Archive for : IKAR

Awesome Sukkot Events, 2014

This year, Sukkot begins on Wednesday, October 8, at sundown. It brings with it a focus on harvest, hospitality, the gift of shelter, and an abundance of good food. Meanwhile, when it comes to connecting to social issues like hunger, sustainability, and housing rights, Sukkot is ripe (pun intended!) with possibility.

Each year, congregations and communities around the country find ways to make those connections explicit. Join in the fun by checking out one of these creative and inspiring Sukkot events:

Sharing the Faith – Sukkot
October 10 and 15, Chicago
Join the Niagara Foundation in exploring Sukkot, while offering interfaith educational opportunities. From a Shabbat service, to a conversation about homelessness on Sukkot, it promises to be a worthwhile event.

Eat, Pray, Lulav: A Sukkot Harvest Festival
October 12, Berkeley, CA
Join Urban Adamah for their fourth annual harvest festival complete with opportunities to harvest fall crops, build a cob oven, take a farm tour, and enjoy live music. Bring a canned food item to donate.

Aztec-Jewish Harvest Festival at Proyecto Jardin
October 12, Los Angeles, CA
The congregation IKAR and their urban sustainable garden partner, Proyecto Jardin, are teaming up for a unique, cross-cultural Sukkot event.

Hazon Jewish Food Festival
October 12, Encitas, CA
Spend Sukkot on an honest-to-goodness Jewish ranch, and join nutritionists, chefs, farmers, rabbis, educators, and food enthusiasts in celebration of the values of the Jewish Food Movement.

Sukkot Harvest Celebration
October 14, Boston, MA
Celebrate Sukkot with the Jewish garden, Ganei Beantown, The Riverway Project and the Moishe Kavod House in Temple Israel’s organic vegetable garden and sukkah. Prepare a meal together, learn Torah, and join in an open mic.

Up All Night: Studying Service and Social Justice on Shavuot

Tonight is the beginning of Shavuot, the Jewish calendar’s most learning-focused holiday. Traditionally, people stay up all night studying Jewish texts, fueled by coffee, cheesecake and curiosity.

Last week we posted about the relaunch of On1Foot – an online database founded by AJWS that houses more than one thousand service and social justice-themed Jewish texts and study guides. Today, in honor of the holiday, here’s On1Foot’s Shavuot guide called “From Charity and Dependency to Dignity and Sustainability.” And below, you’ll find a round up of several other online text resources and Shavuot tikkuns (classes) around the country, where you can find inspiring information and insights to help keep the discussion going until sunrise this Shavuot. Dig in!

  • The Religious Action Center (RAC) offers their “Standing Together: Social Justice Guide for Shavuot,” focusing on economic justice, the environment, world Jewry and gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) issues and advocacy.
  • The New Israel Fund is sponsoring 35 learning sessions in Israel focused on Jewish tradition, social justice, tolerance and pluralism. Click here to find a session to attend, or to download their study materials.
  • IKAR in Los Angeles is organizing a Shavuot gathering called “It’s The End of the World As We Know It: Revolution, Climate Change, Culture War, Communal Paradigm Shift – How Does Judaism Respond to the Chaos and Unpredictability of a Changing World?
  • Jews United for Justice in Washington DC is co-hosting a night of learning about Torah, food and just communities with Etz Chayim
  • The Moishe Kavod House in partnership with many other organizations in Boston are hosting an all night Tikkun covering everything from food justice to domestic violence, climate and The Triangle Shirtwaist Fire.
  • The University of San Francisco is co-hosting their third-annual Social Justice Shavuot Program, beginning with a vegetarian dinner.

Know about other service and/or social justice-related resources for Shavuot? Leave them below in the comments.

Three Voices, One Goal: Jewish Service in Participants’ Own Words

What does Jewish service look like? Turns out, the answer to that question is as varied as the people engaging in the service itself.

For some, it’s about digging their hands in the dirt and literally repairing the world by planting a community garden; for others, it’s about helping under-served Jewish populations connect to their faith; and for others still, it’s about deepening their understanding of an important – and sometimes painful – global issue, and then acting on what they’ve learned. Below the jump, you’ll find quotes from participants of three recent service trips. Their inspiring words and stories help to illuminate the many diverse faces and experiences of Jewish service today.
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Eliminating Food Deserts in Los Angeles

After conducting over 200 surveys, LA Voice Pico, a religion based nonprofit in Los Angeles which works to engage low income communities with issues that deeply impact them, concluded that one of the biggest hurdles to purchasing healthy and fresh food for residents in East L.A.’s poorer neighborhoods was transportation (or the lack thereof) to markets. So on December 16th, representatives from LA Voice and IKAR, a Jewish spiritual congregation committed to community service, met with Superior Grocery district managers to discuss this problem and request an increase in shuttle service to the Ramona Gardens housing project. (Jewish Funds for Justice recently gave a grant to LA Voice to train a rabbi or organizer affiliated with IKAR to help with their food justice efforts.) Superior is one of the largest supermarket chains in LA and had partially discontinued a shuttle service that had helped car-less residents get to and from the store. Without the transportation, customers have to spend upwards of three hours to travel to and from the market, which is the closest option for residents who want to buy fresh fruits and vegetables.
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