tzedek community, and to infuse all aspects of our lives with justice.
TZEDEK: A vision for the future
We should draw all our members onto a path of continuous Jewish ethical growth, offering multiple ways for all ages to take part in the mitzvah of healing the world (Rabbi Janet Marder in her congregational vision address, April 2009).
- Being a member of Beth Am is synonymous with being involved in tzedek and tikkun olam. All congregants, across all age groups, are pursuers of justice.
- The Tzedek Council is the congregational leader in engagement in tikkun olam and tzedek.
- We are committed to a variety of approaches to pursue justice and rely on the opinions, knowledge, and passions of our community to help guide us.
- We encourage congregants to donate tzedakah on a regular basis.
- All of the youth education programs include a meaningful tzedek component.
- We connect our community with leaders in the field of social justice for reflection and education, providing opportunities for congregants to learn and build community based on shared passions and interests.
Tikkun Olam means repairing our broken world by working to help alleviate the suffering of those in need. Beth Am is committed to serving the less fortunate, both inside and outside of our community, based on the Jewish values of feeding the hungry, visiting the sick, and clothing the naked.
- Beth Am sponsors ongoing volunteer projects.
- Children are engaged in a volunteer project as part of their B'nei Mitzvah preparation.
- Beth Am is well-known for a signature campaign, a large project on a particular issue that involves the entire congregation.
Tzedek means that we are commanded to pursue justice in the world by addressing the root causes, not just the symptoms, of injustice.
- Beth Am utilizes congregation-based community organizing to discover congregants interests and passions and to engage them in social change.
- We educate our congregants and engage them in important social justice issues of the day, encouraging awareness and advocacy.
- We register community members to vote in local and national elections and encourage congregants to become civically engaged.
- Beth Am utilizes effective methods to communicate and publicize tzedek events and opportunities.
- The Program Team encourages tzedek opportunities and integrates them into worship, learning and teaching, and social events.
- Beth Am partners with outside resources and organizations such as the American Jewish World Service (AJWS), the Religious Action Center (RAC), and other local non-profits to enhance our tzedek programming and create new and exciting opportunities.
Above all, the prophets remind us of the moral state of the people: “Few are guilty but all are responsible.” –Abraham Joshua Heschel
We model our commitment to tzedek after the ancient prophets of Israel, who taught the following:
- “I the Eternal have called you to righteousness; I have taken you by the hand; I have shaped you; I have appointed you as a covenanted people, a light of the nations. To open blind eyes, to release captives from prison and from the dungeon, those who sit in darkness.” –Isaiah 42:6-7
- “Stop doing wrong and learn to live right. Devote yourself to justice. Uphold the rights of the orphan, defend the cause of the widow.” –Isaiah 1:17
- “God has told you what is good; and what does the Eternal require of you? To do justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” –Micah 6:8
- “Seek good and not evil, so that you may live. Hate evil and love good. Establish justice in the gates.” –Amos 5:14-15