Social Action

Social Action

“Our world, as Jews, is sustained by three things: by the important work of torah (study), by avodah (worship) and by gimilut chasadim (righteousness or acts of loving kindness).” – Pirket Avot 1:2 

At Beth David, our gimilut chasadim include projects to benefit the community as well as educate our congregation.

Bar/Bat Mitzvah Projects – Each teen, as they prepare for their Bar/Bat Mitzvah and moves closer to adulthood, finds a way to give back to the community whether by raising funds for a cause, planning an event to draw awareness to a cause, collecting items (e.g., shoes, cans of food) for those in need, visiting the sick, or building something with their own two hands.  

Mazon Food Drive — Every Yom Kippur, our congregants and guests donate bags of non-perishable food to help feed the hungry in our community.

Collections — Each month Beth David engages in tikkun olam by collecting items for those less fortunate.  Our recent collections have included:

  • Combs, brushes and socks for Long Beach teens in foster care
  • New or gently used jackets, coats, stuffed animals and books for abused and neglected kids in the Los Angeles County Juvenile Court system
  • Our annual holiday toy drive.  We filled three barrels for the Community Action Partnership
  • Jeans for people experiencing homelessness who are being served by American Family Housing in Westminster
  • Kid and Teen DVD’s—-G, PG or PG-13 for Miller’s Children’s Hospital and others for the Troops and vets
  • Travel size toiletries for people experiencing homelessness
  • And a school supply drive to run May, June and July

Blood Drive — Red Cross holds one or more blood drives at Beth David each year.  The contributions of congregants and friends contribute to the availability of a healthy and reliable blood supply.

Educational programs — have included:

  • Participating in a National Refugee Shabbat in support of HIAS  – Mr. Mohammed from Home for Refugees shared his story about coming from Iraq and resettling in Irvine.
  • A film portraying the plight of refugees in conjunction with Orange County Jewish Coalition for Refugees (OCJCR)
  • A panel on homelessness informed us of unique Orange County issues
  • The league of Women Voters explained the propositions of the 2018 ballot.

L’Taken  Beth David teens are participants in the Union for Reform Judaism’s Bernard and Audre Rapoport L’Taken Social Justice Seminars (see photo above of Beth Davids 2018 participants)

These Seminars give thousands of Jewish teens the opportunity to impact our political process and share their views on social justice topics with decision-makers on Capitol Hill. The weekend-long seminar is designed to expose participants to a variety of public policy issues and to explore the Jewish values that inform the Reform Movement’s advocacy around these issues. The trajectory of the programming goes from broad to narrow—first, educating participants about a range of topics and eventually encouraging them to focus on a single, specific issue about which they are particularly passionate, and write a speech to deliver on Capitol Hill on Monday to their Senator or Representative. Lobbying a Member of Congress is a unique experience that very few Americans take advantage of and one that can have a significant impact on the course of legislation. After meeting with L’Taken participants, Members of Congress have chosen to co-sponsor, offer amendments to and vote for pieces of legislation that participants discussed. Learn more.

Future Educational Programs include:

  • A former Israeli Defense Force Captain will be speaking about his experiences,
  • A discussion of the changes in voting coming in 2020
  • And more – watch the Megillah and Shavua Tov for all the program news

Affiliations — Beth David is affiliated with the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism and the Orange County Jewish Coalition for Refugees

Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism — The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism (RAC) has been the hub of Jewish social justice and legislative activity in the nation’s capital for over forty years. It has educated and mobilized the American Jewish community on legislative and social concerns as an advocate in the Congress of the United States on issues ranging from Israel and global affairs to economic justice and civil and religious liberty. The RAC’s Web site at www.rac.org is the hub of Jewish social justice on the Internet. Through the years, the site has received numerous awards and has grown to nearly 1,000 pages. The RAC site is a great social action resource tool. It contains the RAC’s legislative priorities, press releases, action alerts, the Social Action Program Bank, publications, tools for congregational Social Action Committees as well as updates on dozens of legislative and policy issues monitored by the RAC staff.  To be added to their mailing list email [email protected].

Orange County Jewish Coalition for Refugees — Beth David is one of the charter members of the Orange County Jewish Coalition for Refugees. There are now 11 synagogues that participate in Coalition activities. To find out more about the OCJCR, email [email protected] or visit their website at https://theocjcr.wixsite.com/website.