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.
Each quarter, the Social Action Committee designates an organization as the recipient of funds deposited by our members in the Temple Beth Or Tzedakah Box. This quarter, the recipient is the Interfaith Association of Northwest Washington, consisting of faith groups and other community members united in action to ensure that families experiencing homelessness have access to the economic, social, and holistic support needed to overcome poverty and thrive.
To this end, the Beth Or Social Action committee will facilitate:
- 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.
- 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.