Central to Temple Beth Or’s reason for being is the call for tikkun olam – repairing our shattered world. We are committed to creating a more just and peaceful world through g’milut hasadim … acts of loving kindness and compassion, and through tzedekah … sharing our own bounty with those in need.
Our congregation participates in a wide variety of social action activities within our congregation, in our local community, and the world community. We hope you will find your passion among the diverse listing below; but if not, please contact our Social Action Committee – they are always eager to discover new paths we can travel together as we help heal our world.
“If I am not for myself, who will be for me?
If I am only for myself, what am I?
If not now, when?”… Hillel
‘Henaynu Caring Committee’ and ‘Helping Hands’
The Heaynu Caring Committee and Helping Hands live the adage, ‘Charity begins at home.’ Both of these groups provide our congregation a wonderful opportunity to connect with one another through the mitzvah of feeding both body and soul during those times when we most need support.
Henaynu is the Hebrew phrase that means, “WE ARE HERE.” When our rabbis hear of a situation in the lives of our members where they could use support, they will ask if it would be okay to share their contact info with our Henaynu Committee. If they agree, we’ll send out an email to the group letting you know who we’re contacting and why. All that we ask of you: Send an email, note, or phone call . Click on the ‘Hands’ link below for details of how the committee works, guidance on what to say, and to sign up.
Helping Hands is a signature program of our Sisterhood Auxilliary, whereby members provide food and emotional nourishment to families in times of need, such as following a death, during a health crisis, or some ongoing difficulty. Sisterhood also prides itself on being present in supporting families through their joyful occasions, too!
Our Social Action committee plans a Mitzvah Day each year. Some of the projects sure to be on the list are the ever popular work with the Interfaith Food Shuttle, Stop Hunger Now, annual TBO Blood Drive, landscaping at the Jewish community Center and other non-profits, and working with Habitat for Humanity. Look for new programs this year including Brotherhood Adopt a Highway, young children visiting senior centers, and lots more in the works.
Interfaith Food Shuttle
For more than 20 years, Temple Beth Or has been collecting food and monetary donations for the Interfaith Food Shuttle. We collect food throughout the year, but a signature of the program is our annual Yom Kippur Food Drive, which, in 2011, collected over two tons of food to feed Raleigh’s less fortunate. Youth from our Religious School help staff the Food Shuttle trucks … hoisting, sorting, and stacking thousands of cans, boxes, and packages of food stuffs.
StepUp Ministry is a non-profit organization that prepares adults and children to live stable and productive lives. Temple members partner with a family weekly to provide counsel on life skills and job training. Our Sisterhood members make a meal once a month to serve the 130 plus family members in the program. TBO also contributes some of the clothing and school supplies collected on Mitzvah Day.
Habitat for Humanity
Temple Beth Or members have long worked with Habitat for Humanity. Join fellow builders by volunteering with Habitat Wake. This is a fun, hands-on opportunity to support Habitat’s mission and build our community while building your skills and relationships. No experience is required! A highlight this year was TBO’s participation in Habitat’s first Abraham Build project, a collaborative effort of Jewish, Christian and Muslim faiths to fund and build a home for a low-income family.
Meals on Wheels
TBO sponsors a joint project with Beth Meyer Synagogue to provide Meals on Wheels for Habitat Volunteers. Our volunteers also work with Hadassah to deliver meals in the community.
Food Drive for the AIDS Alliance
Temple members collect food and monetary donations quarterly at local Harris Teeter stores.
“The world rests upon three things: Torah, service to God, and showing loving kindness (chessed)” (Pirkei Avot 1:2) … Simon the Just
A key to the success of our tikkun olam efforts is keeping ourselves abreast of needs/injustices we can address. To that end, we host regular speakers to inform us of the implications of various social issues, such as NC Representative Rick Glazier addressing the negative impacts of North Carolina’s Amendment One, a discriminatory measure that will have negative impacts on families and children in non-traditional relationships; and Charity Magnuson on Human Trafficking, the second largest and fastest growing form of criminal enterprise in the world.
For the last 20 years, the TBO Preschool has adopted Growing Together, a non-profit preschool serving low-income children in downtown Raleigh. As their “sister” school, the Temple community helps with school supplies and food for the school.
Support a School in Guatemala
Temple Beth Or partners with the Nueva Generación, a non-profit 501(c)(3) created by TBO member, Cindy Schneider. The organization provides scholarships for Mayan children living in extreme poverty to attend school in their village. A preschool has also been established as well as a co-op for the local Mayan women who weave kippot that are then sold to our members and community. Outreach trips have been organized for temple members and youth. For more information, contact Cindy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Community Health Education
Temple Beth or offers Health Education Seminars and Health Fairs which are open to the community. This year’s program was a discussion of cutting-edge advances and recommendations in Cardiology by Temple member and cardiologist Dr. Joel Schneider. The program covered the latest strategies for patients with established heart disease. Attendees who brought their most recent cholesterol numbers were given individualized Risk Profiles, an indicator of ever having a cardiac event.
Walks Supporting Social and Health Causes
TBO is well represented by members in various community walks for social and health issues, such as the Walk for National Alliance on Mental Health, Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, and our own Run with the Rabbis.