On the recommendation of the Social Action Committee, the Board of Trustees signed the Brit Olam from the Religious Action Center (RAC) of the Reform Jewish Movement. BSRC President, Libby Liebschutz delivered the contract at the URJ Biennial the first week of December, 2017.
The Brit Olam is a “Covenant with our World because we see the world we want, not the world as it is.” It is a contract to help create “a World of Compassion, Justice and Wholeness.”
RAC was hoping that 100 Reform Jewish congregations would sign because: Across North America and around the world, vulnerable populations face profound challenges. As the Reform Jewish Movement, we arecommitted to meeting the urgency of now with moral leadership through congregational and community based action.
While our congregation did not have to commit to every point in the Brit or have programming for every item, B’nai Sholom has met many of the parameters. Below is the Brit Olam. The contract check list is in bold and descriptions of our pertinent activities follows each parameter.
WE SIGN THIS BRIT OLAM on behalf of B’nai Sholom Reform Congregation in Albany, NY,.
We, the clergy and lay leaders of B’nai Sholom Reform Congregation commit to form a team (or designate an existing team) with at least one clergy member (if our community has one) and two lay leaders to lead our community in one or more of the following: (check all that apply)
- Acting in solidarity with vulnerable communities
BSRC/SAC works with these vulnerable communities:
THE FOOD INSECURE through participation:
-collecting food for Regional Food Bank
-working at the Sunday Soup Kitchen
-membership in Hunger Action Network of New York State (HANNYS)
-participation in Empty Bowls fundraising event for HANNYS
-support congregation for Family Promise of the Capital Region
-REFUGEES AND RELIGIOUS MINORITIES
-Iftar Friendship Dinner with the Turkish Cultural Center
-sponsored Refugee Shabbat
-SA Shabbat to focus on Palestinian-Israel high school students “Through
- Building relationships across lines of difference in our local community
BSRC/SAC has sponsored programs about:
-REFUGEES AND RELIGIOUS MINORITIES
see activities listed above
-PRISON POPULATION AND RACIAL MINORITIES
-SA Shabbat focused on the “New Jim Crow” and prison system
Acting at the local, state/provincial, and/or federal levels to address the root causes
of injustice through advocacy and/or congregational or broad-based community
BSRC/SAC has sought to act by:
-providing a “hunger unit” for the religious school which included education and advocacy
-participation in Reform Jewish Voice advocacy days
-year-long focus on advocacy and education about critical issues
-SA Shabbat with speaker from NYCLU
- Participating in one of the Religious Action Center’s current Urgency of Now Campaigns to act at the local, state/provincial, and/or federal levels
- Protecting the rights of transgender students in our school district
- Defending the rights of immigrants at risk of deportation
- Reforming the criminal justice system to end mass incarceration
BSRC has been active in Reform Jewish Voice (RJV)which advocates on many of these issues.
- Participating in a future Urgency of Now Campaign
-The Social Action Committee would be willing to undertake education re: topics and would consider taking action with BSRC Board approval
- Participating in a state-wide campaign with the Religious Action Center’s state affiliate
-Rabbi, congregants and SAC members participate in RJV Advocacy Days
-With BSRC Board approval would consider future participation on specific issues
- Fostering a culture of sacred and civil dialogue in our congregation where all opinions are heard
The contract was signed by Rabbi Cashman, Libby Liebschutz (President) and Becky Marvin (Social Action Committee Co-chairperson)
IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO WORK TO BETTER OUR WORLD, PLEASE CONTACT THE SOCIAL ACTION COMMITTEE! THERE IS MUCH TO BE DONE!