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Tikkun Olam/Social Action

Tikkun Olam / Social Action Teams

Adas Israel’s Social Action Committee is made up of teams focused on some of the issues facing us today: Poverty/Homelessness/Housing Team, Climate Action Team, Racial Justice Working Group, and the Refugee Response Team. The SAC is committed to the essential Jewish value of tikkun olam, and guided by the Pirkei Avot 2:21: ““You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to desist from it.” Please join us! Contact SAC Chair Brad Brooks-Rubin with questions or to figure out which initiative interests you most.


Homelessness/Housing Team

The DC Metro area contains one of the highest rates of homelessness in the US. The Homelessness/Housing Team works to address the broader causes of homelessness, poverty, and illiteracy and foster equal opportunity for all of our neighbors through both community organizing and direct service. We partner with local community organizations including So Others Might Eat, N Street Village, Friendship Place, Washington Interfaith Network, Ward 3 Mutual Aid, and Feed the Family. We actively support affordable housing in DC and particularly in Ward 3. We actively organize around increasing affordable housing in DC, particularly in Ward 3, partnering with the Washington Interfaith Network and neighborhood churches. During the pandemic, we are partnering with Adas Israel’s Hesed Committee to prepare and deliver food for our partners in need. Interested? Contact Jamie Butler or Dan Baum.

Afghan Crisis Response Subcommittee 

We’ve recently formed an Afghan Crisis Response Subcommittee to support refugees from Afghanistan. There will be refugees resettling in the DMV, and they’ll need immediate help including meals, home goods and general assistance through their transition, and longer term help including legal assistance, tutoring, and mentoring. We’ll also be providing calls to action to support beneficial policies related to this issue. If you’re interested in learning more or volunteering, please visit the Adas Social Action website or email us at AdasAfghanResponse@gmail.com

Uyghur Crisis Response Team

The Uyghur Crisis Response Team works to increase awareness of the Chinese government’s genocidal actions against the 12 million members of the Uyghur ethnic minority. We currently organize monthly demonstrations at the Chinese embassy, joining with other DC area synagogues to keep awareness strong. In addition, we brought a Uyghur human rights lawyer to speak at Adas and helped create and participate in an international Uyghur-Jewish Passover Seder. We also advocate for governmental and business actions to counter this abuse of human rights, including a letter to President Biden signed by over a hundred Jewish communal leaders. Our team supports the local Uyghur community, through encouraging mental health professionals to join the Uyghur Wellness Initiative and provide pro bono counseling to Uyghur refugees, and developing partnerships with local Uyhgur businesses. We are also mentoring B’nai Mitzvah students, understanding that, as Jews, we cannot be silent in the face of genocide. To get involved, please contact Nechama Liss-Levinson. To get more information and participate in the ongoing demonstrations, contact Karen Guberman

Refugee Response Team

The Refugee Response Team will continue to build on our work over the past five years helping with resettlement of local refugee families, as well as assistance with asylum seekers on the southern border. Our work this year will have a three-fold focus: First, we will have an event this Fall to hear from experts to clarify what is happening with asylum-seekers at the border and the best ways for both advocacy and direct action. Second, we have opportunities to work with local partners on welcoming Afghan refugees to the DC area (see separate section for information and contacts). Finally, our successful IRC Family Mentorship program will continue enabling small groups to connect directly with refugee families in our area. Please contact Amy Golen for general information and Sarah Karlin-Smith for the IRC Family Mentorship program. 

Climate Action Team  (CAT)

The Climate Action Team is focused primarily on exploring how Jewish tradition informs our personal and collective activities related to pollution and environmental matters. To foster collective learning about what Torah and Jewish tradition have to say about environmental matters, we are working with clergy and members to share Torah lessons from the parashiyot . We are exploring the many opportunities for the Adas community to take action in our synagogue and in our homes and communities to reduce the pollution causing climate change, including group purchasing discounts for solar. We are also watching for opportunities to engage in advocacy campaigns for climate action in the Metro Washington, DC, area. For more information or to get involved, contact Philip Henderson.

Community Safety Team

The Community Safety team (previously named gun violence prevention) focuses its efforts on violence prevention in DC. We are partnering with the Washington Interfaith Network (WIN) and its faith-based and community-based organizations that are engaged in community safety, particularly in Wards 7 and 8. This year, our efforts are tied closely to the WIN Public Safety Research group, which is co- chaired by Ryane Nickens (founder of the TraRon Center and member of the WIN strategy team) and Delonte Gholston, pastor Peace Fellowship Church. Our efforts are focused on juvenile justice, police reform and accountability, mental health outreach, and violence interrupters with the aim of sending our recommendations to the WIN congregations.

At the same time, the Community Safety team continues to support the mission and vision of the TraRon Center, working with children, youth and families affected by gun violence. In addition, our team recognizes that educational inequity is a root case of violence, and so we also partner with Reading Partners DC. To get involved, contact Lois Fingerhut, or Don Kates.

Kehilah Multiracial Engagement Project (KMEP)

The Kehilah Multiracial Engagement Project (KMEP) is dedicated to working towards a truly inclusive Adas community, and a truly inclusive larger Jewish community. KMEP’s focus is on building our community’s collective self-awareness so that we can all understand how unconscious biases and assumptions can unintentionally manifest in comments and actions – microagressions – that can make Jews who do not identify as white feel othered or excluded. KMEP seeks to inspire inquiry, reflection and introspection with regards to our own biases and identities. KMEP also seeks to examine our community’s perspectives and feelings on race and racism within American society. To achieve these goals, we will host discussions and trainings, and invite experts in privilege and identity within the Jewish community as well as community organizations more broadly. If you’re interested in joining us in this work please reach out to Rabbi Sarah Krinsky

Direct Service Team

The Direct Service team works together to help coordinate the collection of items at Adas for many different partner organizations. This includes both seasonal drives (winter coats for SOME, winter warmth and backpacks for Friendship Place, books for Reading Partners) as well as ongoing partnerships with local organizations year round (International Rescue Committee for local refugee families, Feed the Family Pantry, Capital Kosher Pantry, etc). To learn more or get involved, please contact Chana Engel or Oz Papados.

Reproductive Justice Team

The Reproductive Justice Team provides a forum to learn about, and advocate for, a Jewish response to the loss of the constitutional right to abortion and to other reproductive health matters. Guided by our values and the lens of reproductive justice, and in collaboration with other organizations, we plan to act to address barriers to the full range of reproductive care that affects the lives and autonomy of marginalized people in DC, MD and VA and across the nation. The team collaborates closely with the NCJW MD Action Team.

For more information or to join the team, please email co-chairs Lesley and Lauren at rjatadasisrael@gmail.com

Inclusion Task Force

The inclusion task force is the newest addition to the SAC. We work on issues of disability access and justice within Adas as well as in our wider DMV community. Internally, we strive to strengthen Adas’ inclusion efforts, always working diligently to grow Adas into a warm and welcoming community for all. Externally, we work alongside our SAC partners on campaigns of particular interest to the disability community. These include but are not limited to issues of accessible housing, literacy for children with disabilities and more. We typically meet quarterly. We also work on inclusion Shabbat which occurs in February at Adas each year to coincide with Jewish Disability Awareness, Acceptance and Inclusion Month. We are always looking for more folks to join our burgeoning group.

If interested in learning more or joining this committee please contact Rabbi Lauren Tuchman at rabbi.lauren.tuchman@gmail.com.

Fri, October 7 2022 12 Tishrei 5783