We would like to recognize the Temple Sinai Social Action Committee (TSSAC) as an organizing force inside our synagogue and a strong representative of Temple Sinai in our community. The TSSAC and our members, over the past year, fed and clothed homeless youth, adopted and cleaned a neighborhood park, and literally saved lives last winter by staffing the emergency overflow homeless shelter. The TSSAC plans to continue these and other acts of Tikkun Olam, to improve our community and promote the values of Temple Sinai.
When the TSSAC evaluates projects and invitations to participate in rallies or events, we have to ask “is this a moral or a political issue?” As Temple Sinai, we cannot participate in political action. There is rarely a clear answer, and we strive to always be in tune with the values of Temple Sinai, which we know are more enduring than political winds and current events.
To provide guidance on this conundrum, the Rabbis Zober have proposed an actionable plan. The Union of Reform Judaism (URJ), of which Temple Sinai has always been a member, occasionally publishes resolutions of its moral stand on many political, social, economic and humanitarian issues. The Rabbis have asked the Board to review relevant URJ resolutions, and either approve or reject the resolutions to aid the Social Action and other committees in their organizing efforts. This process asks the Board to consider the URJ’s moral arguments, rather than political ones, and still leaves room for Temple Sinai’s unique values to prevail.
To date, the Board has approved the spirits of the URJ’s Resolutions on Jewish-Muslim Dialogue, on the Rights of Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming People, and on the Resolution on Our Community’s Pursuit of Racial Justice. For the Resolution on Religious Equality in Israel, Rabbi Sara Zober assisted the Board by rephrasing the Resolution into a value statement that the Board was able to approve as a positive moral message, and not a political one.
Social Action, and other committees, may now use its discretion to participate in activities, projects, and rallies on these moral grounds and know that it has the support of the Board and the congregation. As the Board considers future resolutions, there may be the need for a public forum to ensure that the voices and values of our congregation are clearly heard and understood. If this is an area of discussion you want to know more about, please reach out to Tova McGilvray, the Chair of the Social Action Committee and she would be delighted get you involved.
Tova McGilvray, Chair
Social Action Committee