Letter From The Co-Chairs
Welcome to the second edition of Tikkun Olam Times, a living, breathing space to inform, educate and advocate for Social Action and Justice.
Since the first edition of TOT on June 9, a head-spinning number of events and decisions have occurred. Demonstrations urging racial equality swept the nation and the world. The Supreme Court determined that it is, “unlawful for an employer to fail to hire or discharge an individual … because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex or national origin.” The Supreme Court also upheld the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Here at home, the Georgia House and Senate passed a Hate Crimes Bill, HB426, that Governor Kemp signed into law. All of this activity while we are still in the middle of a global pandemic.
Against this backdrop of challenge and change, Judaism provides a constructive framework to guide our thoughts and deeds. In Shabbat 94 and Yoma 85, the Talmud tells us “just as we are obligated to save a life, so too are we obligated to uphold human dignity.” In other words, the first step toward repairing cracks in our fragile world is to seek the truth and treat others with honor and respect.
Today, we see people across the globe - in ways big and small - banding together to perform acts of grace and goodness. In a similar vein, your Social Justice Committee has is creating ways for you to volunteer and make a positive impact in your own backyard.
Be Inspired-Get Engaged-Do a Mitzvah.
You will be surprised how a modest amount of effort can lead to big results for you personally and for the community.
With warm regards,
Wendy Frank and Julie Mokotoff
Social Justice Co-Chairs for Temple Emanu-El
Giving the Gift of Camp to Children Fighting Cancer
Meet Abigail Richman, a rising 8th Grader at The Davis Academy. She enjoys creating art, playing piano, running, basketball and tennis. Her favorite color is turquoise. She lives with her parents, Kelly and Craig, as well as her younger brother, Daniel.
It didn’t take long for Abigail to choose her Bat Mitzvah project. Combining her love of camp with her passion for fighting childhood cancer, she learned about Aurora Day Camp www.auroradaycamp.org and set her plan in motion.
“I love going to camp and think everyone should have the opportunity to attend, even if they are fighting cancer,” says Abigail. Her desire to help was personal. “My Dad is a doctor who cares for cancer patients and my Grandpa Jerry suffered from cancer.”
Like many Bar and Bat Mitzvah students, Abigail wanted to change the world for the better. To learn more about her service project and the cause she supported, read the interview below.
Question: What did you want to accomplish with your mitzvah project? Did you set any goals?
Answer: I wanted to raise as much money as I could for Aurora Day Camp, since children with cancer and their siblings can attend the camp tuition-free. I set a goal of raising $3,600. It is a significant number and a multiple of Chai. My family, friends and community were so generous that I surpassed my goal and raised over $5,000. In addition to accepting donations, I created a team called Team A, so people could register for AuroraWALKS, an event filled with music, face-painting, games, prizes and a choice of short walks through Chastain Park: 1 mile, 1.5 miles or 2.5 miles.
Question: How did it make you feel to take action and support your cause?
Answer: I feel very proud of my accomplishments, especially after meeting some of the campers who are undergoing cancer treatments. On the day of AuroraWALKS, 50 friends and family members joined Team A. It was an amazing experience.
Question: Is there anything else you would like us to know?
Answer: Summer Camp 2020 was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I sincerely hope that the AuroraWALKS and Summer Camp can take place next year so that children with cancer can forget about their treatments and focus on fun.
Thank you, Abigail, for your good work! The COVID-19 pandemic impacted you as well. Your Bat Mitzvah Service, originally scheduled for April 18, has been rescheduled for December 5. We wish you and your family all the best.
Is your child doing a Mitzvah Project? If so, click HERE and let us know.
STAY IN THE KNOW: A PLACE FOR HELPFUL TIPS
Make Voting a Family Affair
Rabbis and sages throughout history have discussed our Jewish duty to engage deeply in our communities. Now is a great time to speak with your children about the importance of voting and civic participation. Did you know that your teenager can register to vote at age 17 ½, if they will be 18 years old by Election Day?
Consider using some summer downtime to register. October 5 is the last day to register in order to be eligible to vote in the general election on November 3, 2020.
In addition, teens who are at least 16 years old may apply to be a non-partisan poll watcher in their county. More information can be found on your county’s voter registration and elections website.
Finally, for younger children you can find videos and books on the importance of voting at PJLibrary.org.
Not sure if you’re registered to vote? Find out right here: https://www.mvp.sos.ga.gov, the My Voter Page website. You can also check your voter registration status, find your polling station and print a sample ballot for the upcoming election.
Advocacy Update: Opportunities to Take Action and Make a Difference
For the month of June, congregants have been collecting non-perishable food for The Community Assistance Center (CAC), making lunches for the women and children of Mary Hall Freedom House (MHFH) and sewing masks for the vulnerable in our community.
If you would like to get involved with these efforts, here’s how you can help:
To sign up for a shift at the CAC Thrift Shop or Food Pantry click HERE.
To participate in the CAC Food Collection Drive, contact Karen Baron.
To sign up to make lunches for Mary Hall Freedom House, click HERE.
To sign up to make Masks, contact Wendy May.
And now, for the numbers. During the month of June, our congregation collected half a barrel of non-perishable and canned goods for the CAC. We made 440 lunches for Mary Hall Freedom House. Volunteers are still needed to make and deliver sandwiches on Wednesdays in July and August.
Our congregants sewed 150 masks for the vulnerable in our community. Our goal is to make a total of 400 masks, as that is the number of masks our partner agencies requested. If you enjoy stitching and sewing, please sign up for this project and help us reach our goal.
Thank you, thank you, to all of our volunteers. Through your acts of kindness, you honor the Torah and your community.
Opportunities Coming Your Way
- CAC in Dunwoody-Volunteers needed to work in the Food Pantry and Client Registration areas. A short training program is required before volunteering. Open shift on Thursdays from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm. To work onsite, you must be between the ages of 15 - 65 years old. You must also wear protective safety gear like masks and gloves and practice social distancing. For more information, contact Karen Baron.
- BackPack Buddies-School's out for summer but starting in mid-August, we will be packing weekend bags for food-insecure students at Chestnut Elementary. For more information, contact Julie Weiser.
- Zaban Paradies Center-A place to help couples transition from homelessness to economic stability and well-being. The residents have found housing for the summer but will return to Zaban Paradies Center in the fall. We will "own" certain days of the month and cook dinner for the residents. Due to restrictions related to Covid-19, we are not sure at this point if we will be able to serve dinner and eat with the residents. For more information, contact Nancy Shapiro.
Make a donation to help those impacted by Covid-19
Temple Emanu-El has established two Tzedakah Funds. You will be able to choose if you want your donation to go
to help congregants that have been impacted by Covid-19 or to those in the community.
Click HERE to donate.
Let Us Here From You!
Have an idea about how our committee can get involved and make a difference? Let us know.
We'd love to hear your thoughts.