Tikkun Olam Update – December 2022

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 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

  • At November’s Antiracism Working Group meeting, we had an opportunity to learn about/discuss the topic of how antisemitism and racism are different, similar, and related.
    • Prior to the session, people were asked to view: The Heart of White Nationalism, Eric Ward (2 minute video). 
    • Together we viewed two excerpts from a panel discussion on antisemitism: AntiSemitism in America, Manhattan JCC, Jan 29, 2019 (2-hour video).
      • Dove Kent excerpt: (8 minutes)  start at 1:08:57 and stop at 1:16:18
      • Derek Black excerpt: (5 minutes)  start at 26:35 and stop at 31:11
  • We are in discussions with Allison, VP for Tikkun Olam,  about bringing an antiracism program to pre-K to grade 7 Beth El students and families. 
  • A five-part online workshop for Beth El members and friends – Our Liberation is Bound Together: Combating Racism, Antisemitism and White Supremacy – was completed in November. Twenty-four people participated in the workshop, which was led by Kavod Boston. Appreciation to Lisa G for organizing this workshop.
  • Judy and Karen are in ongoing contact with the Sudbury Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Commission and other organizations in Sudbury about representation of Indigenous Peoples in Sudbury public markers. A community forum on this topic is  tentatively scheduled for Sunday, April 2, 2023, from 2:00-4:00 in the Goodnow Library Community Room.

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

Blood Drive

To sign up to donate please click here.   

Shirley Hui coordinates the blood drives. Stay tuned for information on the next drive!


We have:

  • continued researching how to disrupt the Mapping Project – now looking to expose the anonymous authors
  • acted promptly following an antisemitic incident in Stow.  At a vigil organized by the local UU church, Rabbi Josh spoke along with many others – local politicians, ministers, (interim) Rabbi Braham David of Beth Elohim, Acton, and representatives of ADL and JFS.  This has led to a relationship with the UU minister and a move for the Stow Select Board to adopt the IHRA Definition of Antisemitism as a first step in educating community leaders 
  • advanced the development of a clear mission statement
  • participated with a statewide group of synagogue antisemitism leaders
  • continued with prior activities

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 list-serv by emailing greenteam-subscribe@members.bethelsudbury.org.

Inclusion Committee

   The following were tasks completed in November/December as of Dec 1.

  • Flyers were posted online and formal registration took place.
  • Speaker NAMI- Sunday, November 13th @ 12:00 
    • Attended by 13 congregants in person, and 9 congregants on zoom. Speaker very articulate and connected well with viewers. A video was also shown. Response reported was very positive overall. Resources were shared about NAMI. 
  • Sarah Roisen-Mental Health through the Arts, Sunday, December 4th, 2-3:30 pm. Registration in process, deadline Dec. 1.  As of morning of Dec 1 we have: 4 on zoom, 5 in person attending. Materials will be made available to participants on zoom sent by the presenter. In person attendees will be given materials. The attempt is to create a group, led by the presenter, with the view of zoomers added on a screen to help create a more cohesive group.  Cohost will be Cat on zoom. 

   Future Programs in the process of being developed:

  • Dr. Susan Noonan-Sunday, February 12, 10:15
  • Visual Midrash-March 12, 1-4 pm Speakers TBD 
  •  TBD , Sunday, May 7th, 2 pm
  • JDAIM February 2023:
  • Alex as a speaker: Chanting Torah. Valued member.
  • Friday night speaker series.
  • Susan Noonan February 12.

   Committee met on Nov 20th Zoom meeting to discuss related issues:

Gender Neutral Bathrooms: Susan continues to be a liaison with board and support efforts. Architect will have plans in mid December. Working to finalize efforts to have temporary solutions, such as signage. Reaching out to Keshet for more information (Maxine helping on this). Meanwhile, some money is committed for construction but also we need to fundraise, and/or find grants for the remainder of funds needed.

Zoom hosting: Cat continues to be coordinator/committee chair with Marty.  Continued efforts to get hosts to sign up, for services as well as events. Presently still do not have enough people committing to host for services. 

Maxine Haron Co-Chair Inclusion Committee

Carrie Fuchs, Co-Chair Inclusion Committee

Committee members: Susan Tohn, Cat Kaner, Roberta Unger


Preparations for the MetroWest MLK Day of Service are in full swing, and we hope to have many Beth El teens and families volunteer again this year.

The event will take place on Sunday, January 15, and will be hosted by J-LOFT and Volunteer Ventures MA. This year, volunteers will be able to choose between making- and-baking together at Temple Beth Am, or with kits at home (like last year).

In the photo – Barry Glass from Volunteer Ventures MA and Shoni Aronovich from J-LOFT accepting a $2,000 donation from DCU, towards the MLK event.

(Image description: Everyone is standing behind a waist high wooden structure with shelving. There is a pillar behind that has a poster. There are windows in the background and gray tile.)

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

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 go to https://metrowestfreemedicalprogram.org/volunteer .

Updates on this program can be found in their monthly newsletter posted on their website: https://metrowestfreemedicalprogram.org .

Sanctuary Committee

  • We’re looking forward to joining HIAS in a “refugee shabbat” the weekend of
    Feb. 3-5.  We’re thinking of a number of things we’d like to do then, among
    which are:
  • A real introduction of the Ayala family to the Congregation.Four of us will be meeting with the Ayala family this coming Sunday to have a very informal and friendly chat with them, just to help start getting us all used to seeing each other.  We’ll likely follow up on that with somewhat larger sessions, hopefully culminating in something for everyone on refugee shabbat.

    The Ayalas, as you probably know, are currently in the process of appealing the rejection of their asylum application, and we want to use this in particular as a way of raising some money to support the appeal, and also to encourage our fellow congregants to write letters of support for the family.

  • We’d like to have a “coffee house” that weekend as well.  There are lots of things it could include:  personal stories, songs, …, we’re just getting started.
  • We successfully supported the “Yes on Question 4” campaign.  Our “moderate Republican Governor” Baker — who initially vetoed the Family Mobility Act, has proposed details for its implementation that in effect sabotage it.  We are asking the congregation to write in support of the original intent of the act.
  • We are also asking the congregation to write in support of Afghan refugees, who have arrived in our country but have yet to be granted legal status.
  • Tania Vitvitsky, who spoke last Spring at Beth El, has just returned from a couple of months in Ukraine.  We’ll be meeting with her, and we think people would like to hear from her again; so we’ll look into setting something up.

   Contact: Carl Offner (carl.offner@comcast.net)

Sudbury Community Food Pantry

The Sudbury Community Food Pantry is busy feeding about 300 clients monthly (understanding they can shop as much as weekly); and the free home delivery service orchestrated and managed by Deb Oppenheimer for clients unable to otherwise access the Pantry, is similarly quite busy.  If anyone is interested in volunteering to help pack groceries for those clients getting home deliveries, on Wednesdays (once or multiple times per month), please give Deb Oppenheimer a call (at 978-443-4972) and all questions will be welcome and answered. 

Thanks to everyone for your wonderful work! If I’ve missed anyone’s Tikkun Olam efforts at Beth El, please let me know. We’d like to share the news with the community! If something here interests you, and you don’t see contact information, let me know and I’m happy to connect you.


Allison Alter (she/her), VP Tikkun Olam   tikkunolambethel@gmail.com  Beth El’s Tikkun Olam web page