The three pillars of Judaism are Torah (study), Avodah (prayer), and Gemilut Chasadim (acts of loving kindness). Rabbi Akiba declared study to be “the mission of Judaism only if it leads to action.” The Talmud declares it is “forbidden to pray in a room without windows, for when we pray, we are to hear the world’s weeping; when we pray, we are to see the poor huddled at the Temple’s gates.” We believe G’milut Chasadim is the third pillar mentioned because Torah and Avodah lead to it. Judaism cannot exist without the third pillar.
The goal of the Social Action committee is to enhance and maintain Temple Beth Or as a socially aware congregation, bringing activities related to tikkun olam, or transforming ourselves and our world, to our members. Our goal is to have these activities encompass internal, local, national, and international issues. We welcome participation of all our Temple members and encourage you to give us your ideas and time.
The following are the goals of the Social Action Committee
- Education – To raise the awareness of the congregation and greater community, where applicable, regarding social justice issues through timely information, Jewish teachings and commentary, and discussion.
- Action – To encourage and facilitate congregants of all ages to participate as a group and/ or individually in social justice activities. This includes environmental stewardship. In the past we have encouraged congregants to bring batteries and light bulbs to the Temple and the committee takes care of recycling. We also facilitated recycling and composting and using reusable kitchen ware when possible. Those measures are currently on hold because of restrictions based on public health response to the Coronavirus but will be restarted when it is safe to do so.
- Inter-group Cooperation – To partner, where appropriate, with other faith-based and community organizations in the pursuit of social justice.
- Tzedakah – To offer the congregation avenues of monetary giving to organizations engaged in social justice.
- Advocacy – To offer avenues of, and encourage congregational participation in active public espousal of social justice issues.