May 3, 2012
Our Tikkun Olam Committee’s recent calls for help (with the Covenant of Hope, a partnership with Portland’s Human Solutions, empowering families recovering from homelessness) have been met by the Havurah community quickly and with generosity.
Thanks to Havurah member contributions of more than $3,000 we now support a Covenant of Hope family that before last weekend had no home.
Our initial support is financial. It pays for one family’s rent and utilities for three months which, when added to Human Solutions’ matching funds, provides “our family” with a six-month foundation on which to re-create heretofore lost hearth and home.
Then, there’s Havurah’s help with “stuff.” Simple household stuff that families need. Bowls, plates, blankets, pots and pans. Stuff “our” family doesn’t have.
Or, rather, didn’t have. ‘Cause we published a Havurah community email call for donations last week, and immediately Havurahniks stepped up. Bringing items to the Synagogue after our Scholar-in-Residence weekend with Rabbi Sheila Pelz-Weinberg. Items we’ve since been schlepping to our family as quickly as we can (I mean, how do you cook for a six-year old when you don’t have any pots and pans?)
Who is “our family?” They are Jim, Zoe and their 6-year-old grandson, Connor.
Portlanders, they found themselves homeless a while back after family crisis and unemployment forced them to California. But that didn’t work! So they’re back in Portland. And struggling. But with the help of Friendly House (adsfadsfafd,) Human Solutions, and now Havurah they’re getting back on their feet.
Jim’s found work. School and after-school programs are being arranged for Connor. And they’ve got an apartment! In NW Portland. Which they moved into last weekend, thanks to Havurah and Human Solutions support.
Layton and Steve, two of our Tikkun Olam Committee co-chairs, visited them as they moved in.
And it’s a joy to help them.
(By the way, maybe there’s something else they need? Floor covering? A couple of chairs, maybe? Please check out the wish list we’ve set up for our family to see if there’s a few more household items that YOU could offer as Jim, Zoe, and Conor set themselves up – with a roof over their heads! By the way, if you’ve committed to this or that donation, we’re collecting items in the Pardes room at Havurah through Friday, May 4.)
Steve Rudman and Doug Ambort
Steve plans to visit our Covenant of Hope family again this Sunday, to drop off some of the stuff they need. You wanna come, too? If so, let Steve know, at (503) 201-4361.
Given that Havurah’s response to Tikkun Olam Committee’s Covenant of Hope has been so positive, we’re thinking that we might be able to partner up with another Covenant of Hope faith community to help support another family!
We’ll keep you posted.
November 22, 2011
Music is a core value for Havurahniks.
Throughout the high holidays, music helped create the atmosphere and opportunity for prayer and reflection. During the “Operation Reconnect” process last year, many noted the importance of music as a way they initially connected with Havurah Shalom.
Your Steering Committee took that sentiment seriously. We amassed over $14,000 during the Mitzvah Moment at our bi-annual Auction to support a part-time Music Coordinator position. We recently advertised and interviewed many exceptionally qualified candidates.
We are delighted to announce that our very own Ilene Safyan was hired as our new Music Coordinator! Please note that the Music Coordinator is not a performance role (e.g., a resident chazzan). Rather, the purpose of the position is to locate, inspire, and train musicians to contribute to our community, and build a long-term, sustainable music program for Havurah Shalom.
Thank you for your support in getting us to this meaningful milestone in Havurah’s history!
October 12, 2011
You are invited to join your Havurah family for the first of four Friday night Tikkun Olam Services and “Simple Souper Suppers” on Friday,October 28th at 6:30 pm
Dinner starts at 6:30 PM
Services to begin at 7:30 PM
You are welcome at services even if you cannot attend the supper
Childcare is available for ages 2-8, from 7:00 pm until the end of the service.
We live in a world besieged with problems: poverty, sickness, war, oppression of the weak and the other, degradation of the environment. Jewish tradition tells us that we are not expected to solve the world’s problems, but we are obligated to continue to seek justice, to engage in work that promotes tikkun olam, repair of the world. How can we best do this work? How do we choose a focus for our work?
What can we do as a community to sustain each other in this difficult work? Does it matter that we work together as a community?
Through reflection and discussion we can explore these important questions. Please join us on October 28th when we come together to share a meal and celebrate Shabbat.
September 12, 2011
Please join Layton Borkan, Steve Rudman, Ben Walters, Rabbi Joey and other pushers, pokers and prodders for Havurah’s tikkun olam efforts at the break on Yom Kippur afternoon. Progressive Jews, not just on this big day, are hungry to imagine what it means to translate Jewish spiritual insights into action. One world opens to another, there’s no getting away from the place we call our own, our accountability to what happens all around us. We’re richer when we study these things – the world’s impoverished require us to stay with it!
Liberal-thinking Jews are apt to consider the fundamental principles of tzedakah (socially based acts of justice and sharing largesse) a set of optional and symbolic choices. But this flies in the face of what the rabbis taught us about a behavioral, obligatory,spiritual practice. Perhaps what contributes to the sense that our own relationship, as a community, to tikkun olam waxes and wanes, is the false idea that we should somehow decide for ourselves if we want to participate. We say “No thank you”, politely, when we should be expanding and inculcating the rhythm and beat of coming to grips with our tripartite efforts: we can get involved in direct action, in giving money, in advocacy for social change. Bottom line: we should be making it a point to check in reliably and repeatedly. We can be making tzedakah integral to who we are as human beings.
Right? Not sure? Well, rather than rush home or fall asleep on the holiest day of the year, join us in thinking about what we simply must be doing, as Jews connected to community and the larger place that cries out to us – in which we live. The world awaits us!
See what Maimonides has to say on the subject of choice and imbued habit, and come ready to discuss this powerful statement of Jewish practice:
“Desirable character traits are not achieved through the size of the deed, but rather according to the quantity of deeds. This means that the traits are reached through repeating good deeds many times. . . for example: if a person gives one thousand dinars once to a single worthy person, this person does not achieve the trait of generosity through this one large deed; this is in contrast to one who gives one dinar one thousand times, with each dinar given generously, as this multiplies this person’s acts of generosity one thousand times, and this person achieves the trait strongly. But in the case of this one-time act, this person’s soul is awakened in a major way to do a good deed, and afterwards this feeling departs. Similarly, the reward for one who redeems one captive for one hundred dinars, or who gives one hundred dinars of tzedakah to a poor person, thereby filling this person’s need, is not the same as one who redeems ten captives, or who fulfills the needs of ten poor peole, even with ten dinars each.”
(Maimonides, Commentary on Pirke Avot, as translated by Rabbi Jill Jacobs in her book Where Justice Dwells. . . Note: This is a book worth purchasing. We’ll be discussing it all year long.)
August 17, 2011
Register for Havurah Middle School and Havurah High! Don’t miss out on an exciting year!
Registration for Middle School is due on September 7th. Click here for more information and for registration materials!
Havurah High Registration is due on August 30th. Click here for more information and registration materials.