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Current Tikkun Olam Activities

National Refugee Shabbat on October 19.

6:30pm dinner at BK prepared by recent refugees to NJ from Syria, as part of United Tastes of America. At 7:15pm, a panel of experts and recent and past refugees, followed by discussion.  Register below for dinner or join us at 7:15pm for the program. 
Register for dinner.

Sunday, October 21
2:00 - 3:30pm
First Friends Presentation on Immigrants and Refugees in Detention and Volunteer Opportunities for Support and Advocacy
A 90-minute interactive presentation at BK by First Friends, a non-profit organization that serves immigrants and asylum seekers held in detention in local detention centers through volunteer visitations, resettlement assistance and advocacy. 

About the speakers:
Abdul Alargha grew up in Syria and was a successful businessman in Damascus. After starting a nonprofit to help women and children who were widowed and orphaned during the war in Syria, he became a target of the Assad regime and had to flee the country immediately with very few possessions. His wife Rana fled separately with their three children. They were separated and homeless at times for two years while moving through the Middle East as refugees, trying to make their way to the US. Eventually, Abdul was granted asylum in the US. He reunited with his family and settled in Montclair.

Ivan Grosz was born in Romania in 1935 and lived there until he emigrated with his mother and sister to Vienna, Austria in 1961. In 1962, he was granted political refugee status and he moved to the United States. He later attended the Harvard Business School, became an investment banker, and settled in the suburbs of NYC with his wife and two children. His daughter is now a member of Bnai Keshet with her family.

Bnyad Sharef is an activist who advocates for refugee and immigrant rights and for a more harmonious, peaceful, and prosperous world free of discrimination and injustice. Granted Special Immigrant visas because of his father’s work as a translator for the U.S. government in Iraq, as a consequence of the 2016 “travel ban,” Bynad’s family were sent back to Iraq when attempting to immigrate. After much advocacy, they were allowed to enter the US, arriving in Tennessee in 2017. Bnyad currently works for the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition.

Lori Nessel is a Professor of Law and the Director of Seton Hall University School of Law's Center for Social Justice. Her teaching and scholarship focuses largely in the areas of immigration and refugee law and policy, international human rights, rule of law, and access to justice. She runs the Immigrants' Rights/International Human Rights Clinic and has written about the intersection of immigration and labor laws as it affects undocumented workers, gender and immigration issues, the Torture Convention, family reunification, post-conflict community justice mechanisms and gender-based torture in Rwanda, the plight of migrant farmworkers, and private medical deportations by US hospitals.

This is the Tikkun Olam Committee google drive folder. Access for meeting notes, sign up sheets and shared resources.

Bnai Keshet's commitment to the work of Tikkun Olam (Repairing the World) is central to our role as participants in the evolution of Judaism. Our work currently includes:

  • Food Drive on High Holy Days – On Rosh Hashanah we collect and distribute bags to congregants attending services and ask them to fill the bags with canned goods and other non-perishable food to donate to a local food pantry.  Congregants bring back the bags filled with food on Yom Kippur.  In 2018-2019 students in the 5th and 6th grade Bet Midrash classes will help collect the food and donate it to the backpack program at Toni’s Kitchen.
  • Immigration Reform - We work with a coalition of Jewish and interfaith organizations towards comprehensive reform of the immigration system in the United States.  We are prioritizing immigrant and refugee rights this year (2018-2019) as now, more than ever, immigrants and refugees are in greater jeopardy of deportation. We will organize educational sessions, and join with our local and state-wide partners to advocate on behalf of immigrants and refugees such as HIAS (The Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society). HIAS and our national and local Jewish organization partners have launched We Were Strangers, Too: the Jewish Campaign for Immigration Reform.
  • Montclair Sanctuary Alliance - an interfaith network of congregations, organizations and individuals offering sanctuary to individuals resisting detention and deportation in order to stay together with their families and communities. We stand publicly against the injustices affecting immigrants and support reforms to promote fairness. Click here to Support the Sanctuary Alliance directly.
  • Paterson Habitat for Humanity - once a year, we "pray with a hammer" and help to build a house in Paterson with Habitat for Humanity 
  • MESH - Montclair Emergency Services for the Homeless (MESH) partners with churches and synagogues in the Montclair community to serve thousands of nourishing evening meals for homeless and near-homeless residents of Montclair. Bnai Keshet hosts MESH Cafe every Monday night. 
  • St. Paul's Mens Shelter - Bnai Keshet and the Islamic Center of Passaic County (ICPC) jointly volunteer the first Saturday to make and serve dinner to the guests of the St. Paul's Men's Shelter in Paterson. 
  • Interfaith Hospitality Network - IHN provides emergency shelter and a host of other support services to homeless families through a network of houses of worship throughout Essex County.
  • Hesed - The Hesed committee at Bnai Keshet provides support for members of our community who need a helping hand at stressful times.

You can also opt-in to BK's Google Group mailing lists:

Be a part of BK's TIkkun Olam discussion and find out more about current events:!members/bk-tikkun-olam

Join our Anti-Racism study group to learn about how to recognize and work to dismantle racism:!forum/bk-anti-racism

Please see all Anti-Racism programs here.

If you have any questions about how to get involved,
contact Beth Rubin or Maya Grosz


Tikkun Olam in Action at BK

Mon, October 15 2018 6 Cheshvan 5779