Social Action

The mission of the Social Action committee at Bet Shalom is to educate congregants about social justice issues related to Jewish values, and to promote congregation-wide engagement in the work of tikkun olam, the healing of our world.

Listed below are our five pillars of Social Action.

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Resources for Minneapolis

Needs for direct donations are changing hourly. Please look for the most recent updates on their pages:
  • We Love Lake Street is collecting donations to help small businesses rebuild
  • Nechama is an organization that provides a Jewish Response to Disaster. They are in the process of creating a response effort here in Minneapolis. Information about this project is not ready yet but you can click here to express your interest in volunteering.
  • Black Visions Collective: learn, donate, and lift up voices in the MN Black community
  • The Reform Movement is committed to fighting structural racism. Click here to learn more about the work of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism to create change
  • The URJ is proud to partner with the NAACP through their campaign, #wearedonedying. Consider signing this petition for justice for George Floyd.
  • We are also proud of our many local Jewish Community partners.
  • Click here for a statement from JCRC and the Minneapolis and St Paul Jewish Federations.
  • Click here to learn about the racial justice work JCA is engaged in.

Book/Article Recommendations for Adults:
How to be an Antiracist by Ibram X Kendi
White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo
Skin in the Game by Eric Ward

Book/Video Recommendations for young children:
Something Happened in our Town by Marianne Celano
The Day you Begin by Jacqueline Woodson

Book Recommendations for older children and teens:
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Dear Martin by Nic Stone

COVID-19 Resources

Need Help? Get Support and Resources

Serving residents of Hopkins, Minnetonka, Excelsior, Shorewood, Deephaven, Greenwood, and Woodland through Food Services, Employment and Emergency Assistance among other resources.

https://www.icafoodshelf.org/get-help

CLICK HERE to read more about ICA.

STEP welcomes St. Louis Park residents in need of assistance with food, clothing, transportation, or connection to other services. 

http://stepslp.org/get-assistance/

Do you need help accessing food? Get Help with location emergency food services in your community. 

https://www.2harvest.org/who–how-we-help/how-to-get-help

Provides a comprehensive list of resources to those experiencing challenges relating to Unemployment, Food Insecurity, Childcare, Paying Heat and Utilities and Paying Rent or Mortgage.

https://www.mncovidresponse.com/resources

Provides financial support to services workers struggling amidst the coronavirus crisis.
https://ofwemergencyfund.org/help

Provides financial support to services workers struggling amidst the coronavirus crisis.
https://ofwemergencyfund.org/help

Volunteer or Donate

Federation’s first priority is simple: ensuring our local Jewish agencies, synagogues, and schools can continue to do their important work—especially right now.

https://give.jewishminneapolis.org/campaign/covid-19-community-response/c277659

The best way to help right now is to donate financially and/or to organize a fund drive. For every dollar you donate, we are able to purchase up to 10 times the amount of food as an agency as you can as an individual.  As we prepare to provide more canned food to our neighbors in need, we also anticipate an increased need in services for rent and utilities assistance. 

https://www.icafoodshelf.org/

CLICK HERE to read more about ICA.

Each year, STEP distributes about half a million meals’ worth of food (600,000 lbs) to neighbors in need. STEP is well positioned to respond to the current crisis. By joining with STEP, community members support the most efficient and equitable distribution of food to neighbors in need.

http://stepslp.org/covid-19-pandemic-response/

Donate Now to Provide Fresh Meals to Minnesotans in Need. Your gift today will be matched dollar-for-dollar to double the impact of providing healthy meals to Minnesotans in need. Help ensure that our hungry neighbors in need have less to worry about during this crisis.

https://www.loavesandfishesmn.org/

We are very proud to promote an effort organized by one of Bet Shalom’s own teens, Maya Mor! Join fellow members of your community in a virtual 5k run/walk. Upon registration, each participant makes a donation that will benefit the Greater Twin Cities United Way COVID-19 Response & Recovery fund. The fund provides immediate support such as food, shelter, childcare, sanitary and hygiene supplies and financial assistance to those most vulnerable affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Participants run or walk the 5k on their own and have the option to submit their results to the website. Each person who donates $10.00 or more will receive a bib to celebrate their participation and contribution!

