Tikkun Olam Monthly Report

February 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 had the honor of attending Greater Framingham Community Church’s 37th Annual Martin Luther King Jr Day Breakfast, which featured a wide range of speakers and performers. Beth El’s wonderful Cantor Vera gave the invocation at the breakfast.

On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, we also co-sponsored Congregation Beth Elohim (Acton)’s 22nd Annual Martin Luther King Day Breakfast featuring civil rights leader and co-founder of METCO, Jean McGuire.

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. 

We are planning two upcoming programs:

  • Trigger: The Ripple Effect of Gun Violence, Sunday, February 25 – a documentary film presentation and discussion with the film’s director, David Barnhart, and State Senator Jamie Eldridge. The program is sponsored by the Presbyterian Church in Sudbury and co-sponsored by the Beth El Antiracism Working Group and other local faith and civic organizations. More information
  • Wade in the Water: The Possibilities of Black Music in the Synagogue, Saturday, 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 is sponsored by the Antiracism Working Group and Adult Education Committee. More information.

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

Blood Drive

We have two blood drives scheduled for 2024 on Wednesday, March 27 and Wednesday, July 17, both from 2–7 p.m. 

The need for blood donations is great. Learn what happens to your blood donation. For questions or information, please contact Shirley Hui. 

CAST

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.

On February 3 and 4, CAST sponsored HIAS weekend with a focus on Taking a Stand. To read about the weekend, click here.

Activities in the planning stage:

  • Sun. June 9 (tentative) — InterDependence Day

The Greater Boston Jewish Coalition for Literacy (GBJCL)

The Greater Boston Jewish Coalition for Literacy (GBJCL) mobilizes the Jewish community to help elementary school children discover the joy of reading by building meaningful relationships with a caring adult. Through partnerships, GBJCL engages volunteers in school-based one-to-one reading tutoring, book drives, and advocacy efforts in high-needs schools. Volunteers come from all backgrounds and do not need professional training in education, nor are they required to be Jewish. GBJCL is a community engagement effort of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston. 

  • Tutor children grades K-5 in literacy
  • Daytime weekly commitment for one hour
  • In person and remote options
  • October/November – May/June
  • Orientation and training provided (required for first time volunteers)
  • Monthly workshops on literacy and relationship building
  • Regular check-ins with professionals for feedback 
  • No prior teaching experience required

For more information, please register at www.jcrcboston.org/volunteeer or contact Becca Shimshak at rshimshak@jcrcboston.org. 

Green Team

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 listserv by emailing greenteam-subscribe@members.bethelsudbury.org.

Inclusion Committee

  • Our next program, “Perspective of Sensory Processing Differences and Preferences,” will be postponed until the spring. The subject will be adapted, and be done in conjunction with the school.
  • The Mental Health Guide and Resources is now posted in the temple bathrooms.
  • IC Members attended Gender Neutral Bathroom congregational meetings to lend our support and provide guidance. We will continue to be involved as needed for consultation and support.
  • February 2024: Plans are underway to participate in temple events to celebrate JDAIM (Jewish Disabilities Awareness Month). This might include a reading, and a teaching during Friday and/or Saturday services. 

Contact: Maxine Haron or Carrie Fuchs

J-LOFT

We are happy to report that thanks to the 192 volunteers who showed up, rolled up their sleeves, and together made:

  • 213 spinach lasagnas
  • 142 cinnamon swirl breads
  • 120 soup jars
  • 80 Stars of Hope
  • 30 pillowcases for Project Linus
  • 12 desk and shelf sets for students in shelters

All products have been donated to SMOC (South Middlesex Opportunity Council) and its network of shelters, Jewish Family Services of MetroWestFather Bill’s and MainSpringProject LinusHarmony Grove School, and Project Soup.

MetroWest Free Medical Program

As many of you know, the Metrowest Free Medical Program as had a long, close relationship with Beth El dating back to the Program’s founding in 2004. The Program saw patients in the Sanctuary most Tuesday evenings until we had to take a hiatus due to Covid in 2021.  Many of you have volunteered with us in the past and some are still volunteering with us in our new location at 246 Maple St. in Marlborough. We continue to see uninsured and underinsured patients who would not have access to health care without our Program. 

These are our current services for which we need volunteers:

  • Adult Medicine Clinic operates most Tuesday evenings 5:30-8:30 PM. 
  • Women’s Health Clinic operates most Thursday evenings 5:30-8:30 PM. 
  • We also operate a once-a-month Vision Clinic on Monday evenings 5:30-8:30 PM at the offices of Lexington Eye Associates, 534 Boston Post Road in Sudbury.  

The following volunteers are needed: 

Licensed Clinicians

  • Physicians
  • Nurses and Nurse Practitioners
  • Physician Assistants
  • Social Workers 

Other Volunteers for the Clinics

  • Medical assistants and scribes
  • Insurance Navigators to help patients apply for health insurance
  • Interpreters, especially for Portuguese
  • Administrative support volunteers

Other Volunteer Opportunities

In addition to helping in the clinics, there are many other ways you can support the Program.  For example:

  • Writing newsletters and press releases
  • Researching funding opportunities and proposal writing
  • Web site maintenance and development
  • General administrative support

To get more information and to let us know you’re interested, please click here. Updates on this program can be found in the monthly newsletter posted on their website at metrowestfreemedicalprogram.org.

Sanctuary Committee

The main work of the Sanctuary Committee recently has been organizing our annual HIAS Refugee Weekend earlier in February. To read about the weekend, click here. This all has been the work of many people, but the main organizers, who deserve a great amount of credit, are Ann Kramer and Ann Barysh. In addition, Ann Kramer has been gathering donations of clothing for Jewish Family Services. And quite a lot has come in!

Next month, we’ll be planning our support for the HIAS Spring Advocacy Week in early April.  This will be particularly critical this year, since Congress seems well on the way to passing a dreadful anti-immigrant program, and we need to work with others to change our government’s policy — not an easy task, and unfortunately, not a new one either.

Contact: Carl Offner