At Achduth Vesholom, our members are engaged in the ongoing work of tikkun olam, striving to improve the world in which we live. The Social Action Committee’s mission is to provide programs of social justice, social action, and social reform to encourage and support those efforts, sharing the message with the world around us.
Even in this past year of the pandemic, our efforts have continued with an annual Yom Kippur food drive to be shared with Wellspring Interfaith Social Services. The need for food has been great this past year and CAV members were reminded to donate food, money, or both to help Wellspring help those who are food insecure. Today, that need continues, members are encouraged to act again and often.
We also support this effort through the Jewish community’s Thoughtful Thursdays program, which provides food and household items to the 30 children and their families who attend Brightpoint Head Start in our building. The program is a joint effort of the Temple and the Jewish Federation of Fort Wayne.
In April 2021, the Social Action Committee launched its newest program, Behind the News, when Irin Carmon spoke by Zoom to more than 100 people. She is co-author of Notorious RBG, a working journalist, and a contributor to CNN. Behind the News plans to bring a journalist annually to Fort Wayne to talk about covering the news, the back story, and other stories not covered on the daily news.
As we gradually emerge from COVID isolation, we will continue with our popular Hot Topics Shabbat program to shine out light on local and state subjects of interest. In June 2021, we hosted Michelle Chambers, an at-large member of Fort Wayne’s City Council who co-chairs the city’s Commission on Police Reform and Social Justice. Over the past few years, Hot Topics has helped to educate our members about Allen County’s Drug Court, an effort to free low-level offenders from incarceration in light of the pandemic, federal policies covering refugees and immigrants, topics being addressed by the Indiana General Assembly, issues of reproductive rights, and religious pluralism in Israel.
Our ongoing Thoughtful Thursdays program in partnership with the Jewish Federation of Fort Wayne helps 30 children who attend Brightpoint Head Start in our building. Our efforts were recognized in 2013 when the Temple was named a recipient of the Irving J. Fain Social Action Award! We received the honor at the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism’s Consultation on Conscience in Washington, DC.
High Holy Days Food Drive
Achduth Vesholom has an annual High Holy Days food drive to assist local food banks. Our members take home a grocery bag on Rosh Hashanah and bring it back on Yom Kippur filled with non-perishable items. Our Hanukkah food drive also helps in the community. During Purim, we ask everyone to bring boxes of macaroni and cheese to use as groggers during the service and then donate the items to the needy.
Wellspring Interfaith Social Services: Achduth Vesholom is a faith partner of Wellspring Interfaith Social Services.
Northeast Indiana LGBTQ Coalition: The Temple is a member organization of the Northeast Indiana LGBTQ Coalition. Our leadership completed Safe Space training to become affirming allies of the LGBTQ community.
Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism: Our congregation supports the efforts of the RAC, which educates, inspires, and mobilizes the Reform Jewish community to advocate for social justice.
To find out more about how you can help, contact the Temple office (260) 744-4245 or email@example.com.
Our most recent Mitzvah Day brought together more than 80 congregants on a beautiful Sunday morning to tend to the Temple’s section at Lindenwood Cemetery. Many members wore t-shirts provided by Areyvut reminding us of the importance of “Doing Good.”
We buried damaged sacred books and said Kaddish. We cleaned headstones for loved ones and those we didn’t know. We placed stones of remembrance decorated by our Religious School students. And we shared stories about the history of the Temple and some of those buried at Lindenwood.
Afterward we returned to the Temple for socializing and lunch, including a visit from an ice cream truck. Thanks to those who shared in a special day!