ViA Isaiah: Temple Isaiah’s Values in Action
A “mitzvah is where God and man meet.” – Abraham Joshua Heschel
Introducing VIA ISAIAH—Temple Isaiah’s Values In Action. Through Kesher Isaiah, temple’s community organizing initiative, we learned that our congregation wants to engage more deeply in social action! We are a diverse community with diverse interests and abilities. EVERY member has something to contribute! In our first year, we will focus on HUNGER, HOMELESSNESS, and EDUCATION and our goal will be 100% participation in social action.
SOCIAL ACTION FRAMEWORK
Introduction: A new social action framework has emerged from our three year Kesher Community Organizing Initiative. Through the nearly 800 community conversations, we have crystallized shared values and concerns affecting our community. We have identified three focus areas to start: Education, Hunger, and Homelessness.
Program Overview: The Social Action Programs will have two facets: Direct Service and Root Cause Analysis. Within direct service, through a vetting process, we have identified organizations and/or places within the focus areas where our members can provide a wide range of necessary services. By specifying organizations and engagement opportunities, we can foster interaction among congregants, working together in areas to which they are drawn.
Each of the organizations has a temple liaison to facilitate volunteer opportunities and to promote involvement. A copy of the new Social Action List, with liaisons, organization information, and engagement opportunities is attached.
The second facet, Root Cause Analysis, seeks to identify root causes within each focus area and potential community-wide solutions and/or actions—such as legislative ideas and public actions. The outcomes will depend on investigations to uncover areas not yet addressed, with the hope that the TI community can craft creative solutions for new or enduring problems.
Goals: In developing and implementing the Programs described above, we will realize the following goals:
a. Establishing within the TI community an active culture of tikkun olam.
b. Affirming within TI members the idea that doing a “mitzvah” can be a regular occurrence, not a once-in-a-while activity.
c. Expanding our community involvement on many levels, recognizing that participation can be individual, in groups, in families, and with all working together.
Our initial effort towards this goal will be to seek a pledge from all members during the High Holy Days to commit time, talent and/or “treasure” toward social action activities. The Attached Social Action List can help make the commitment easier. (People will also be free to select activities not on the list.) The Clergy will integrate social action and the communal pledge into their High Holiday sermons. The social action pledge request will come directly out of our Jewish teachings.
Benefits: While providing tikkun olam, the new Social Action framework is beneficial to Temple Isaiah in the following ways:
a. Strengthening Community: The new framework provides more points of commonality. First, the focus areas will intersect the groups by which congregants self-organize—for example, participation in a food drive or Urban Farmers Harvest invites involvement by virtue of interest and is irrespective of age, skill, family, etc. Second, because participation will be more “regular,” participants may connect in a meaningful way through love of a shared activity.
b. Developing Leadership: The new framework provides opportunities to identify people, young and old, with skills to share. An array of more digestible projects, have been developed, enabling new people to step up into leadership roles.
c. Being Inclusive: While people join TI for many reasons, the inclusive nature of the Social Action Framework will establish a new community wide identity of shared accomplishments, consistent with our Jewish values.
d. Transferring Values: Because the new Framework will foster more intergenerational activities, we can make manifest the meaning of l’dor v’dor and share stories and values to instill appreciation for the benefits accruing over time to a community working together.
Loaves and Fishes of Contra Costa
Perpetual Food Drive for Food Pantry
Click here for more information.
Loaves and Fishes of Contra Costa operates 5 dining rooms from Martinez to Oakley where it serves free hot lunch Monday-Friday. Join fellow congregants to prepare food on the 3rd Thursday of every month from 9-11am at the catering kitchen in Pittsburg.
Temple Isaiah Mt. View Shelter dinner week
March 11-15, 2013.
The Urban Farmers
The Urban Farmers focuses on feeding the hungry local produce harvested from backyard fruit trees and gardens. Donations go to local hunger relief agencies.
• Donate excess fruit by registering your trees at (415) 806-7005 or www.theurbanfarmers.org.
• Purchase a fruit tree from The Urban Farmers to feed future generations. Plant the tree on your property or donate it to a needy family.
• Join a harvest team and have fun harvesting backyard fruit.
• Help from home with important tasks, such as responding to e-mails or writing articles.
Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA)
Hunger Root Cause Analysis Team
A Root Cause Analysis team will look at Hunger and Homelessness and its causes and implications. Collaboration with other community partners will complement our internal efforts.
Temple Isaiah Winter Nights Shelter for homeless families.
December each year
Hundreds of volunteers are needed for: set up/take down; meals and food; activities for kids and families; Holiday celebrations. More information at http://ccinterfaithhousing.org/
Contra Costa Interfaith Housing
CCIH’s mission is to provide permanent, affordable housing and vital support services to homeless and at-risk families and individuals in Contra Costa.
• Join fellow congregants for fall a back-to-school supply drive.
• Volunteer to help with their gala each year
• Homework Club: Adult tutors are needed for children of all ages in the after school program: Mo, Tu & Th. 2:30-5:00 pm; Wed. 1-5 pm.
• Volunteers needed for one-time events and projects such as food for tenant dinners; collecting supplies; garden and work projects; office volunteers for mailings; committee work for fund raising.
Wardrobe for Opportunity
Wardrobe for Opportunity works in partnership with the community to assist low-income individuals to “Find a Job, Keep a Job, and Build a Career.”
• Thank you to everyone who participated in the professional Clothing & Accessory Drive Sunday, October 7, 2012.
• Donations arrive weekly at WFO. Join us for a “get organized” Sunday at WFO in the Spring.
• Interview Workshops – Current/former professionals needed to provide practice interview opportunities. Workshop dates and times to be announced.
• Mentorship Program – Seeking current/former professionals to join WFO’s mentoring program. 90 day program with monthly one-on-one meetings.
Habitat for Humanity
Habitat for Humanity revitalizes neighborhoods by building affordable and sustainable housing.
Share the magic of books, and the excitement of reading with a child for just one hour/week.
• Thank you to all who participated in the free tutor training held at Temple Isaiah, October 15, 6:30-9pm.
• Other schools include: El Monte, Concord; Fair Oaks, Pleasant Hill; Buena Vista Elementary, Walnut Creek; East Bay, Grand Ave., Oakland
Click here for upcoming tutor trainings.
March for Books - Book Drive at Temple Isaiah for the Jewish Coalition for Literacy
Sunday, April 21 from 9am-1pm in the Adult Lounge
Temple Isaiah’s Angel Network