https://stronger-together-virtual-5k.square.site/

https://www.instagram.com/strongertogethervirtual5k/

Charity organizations, particularly food shelves and pantries, are struggling to keep up with an increased demand for services and fewer volunteers. Here are places you can donate to across Minnesota.

https://www.startribune.com/how-to-lend-a-helping-hand-during-the-covid-19-crisis/568876122/

https://www.mprnews.org/story/2020/03/16/here-are-some-ways-to-help-others-during-the-pandemic

A community-based nonprofit in North Minneapolis providing meals for families experiencing additional economic and food access strains during this challenging time. Support efforts to ensure that all in our community are able to eat fresh, wholesome meals.

https://themntable.com/

Actively collaborating with community partners to distribute nourishing meals to MN residents in need.

https://appetiteforchangemn.org/donate/

We provide an essential service and will continue to meet the need for emergency meals in our community throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. 

https://www.2harvest.org/

These items help care for their vulnerable seniors. Please take a look, help if you can and share with your friends. Items can be dropped off curbside.

https://files.constantcontact.com/7bb5683e001/968fdd60-8351-4fb7-af94-8c1336fd0eb9.pdf

Support facility residents and staff by donating to invest in PPE, cleaning services, resident programming and adequate staffing.

https://giving.sholom.com/sslpage.aspx?pid=391

(Recommended by Jewish Community Action and Immigration Law Center of MN) – Pays criminal bail and immigration bond for those who cannot afford to as we seek to end discriminatory, coercive, and oppressive jailing.

https://minnesotafreedomfund.org   

The MN Immigrant Families Fund is a grassroots fundraising effort to support immigrant families who don’t qualify for local, state or federal support, and for those who, because of COVID-19, may be pushed even deeper into the shadows with little or few resources available to meet their immediate needs.

https://tinyurl.com/navigatemn

Working to provide support for refugees of all nationalities, religions, and ethnic origins.  The coronavirus pandemic is a devastating development for refugees and asylum seekers around the world. Donate to support resettlement assistance and legal aid to refugees and asylum seekers.

https://act.hias.org/page/8161/donate/1

100% of the proceeds from this page will go as direct relief to workers in the food service industry. Any amount, big or small, will help the restaurant workers who are now without income for the foreseeable future.

http://tinyurl.com/ROCfund

By contributing to the Coronavirus Relief Fund, your donations will be spread equally across a list of organizations that are working to support more vulnerable members of the community who need extra support during the coronavirus pandemic.

https://secure.actblue.com/donate/coronavirus-relief 

Tipped workers and other service workers were already struggling. In this crisis, they need our help. We’re providing cash assistance to restaurant workers, car service drivers, delivery workers, personal service workers and more who need the money they aren’t getting to survive.

https://ofwemergencyfund.org/

Provides services workers struggling amidst the coronavirus crisis. We’re trying to call every single person who applies for assistance — and are recruiting volunteers to help.
https://ofwemergencyfund.org/volunteer

The closure of bars, restaurants, and venues means that these vital members of our community are no longer able to earn wages and take-home tips. It is imperative that we as an inclusive, amazing, extended beverage industry community, make sure that our bartenders can go back to serving drinks once all of this is over.

https://tinyurl.com/usbgbeap

Health care organizations, including Allina Health, are in need of additional masks to help meet ongoing health care needs and to help conserve existing personal protective equipment (PPE) for providers engaged in the coronavirus (COVID-19) response. Additionally, Allina Health welcomes notes of gratitude and encouragement that they will share in a safe manner with caregivers.

https://www.allinahealth.org/about-us/newsroom/2020/allina-health-calls-on-public-for-donations-of-face-masks

CLICK HERE to donate to Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative and support their efforts to shelter their residents.

