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An Epiphany of Empowerment: Community Justice Shabbat

Community Justice Shabbat 2. jpgOur Congregation Or Ami came together for a Community Justice Shabbat to share personal stories that have touched our lives. For an hour and a half on a Friday evening, together we took one step closer to changing the world.

As Listen Campaign Core Team member Debbie Cutter reflects: Our heartstrings resonated with story after story of those touched by mental illness, Alzheimer’s, homelessness, domestic violence, drugs, peer pressure, suicide, and the fear caused by terrorism. We discovered that alone we feel overwhelmed and powerless, but together we can become a source for change.

An Epiphany of Empowerment

Congregant Heidi Friedman shared how she and her family were deeply moved by the experience,

Life changing moments filled with epiphany sometimes happen when you least expect them. Such was the case last night at Congregation Or Ami… We broke into facilitated groups and each person shared thoughts on the one thing that keeps us up at night…something we want to fix. The discussion was truly eye opening and it was wonderful to address our community issues and needs.

Collaborative and inspiring, our family walked away feeling empowered to do something. I love this community that is our second home and how it challenges us to think bigger, and be better people.

Community Justice Shabbat 1.Since Rabbi Paul Kipnes’ sermon on Rosh Hashanah inviting
our community to participate in the Listening Campaign, we have sat together in over 100 one-to-one conversations, come together in small groups in congregant homes during Chanukah, and brainstormed how we can make this world a better place for our children and grandchildren.

Want to Change the World toward Justice?

At this point, you may be wondering, “What can I do?” We’re glad you asked. The next step is to do collective social justice research. After meeting with various community experts, we are going to find an issue that is close to our hearts. We are going to find something that we can work on together to effect real change; to make a difference.

When we choose the issue it must be based on three things:

  1. This issue will touch our hearts, will move us spiritually and be one that our Or Ami Community cares about.
  2. This issue will not be a symbol. It will be something we can really do something about.
  3. This issue will be something that all of us can take part in. There will be those who will attend every meeting, some will come to only one or two meetings, and others will feel a part of it by staying informed of our progress.

This social justice event belongs to the entire Or Ami community, not just to a small social justice team.  We will only be truly successful at healing the world if we ALL pitch in.

Your Invitation to Effect Real Change

In order to choose the right issue for our Or Ami community, we anticipate that the next phase will take 3-6 months. There are many different ways you can be involved:

  • You can join our core team to oversee our social justice effort. We meet once every six weeks.
  • You can participate in a collective research meeting with an expert on a social justice issue.
  • You can join us to hear the report from the collective research teams and to weigh in on which issue campaign we should work on next.

If you want to take the next step to be a catalyst for change, take a stand with us now! Commit to take our Tikkun Olam (Social Justice Work) to the next level.

Make the Commitment to be a Catalyst

Rabbi Julia Weisz is waiting to hear from you. Please email Rabbi Julia Weisz to let her know how you would like to be involved.


[We are indebted to Debbie Cutter for crafting this beautiful reflection and invitation to the congregation for next steps.]


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