I don’t want your fast and your sacrifice. I want you to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—when you see the naked, to
clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood.”    –Isaiah 58:5-7

Temple Beth Or recently received a grant through Seattle University’s School of Theology and Ministry to address the crisis of family homelessness.

The ORacle, June-July 2012 Issue

This project brings together fourteen faith communities throughout Snohomish, King, and Pierce Counties. Because of recent budget cuts, more responsibility is falling on faith communities for support services. I am very much looking forward to building relationships and partnering with other local faith communities as we address this crisis. The other grant recipients include:

Ahmadiyya Community, Lynnwood
All Saints Catholic Church, Puyallup
Church of the Nazarene, Puyallup
Islamic Center, Shoreline
New Life Church, Renton
St. Mark’s by the Narrows, Tacoma
Temple De Hirsch-Sinai, Seattle/Bellevue
Alki United Church of Christ, West Seattle
United Church, Arlington
First Presbyterian, Everett
Masjid Al-Karim, Seattle
Peoples Institutional Baptist Church, Seattle
Temple Beth El, Tacoma

In addition, the grant offers community partnering in the Church Council of Greater Seattle, Associated Ministries (in Tacoma), and the Interfaith Association of Northwest Washington. This partnership allows grant recipients to utilize the expertise of organizations that are already fighting family homelessness.

The specific requirements of the grant are quite open, although the emphasis is on congregational education and advocacy rather than direct service. Temple Beth Or’s Social Action Committee is working to develop a project that may include speakers, multimedia experiences, and direct service. Temple Beth Or has up to $10,000 for our project. If you are interested in being a part of the Social Action Committee, please contact Naomi Katsh or Ward Hinds at social.action@templebethor.org  .

The Eternal commands us to provide for those who cannot speak for themselves with respect and dignity. Our tradition offers a path to draw close to the Divine through action, not just through prayer. There is a moving story about the connection between religion and social justice. After participating in the civil rights march in Selma, Alabama, Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel said, “It felt like my feet were praying.” Prayer is not just the communication we have with God; it is also the work we do to make God’s values real to the world. I believe the Eternal receives both kinds of prayer with equal joy.

Eternal Source of Peace, we thank You for the sense of justice You have implanted within each of us. Grant us the fortitude to pursue justice no matter how difficult that task may be. We are grateful for the many privileges we have and the opportunity to help others. Guide us, that we may succeed in our mission to perfect the world and learn from others.

May we, by our thoughts and our deeds, hasten the time when wrong and violence shall cease, and justice shall prevail.

Livracha, With Blessings,
Rabbi Jessica Kessler Marshall