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.
Resources for Minneapolis
- 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
Need Help? Get Support and Resources
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
(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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Five Pillars of Our Social Action Committee
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
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.
Hunger and Food Insecurity
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.
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.