Tikkun Olam Monthly Report

April 2024

Our fellow members are engaged in Tikkun Olam on many levels and in many ways. Join us in being inspired, and consider joining in! Email tikkunolambethel@gmail.com for more information. If I’ve missed anything or if you don’t see contact info. Thanks to all for your important and amazing work!

Antiracism Working Group

We continued to participate in a biweekly service opportunity at Greater Framingham Community Church, a predominantly Black church in Framingham. Every other Friday, members of the church and others pack grocery bags for low-income families in the area — folks who might be on food stamps or who need a little extra assistance. A number of Beth El members have been participating.

We organized and co-sponsored the following recent programs:

Wade in the Water: The Possibilities of Black Music in the Synagogue (March 9) — a workshop with multidisciplinary artist Anthony Russell with whom we will sing, learn, and explore the connections and complexities of Black music in Jewish synagogue spaces. This program was sponsored by the Antiracism Working Group and Adult Education Committee. More information.

We are planning a follow-up session to Wade in the Water, specifically for Passover:

“Go Down Moses”: Bringing a Racial Justice Lens to the Seder,  Wednesday, April 10  – How do we sing and talk about slavery and liberation during our Passover seders? How does the legacy of African-American enslavement show up at our Seder tables as we recount the Exodus story? Join Cantor Vera and the Antiracism Working Group to bring a racial justice lens to the Passover Seder. More information.

Contacts: Judy Goldberg and Karen Blumenfeld (antiracism@BethElSudbury.org

Blood Drive

We had a very successful blood drive on March 27th. We exceeded the collection goal!! We had donors from the Beth El community as well as many members from the broader Sudbury and Metrowest communities. A very satisfying way for Beth El to support people in need medically.

The next drive is Wednesday, July 17th.

For questions or information, please contact Shirley Hui


We continue to track efforts to undermine the insidious Mapping Project. Currently there is activity in the US House of Representatives on this topic. Contact Paul Rosenbaum for specifics. Additionally, we attend/share information about ongoing online education and updates regarding antisemitism.

Activities in the planning stage:

  • Sunday, June 9 (tentative) — InterDependence Day

Green Team

With leadership from Martin and Jane Brauer and Michael Gevelber, Beth El will have a presence at Sudbury’s Earth Day celebrations from 10AM to 2PM on April 20th! It will be at Noyes Elementary School gym – close to the center of Sudbury (the green on 27).  We’ll be part of the “Earth Fair”.

Things you’ve accomplished with your engagement so far:

  • Secured adoption of a pathbreaking Climate and Sustainability resolution by Beth El’s Board of Directors (JCAN now is using the resolution as a template to inspire congregations throughout the MetroWest area)
  • Shifted to sourcing electricity generated from 100% renewable sources via opting up in Sudbury’s community electricity aggregation program.
  • Installation of more insulation and energy-efficient windows, lighting, and appliances at the temple
  • Shift to reusable glassware and cutlery
  • Profiled multiple Climate Mensches of the month and how their actions are helping us all
  • Held multiple webinars with dozens of attends from Beth El and the community on shifting to EVs, installing heat pumps, solar, and sustainable gardening
  • Co-sponsored additional educational webinars with MassEnergize and neighboring MetroWest Jewish congregations.
  • Joined with JCAN in securing grant funding to enable MassEnergize to create a climate engagement platform uniting Beth El and MetroWest Jewish congregations in taking climate actions
  • Over 65 congregants have joined to date with JCAN in taking over 500 climate actions – saving over 5,000 trees.

But there’s much more that we can do. Our resolution calls for three action areas:  

  • Reducing the greenhouse gas emissions of Beth El’s building and operations
  • Educate and assist congregants to reduce the environmental footprint and greenhouse gas emissions impact of our homes, workplaces, means of transportation, and other daily activities in a manner that honors individual circumstances, skills, limitations, and blessings
  • Support advocacy and awareness efforts to advance these goals in our broader communities in defense of Creation and a livable resilient world.

This third item is where you come in – can you come on Saturday mid-day for an hour to join in describing Beth El to visitors? Please reach out any of Michael, Martin, or John!

If you are interested in taking part in Green Team initiatives, please contact John at jpharper47@gmail.com to connect with a Green Team member. Join their list-serv by emailing greenteam-subscribe@members.bethelsudbury.org.

Inclusion Committee

  • Committee Members: Roberta Unger; Cat Kaner; Shir Gaudet-Rhodes; Maxine Haron, Co-Chair; Carrie Fuchs, Co-Chair
    • IC Members continue to attend Gender Neutral Bathroom congregational meetings to lend our support and provide guidance. We will continue to be involved as needed for consultation and support.
    • Members of the committee will be hosting an Inclusive Seder, Tuesday April 23Wed April 25, the second third night of Passover. Plans are underway and announcements forthcoming. This will be available mostly on zoom and open to all. It will include the use of a Haggadah that has social stories and visual aides, helpful for children and those with intellectual impairments.
    • Plans are underway to provide Information via temple publicity for creating a sensory friendly seder, using ideas from Gateways and other resources.

    Contact: Maxine Haron or Carrie Fuchs

Sanctuary Committee

As we recently learned, the number of people needing asylum in our country is increasing. In large part, this is due to the collapse of stable governments in Central and South America — one example is Ecuador — and the rise of drug and human trafficking that is running unchecked in those countries.

Our government has reacted in the worst way possible — by making it even harder to attain asylum here. They have instituted a program of “expedited removal” under which immigrants seeking asylum are immediately — and generally without access to any representation or counseling — forced to submit to a hearing designed to see if they have “credible fear”. We recently helped an indigenous woman and her family fleeing Ecuador. Their interview at the border was completely pro forma — the interviewer paid no attention to what she said and declared that she had no “credible fear”. Fortunately, this can be appealed,
and somehow she managed to do that and to it here, where she was helped by Diego Low of the MetroWest Worker Center.  A number of people — including two from Bethe El — met with her just before her interview and helped calm her and suggest ways she could talk about what happened.

And fortunately, the “judge” believed her and immediately overruled the original denial. So now she is here; at least for the time being, and the regular appeal for asylum will be scheduled, probably within a year or so.

And this is happening more and more often.  These people need immediate help in
a number areas:

  • Legal advice and representation.  This is too large an issue to rely completely on pro bono help, so we need to raise money to support this.
  • Help with the sorts of things that any immigrant needs — housing, employment, food, and so on.

We will be holding an open meeting on Saturday, April 20 — right after the Oneg after services; in the sanctuary — to explain all this, and to present a plan for us at Beth El to help out with all this.  We will have Diego Low — at least — here to help with the presentation, and we expect it to be very timely and to the point, especially just before Pesach.

Contact: Carl Offner (Please put “Sanctuary Committee” in the subject line)


Allison Alter (she/her), VP Tikkun Olam