Tikkun Olam (Social Justice) Committee
Tikkun Olam (Social Justice) Committee
Join the Committee
The current Dorshei Emet Tikkun Olam (Social Justice) Committee was re-constituted in 2013. Over the past year, committee members have advocated for the reinstatement of heath care services to refugee claimants by the federal government and are currently planning a number of direct service and advocacy initiatives to reduce food insecurity in our community. The Committee is seeking additional members. Committee members can choose to solely participate in direct service activities or can participate in a wider range of committee activities including planning and coordination of the work of the committee, direct service, advocacy activities as described in the mission statement and/or providing organisational support to non-governmental service organisations delivering direct services.
The bylaws of Dorshei Emet of June, 2013 state:
“Tikkun Olam is a standing committee of Dorshei Emet: The Tikun Olam Committee shall be responsible for the various Congregation activities related to social justice and like activities.”
The ultimate goal of Tikun Olam or 'repair the world' is to end injustice, whether it be the injustice of poverty or the denial of human rights.
The mission of the Dorshei Emet Tikun Olam (Social Justice) Committee is to carry out activities to reduce injustice, with a particular emphasis on reducing poverty in both our local and the larger community. The approach of the committee is multifaceted and includes not only direct service to those in need but also one that seeks long-term solutions to reducing poverty by addressing the social determinants of poverty and economic inequality. This comprehensive approach to social action requires a number of complementary strategies, including direct service, tzedakah, advocacy, community organizing and education, all woven together in an integrated fashion.
- Direct service aims to meet a person's immediate, short-term needs through some form of direct emergency help to individuals or families in need or to provide support to those working in non-profit organizations that provide direct service.
- Advocacy includes activities aimed at promoting long-term solutions to reducing poverty and the associated deprivations, such as food insecurity, inadequate housing or unemployment. It includes advocating for public policies that address the underlying problems, community organizing and educational activities to increase awareness of the problems and their solutions and to implement solutions that improve the quality of life of those currently in need and foster their autonomy.
The Dorshei Emet Tikkun Olam (Social Justice) Committee aims to address poverty issues in our own synagogue, in the Montreal Jewish community and the larger Montreal and Quebec communities. It may eventually broaden its scope. In order to focus on these communities, it will collaborate with various individuals and organisations, both Jewish and non-Jewish, in Montreal, in Quebec and elsewhere in Canada who either represent the target communities or can influence appropriate public policy.
The Mission of the Tikkun Olam (Social Justice) Committee has a strong basis in Jewish and, more specifically, Reconstructionist principles. Mordecai Kaplan reminded us that our world is in need of repair, in need of Tikkun Olam and identified the need to address inequalities in our economic, political and educational systems. He spoke out against economic inequality and the concentration of wealth in the hands of a few. He suggested that it is our role as Jews in society not only to set an example of justice in our own community, but to become directly involved in pursuing justice for others. In an essay in 1995, in the Reconstructionist, Rebecca Alpert reminds us that Mordecai Kaplan encouraged us to see it as our religious duty to ”to transform the conditions of life so as to make the world livable physically, socially and spiritually”. In his address to the dedication of Dorshei Emet in 1967, Mordecai Kaplan told us that “From the standpoint of action, the Reconstructionist synagogue should…” engage in social action that “…includes sharing with our neighbours the responsibility of combating ignorance, poverty and disease, and cooperation with our neighbours in all forms of social action that are needed to translated the ideal of freedom, justice and peace into a living reality”. Judaism tells us we must pursue justice: “Tzedek, tzedek tirdof” (Deut. 16:20). Maimonides reminds us that “the highest degree of tzedakah is enabling those in need to become self-sufficient”. It is in the spirit of this vision of Judaism that the Dorshei Emet Tikkun Olam (Social Justice) Committee finds its mandate and purpose.