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Tikkun Olam (Social Justice) Committee

Join the Committee

The new Social Justice Committee has begun to meet.  Any member of the synagogue interested in participating is welcome.

The committee is currently exploring or planning activities related to a variety of topics:

  • Refugees: advocacy for Afghan refugees and support for a new Syrian family, sponsored by Dorshei Emet, waiting to arrive in Canada);
  • environmental projects for “greening” the shul and for informing shul members about a range of individual actions to reduce global warming;  
  • possibilities for volunteering for Le Dépôt (former NDG food bank);
  • anti racism self-education;
  • Empty Bowls;
  • advocacy for access to health and social services for the Quebec English community;
  • support for front line health care workers

Contact Susan Stock, the chair of the committee, for more information or to join the committee.

MISSION 

In December 2021 the Committee adopted the following new mission statement:

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 seek justice, ensure the respect of human rights, and reduce social inequities and discrimination.

The mandate of the Dorshei Emet Tikun Olam (Social Justice) Committee is to carry out activities to reduce injustice, with a particular emphasis on reducing social inequities, including discrimination and environmental injustice, 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 social inequities by addressing their social determinants. This comprehensive approach to social action requires a number of complementary strategies, including but not limited to, direct service, tzedakah, advocacy, community organizing, education, and acts of solidarity 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 reduce social inequities, including discrimination and environmental injustice. It includes advocating for public policies that address the underlying problems and community organizing. It also includes educational activities to increase awareness of the problems and their solutions and implementing solutions that improve the quality of life of those currently in need that foster their autonomy.
  • Acts of solidarity include material and publicly visible forms of allyship that aim to transparently reflect the support of Dorshei Emet for vulnerable and marginalized people. Activities may include encouraging signing and distributing petitions, participating in demonstrations, public denunciations of acts of discrimination or situations of social or economic inequities or providing support for movements, organizations or individuals with similar goals. Acts of solidarity may also include calling for action and taking public stances on important social justice issues on behalf of the Doreshei Emet congregation.

The Dorshei Emet Tikkun Olam (Social Justice) Committee aims to address social needs, discrimination, environmental injustice and other socials inequity issues that may exist in our own synagogue, as well as in the Montreal Jewish community and the larger Montreal and Quebec communities. It may eventually broaden its scope. To focus on these communities, it will collaborate with various individuals and organizations, 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 inequities 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. He encouraged us to see it as our religious duty “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 translate 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.

Sun, November 27 2022 3 Kislev 5783