As the Tikkun Olam Committee works to help repair the world we find “problems that can only be solved through collective action.”[1]   The goals of the Tikkun Olam Committee will therefore include both hands-on projects and advocacy that will affect public policy.  In order to facilitate our advocacy for social justice the Tikkun Olam Committee proposes that the Temple Bnai Israel Board of Directors endorse the following policy. This policy establishes a process that allows the Tikkun Olam Committee to advocate on behalf of the Temple Bnai Israel community. The Tikkun Olam Committee may take positions and speak publicaly on issues of social justice consistent with our mission statement: We seek to offer justice, tolerance, and charity within the Temple Bnai Israel community,  the larger Jewish community, and the non-Jewish worlds within which we live….We believe in the ancient teaching:  “to do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with thy God.”

The Tikkun Olam Committee will take the proposed positions after:

  1. An advocacy stand that is consistent with our mission statement is brought to the Board of Directors of Temple Bnai Israel. No advocacy stand may be proposed that would disqualify our non-profit status.  (Specifically, actions will not include supporting a particular candidate or political party and will not constitute a major proportion of the sum of Temple activities.)
  2. The Board will discuss. and if it determines the advocacy stand is appropriate. then the Tikkun Olam Committee will present the position to the congregation for education, discussion and determination of consensus.
  3. With Board approval , the Tikkun Olam Committee will facilitate discussion with the congregation regarding the advocacy stand. This may include but is not limited to speakers, forums and articles in our monthly newsletter, The Bulletin.
  4. The Tikkun Olam Committee hopes to build consensus among the congregation where a majority of members agree with the advocacy position. We may not have full agreement but will avoid taking stands where there is deep disagreement resulting in members leaving the Temple Bnai Israel community.  (We will be asking members to learn and distinguish between disagreeing and needing to leave.) We will gauge such consensus through responses at forums and/or other communications.
  5. The issue will be brought back to the Board for final discussion and approval by 2/3 vote.

[1] “Speak Truth To Power: A Guide of Congregations Taking Public Policy Positions” ©Union for Reform Judaism

“A theology which is not a plan of social action is merely a way of preaching and praying. It is a menu without the dinner.” (Mordecai Kaplan, Not So Random Thoughts)