Social Justice Initiative
We're starting with a Listening Campaign to understand what we care about as a community. To attend a House Meeting, you can sign up here.
Drawing inspiration and obligation from our sacred Jewish texts, from the teachings of the Reform Movement, and the tumultuous times in which we live, the Larchmont Temple Board of Trustees, in concert with our Clergy, has decided to lend our voice, our energy and resources to making the world – whether that means the Town of Mamaroneck, Westchester County, NY State or the entire country – a more just place for all who live here.
During the Spring of this year, a Social Justice task force was convened to draw up a Social Justice Initiative Policy. With this critical foundation, a 10-member Social Justice Leadership Group was formed. It includes Ellen Blumstein, Seth Friedman, David Kahn, Leah Katznelson, Lisa Kaufmann, Jayne Lipman, Jennifer Mitchell, Lynn Reichgott, Linda Riefberg and Ellen Zimmerman, with Rabbi Miller as the advisor.
So, what’s the difference between Social Justice and Social Action? Social action meets the world where it is and includes such things as making sandwiches for the homeless and participating in clothing drives for people in need. Social action is about assistance or even just awareness. Social justice is about advocacy or trying to change the world into the way it ought to be. Creating alliances, lobbying legislators, and changing policies are efforts around social justice.
What is the Social Justice Initiative about? We are committed to these core elements:
1. Bringing together LT members based on shared interests and concerns about the state of our world, from local to global.
2. Educating ourselves and each other about the range of perspectives on a given issue of justice, from Jewish wisdom to policy experts and other relevant sources.
3. Organizing collective action and advocacy to address root causes of social injustice and to build a more fair and righteous society. As people of faith, we find reason to bring our values into the public arena.
What’s next for the SJI and how can I be a part of/support the efforts of this group? The ten-member Leadership Group referenced above formed in June and met for the first time in July. Our focus right now is determining goals, timelines and deliverables as well as some of the functional responsibilities.
Here’s where you come in: The Leadership Group is just 10 people. LT will never have the impact desired unless the wider LT community gets directly involved. Our next step is to hold a series of house meetings starting immediately after the High Holidays (Sep 20 – Oct 20). The primary goal of these gatherings is to learn what Social Justice issues are foremost on the mind of our community. Of course, these meetings will also be an opportunity to discuss the concept of Social Justice and share what other congregations and the wider URJ movement is doing/has done in this area.
Join us! If you would like to be a part of LT’s Social Justice Initiative in any way, please contact either one of the Social Justice Leadership Group Co-Chairs, Jennifer Mitchell (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Lisa Kaufmann (email@example.com). Please specify if you would be willing to host and/or attend a house meeting. And know that hosting a house meeting means all you need to do is open your home to 8-12 of your fellow LT congregants for 90 minutes which could be during the day or one evening.
If there are issues in the world keeping you up at night – particularly those concerning the treatment of the most vulnerable among us -- then please join us and lend your support to our efforts as we seek to address these most urgent and pressing issues.
To read the full Social Justice Initiative Policy, click here.