June 19, 2020
Do Justice — Love Kindness — Walk Modestly
Dear BCC Family:
One of the central declarations of the Torah, is “Justice, justice, shall you pursue.” (Deut. 16:20). The pursuit of justice has, from the beginning of our history, been a fundamental tenet of Judaism and the question of what it means to treat people justly and fairly has been thoughtfully considered and reflected upon by generations of Jewish thinkers. During these painful times, I am reminded of Beth Chaim’s core values: inclusiveness, compassion and justice; and how, as a community, we live into these values each and every day. Our collective compassion is evident in times of need when we reach out to offer support through acts of tikkun olam - providing food and shelter for those struggling to find their footing, setting aside tzedakah for community causes, or raising our voices to call for human rights and equality for all. But, with each unpardonable death of another person of color at the hands of police, we—like most organizations—are asking ourselves if our actions speak loudly enough.
As a Jewish organization, we have a responsibility to understand systems of power and histories of injustice and to work to dismantle them. This begins with an earnest look at ourselves and to the ways we unknowingly uphold and perpetuate inequity. It is within our power to right these wrongs.
Beth Chaim Congregation condemns racism in any form whatsoever and stands in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and all marginalized communities that have for too long faced injustice and inequity. We are committed to taking action to create meaningful and impactful change that may be felt beyond the immediate news cycle and into the years to come.
Naomi Ehrlich, Director of Tikkun Olam, and Kim Thompson, Director of Chesed, will be taking the lead on this undertaking. As we explore our next steps, we will be sure to keep you in the loop and share information, resources and opportunities with you. Please be sure to regularly check our current listings and our Tikkun Olam/Social Action page for events and information.
Mary Jo Smith, President
On Behalf of the Board of Directors