Advocate

As a collaborative of congregations united in action, Beacon creates homes and advance equitable housing.*

https://www.beaconinterfaith.org/donate/

*If you are interested in getting involved in advocacy with this partner, please email Stephen Ziff at dolanziff@msn.com 

The JRLC fosters thoughtful discussion, based on our shared faith traditions, to impact policy decisions at the Minnesota Capitol.  Our members meet with legislators, attend town hall meetings, send emails and make calls on issues to make sure social justice issues are part of the policy discussions impacting our state.

https://jrlc.org/get-involved/donate

A People-Centered Response to COVID-19 Public Health Emergency

https://www.mncovidresponse.com/

Five Pillars of Our Social Action Committee

Homelessness

Bet Shalom is a proud partner congregation of Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative, helping families who are experiencing homelessness secure affordable housing.

For weekly updates from Beacon CLICK HERE.

Bet Shalom as a collaborative congregation with Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative is supporting Beacons effort to build an affordable housing complex in Hopkins. Please read Vista 44 Materials  and come to either or both the Hopkin’s City Planners meeting and the Hopkin’s City Counsel meeting.

Racial and Social Disparities

CLICK HERE to learn about JCA Decriminalizing Communities Campaign.

To learn more about this organization, and how you can become involved CLICK HERE.

The Social Action Committee would like to distribute information urging the Israeli government’s support of the migration and care for Ethiopia’s remaining Jewry.

Harlan Jacobs ( founder and president of Genesis Business Centers, Ltd.) spoke a Social Action Committee meeting about the humanitarian crisis facing 8000 Ethiopian Jews who are left in Adis Ababa.

Harlan’s request is to have people write letters and send them by “snail mail” to Israel’s Counsul General in Chicago to help advocate for Israel to support accepting these Ethiopian Jews in Israel.

CLICK HERE for a draft letter to The Honorable Aviv Ezra.

To read more about this issue CLICK HERE.

Domestic Gun Violence

Working together to prevent gun violence. CLICK HERE to learn more.

Demand smarter gun laws now. CLICK HERE to learn more.

Hunger and Food Insecurity

ICA Food Shelf serves our people in Hopkins, Minnetonka, Excelsior, Shorewood, Deephaven, Greenwood, and Woodland, Minnesota. Bet Shalom is a proud partner congregation of ICA.

CLICK HERE to read more about ICA.

To read more about this organization, CLICK HERE. Bet Shalom actively volunteers with Loaves and Fishes, serving meals at shelters. Check back here for opportunities to help.

Feed-Me Farms is a local, organic farm, home-based at Bet Shalom Synagogue, starting its first season in the Spring of 2020. Made up of multiple small farm plots in Minnetonka and Hopkins, growing on yards and lots of neighbors and friends. The mission of Feed-Me Farms is to decrease chemical pesticide and fertilizer usage on grass lawns by converting them to organic, food-producing lots. Owned and operated by Jake Jarecki, a member of Bet Shalom and alumni of the religious school and confirmation class of 2007.

As a partnership with Bet Shalom, Feed-Me Farms will be donating fresh produce every week to the ICA Food Shelf. Feed-Me Farms will be providing monthly community programming hours to the congregation in the form of preschool and religious school garden field trips, gardening and cooking classes for the public, and more. Feed-Me Farms will be selling produce at local farmer’s markets as well as a special, weekly pop-up Sunday Market at Bet Shalom. Other offerings will include limited tickets to a monthly Farm-To-Plate dinner hosted at Bet Shalom, as well as Wednesday night meals for the Hebrew School in the months of September and October.

Feed-Me Farms is offering pre-season gift cards for sale, with a 5% bonus. Gift cards are redeemable for fresh produce at markets or dinner tickets all growing season and never expire. A great gift for anyone who plans to eat vegetables next year! For more info on gift cards or general inquiries email Jake.

Climate Change and Environmental Abuse

A religious response to climate change. CLICK HERE to learn more.

To read more about this organization, CLICK HERE.

B'nai Mitzvah Mini Grant

It is required that our b’nai mitzvah student complete a mitzvah project. If you are looking for ideas, CLICK HERE to see ideas and contacts for organizations.

If you have an original idea, or are looking for extra funding, the Social Action Committee has a small grant program that can help out. For more information and the application, CLICK HERE. Submit your application to Rabbi Crimmings.

If you are interested in joining the Social Action Committee, or have any questions, please email socialactionchair@betshalom.org