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Current Tikkun Olam Activities

Featured Tikkun Olam Project: New Jersey Together

Over the past year and a half members of BK and our Rabbi's have been working with a coalition of Essex County clergy and lay leaders to launch an Essex County chapter of  New Jersey Together.  We learned about the issues that matter most to our communities through a listening campaign. Based on what was reported, we are organizing a broad-based advocacy coalition that will work for change on the most pressing issues facing our communities.  

Our BK team brought this effort to the congregation at a Zoom meeting in January 2021. An interesting collection of issues and concerns were raised at that meeting including housing access, education, policing practices and food insecurity. We had a strong BK showing at NJ Together's official county-wide listening launch in March. BK followed up with a joint listening session between our congregation and members of Bethany Baptist, Newark and then a joint BBQ between our communities in October 2021. 

We look forward to launching advocacy in the areas of Affordable Housing & Ctiminal Justice, Green Jobs & Green Spaces and Mental Health Care & Education in January 2022. 

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:

Climate Justice

  • In response to the People vs. Fossil Fuels movement, a minyan of BK members and our partners at GreenFaith joined Rabbi Elliott in protest at the White House and were arrested in the Fall of 2021. We are continuing to partner up with GreenFaith in an environmental justice effort for equitable access to green jobs in Essex County and across the state. 
  • BK's Dayenu Circle also works for climate and environmental justice in Essex County. We strive to create a Just Transition away from fossil fuels. You can learn more about Dayenu, a Jewish call to climate action, here.

Food Security

  • 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.
  • Food Drive: Each year at BK we collect food donations and bring them to Toni's Kitchen at the High Holidays. In the past, we have handed out bags at services with lists of items requested at Rosh Hashanah. Typically, families returned these bags filled with donations on Yom Kippur. Kids in Bet Midrash have also taken leadership of the program by making announcements at services, sorting the food donations, packing them in backpacks and delivering the backpacks to Toni's Kitchen.  
  • Bnai Keshet has proudly joined a network of Little Free Food Pantries in the Montclair area, in partnership with the Northeast Earth Coalition. These pantries provide non-perishable foods to neighbors in need. Our K-8 students and congregants are in charge of re-stocking the pantry weekly. Click here to donate to help us purchase food items for the pantry and make a positive impact on food security in our neighborhood. 
     

Community Care

  • Hesed - The Hesed committee at Bnai Keshet provides support for members of our community who need a helping hand at stressful times.

Immigration Justice

  • Montclair Sanctuary Alliance - Is an interfaith network of congregations, organizations and 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.
  • We are active members of Faith in New Jersey, a multi-faith and multi-racial network of faith leaders and communities working together to advance an immigration, racial and economic and social justice agenda at the local, state and federal level. 
  • HIAS National Refugee Shabbat is a moment for congregations, organizations and individuals across the country to dedicate a Shabbat experience to refugee and asylum seekers. Bnai Keshet has participated since its inception in 2018, amplifying HIAS' message at meetings with our Members of Congress. 

Anti-Racism

  • Dismantling racism runs as a thread throughout many of the activities at BK, from book groups to membership cultivation. The anti-racism group acts as a node to identify and introduce activities, training and programming that may be helpfull in strengthening the skills of the BK community to recognize and actively undo the racist structures that affect people's lives in our area. We have piloted a "cultivating anti-racism" class that is available to the congregation beginning as of Fall 2021 (start of 5782). Please see more Anti-Racism programs here. 

Civic Engagement

  • Partnering with non-partisan organizations such as Vote Forward, New Georgia Project and the League of Women Voters, our Civic Engagement subcommittee organizes voter turnout efforts. Our work on the 2020 election resulted in 6500 letters to voters, 1000 postcards and 1500 more letters from a sister congregation! 

You can also opt-in to BK's Google Group mailing lists and be a part of BK's TIkkun Olam discussion and find out more about current events:

If you have any questions about how to get involved,
contact Jessica Brater

Tikkun Olam in Action at BK

Sun, August 14 2022 17 Av 5782