Or Shalom is committed to tikkun olam, repairing injustice and inequity in the world. Read the Tikkun Olam Coordinating Committee’s terms of reference.
Letter writing campaign for climate action
Register below to participate
Dear Or Shalom Members,
Following up on our community’s strong participation in the GreenFaith multi-faith prayer circle on Oct. 17, our Tikkun Olam Coordinating Committee continues to advocate for meaningful climate action by launching a letter-writing campaign. We want to hold our elected officials accountable and remind them of their promises.
Our first goal: to deliver at least 118 letters to Canada’s brand-new Environment and Climate Change Minister, Steven Guilbeault (with copies to Justin Trudeau, Erin O’Toole, Jagmeet Singh, Annamie Paul, Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Natural Resources, and BC’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, George Heyman).
You’re invited to join us, and it’s easy: you only have to write one letter! Join us on Nov. 14 at 2 p.m. for a Zoom session. Register by filling out the form below. The Zoom link will be sent via email.
Or Shalom among over 100 individuals at Faiths4Climate Justice action
A report from the Tikkun Olam Co-ordinating Committee
It was a pleasure working with the Vancouver Greenfaith organizers to create Oct. 17’s Faiths4Climate Justice event, and we were thrilled to see so many Or Shalom community members there!
In advance of the upcoming COP26 UN Climate Change Conference, we were one of more than 420 such multi-faith global demonstrations, calling on national and international governing bodies to urgently step up policies and actions to ensure a just and liveable future for today’s children and generations to come.
The gathering started with the powerful singing and drumming of Paddle Songs by host nations: Mary Point, of the Musqueam Nation and Clarissa of the Squamish Nation. Chief Judy Wilson of the Neskonlith Nation (near Chase) welcomed and transported us with moving words to the spiritual heart of the matter: Saving Mother Earth, on whom all beings depend. Chief Wilson then led the Seven Directions ceremony, with Stacy Gallagher (Anishinaabe) of the Burnaby Watch Tower assisting.
There were musical offerings from bells, shofars, and the Solidarity Notes choir. Stephen Aberle of Ahavat Olam offered Jewish words of wisdom about Torah being a Tree of Life, and the many Jewish participants – including Or Shalomniks as well as Rabbi Adam Stein of Beth Israel – sang along to the Tree of Life with Aberle’s beautiful voice leading. Rabbi Laura Duhan-Kaplan shared a creative and resonant midrash centering on the story of Noah and the Raven on board the ark.
Along with moving contributions by a minister from Lytton there were also words of wisdom and songs from Christian friends, interspersed with teachings from the Quran and warnings of the human and environmental costs of militarism. The event closed with Buddhist words of loving kindness, caring and peace.
Despite the rain, 128 of us were present at the peak of Sunday’s Faiths4Climate Justice event. After the ‘biblical’ downpour, approximately 50 stalwarts remained. There is no question that the Or Shalom contingent was the largest and most spirited, with over two dozen Or Shalomniks braving the wind and rain!
There will be many future opportunities for us to raise our voices and grow our presence on taking action in the climate crisis, and we look forward to joining with Vancouver Greenfaith and other activist groups to demand climate justice.
(This event cost 50% more than planned because of honoraria to Indigenous guests. We invited two: four came. If you didn’t get a chance to make a donation or would like to increase it, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.)
A donation to the Or Shalom Tzedakah Fund is a wonderful way to fulfill the mitzvah of tzedakah.
Tzedakah is collected in person at Erev Yom Kippur in the tradition to empty your pockets of any cash before entering the sanctuary for Kol Nidre, and, like last year, there is also a virtual “Empty Your Pockets” option to give electronically.
The Four Charities benefitting from High Holy Days 5782 Tzedakah Fund
The Or Shalom board is honoured to ratify the Tikkun Olam Committee’s recommendations for the four organizations to receive Tzedakah funds from the High Holy Days 5782 Tzedakah Fund.
The Tikkun Olam Co-ordinating Committee’s selections were guided by the intention to support the important work of at least one local, one Israeli, one Indigenous and one climate organization.
The donations collected from the proceeds of the Tzedakah Fund, as well as both the physical Empty Your Pockets tzedakah bowl (available on Erev Yom Kippur) and the virtual Empty Your Pockets, will be divided equally among these four worthy organizations.
1. (Indigenous, Environment)
RAVEN Trust: RAVEN provides legal funds for Indigenous communities to protect their territories, partnering with Indigenous peoples to enable access to Canada’s justice system so that communities may mount and sustain legal challenges to industrial projects. In addition to Raven’s mandate to uphold Indigenous constitutional rights, their public education programs work to eliminate environmental racism and foster a greater understanding of Indigenous rights and governance.
Battered Women’s Support Services (BWSS): Or Shalom identified BWSS as one of 8 “leading lights” in our community several years ago and we have maintained a strong personal relationship with them over the years. A feminist voice against violence and oppression, BWSS is a strong, dynamic organization that provides support and advocacy for women who have experienced abuse, as well as community education and training about violence against women.
3. (Israel Reparations)
New Israel Fund Canada (NIFC)/Shared Society Emergency Fund: The NIFC is a leading channel for Canadians to support a just and democratic Israel that upholds equality for all its citizens, as envisioned in its Declaration of Independence, and that upholds fundamental human rights for all those under its authority. The NIFC mobilizes Canadian Jews and other supporters to advance its vision through raising funds for projects in Israel and areas under its authority and through educating and engaging the public on the critical issues facing Israeli Society. The Shared Society Emergency Fund will raise money from around the world to combat racism, extremism, and incitement, advancing public legitimacy for Jewish-Arab partnerships, and bringing representatives of Palestinian citizenry into local and national decision-making.
4. (Youth, Environment, Local)
Sustainabiliteens: A movement of young people from across Metro Vancouver, united by urgency to stop climate catastrophe and a shared vision to exercise their agency to create a more just and sustainable world. Recognizing that their generation is inheriting environmental collapse and a world view that values corporate profit over people’s lives, Sustainabiliteens create space for youth to engage with these issues and lay the foundations for a future they can look forward to. With roots in climate striking, they now focus on pushing for policies to reduce emissions at a greater scale and speed, while also addressing the dual challenges of climate crisis and inequity. An example of recent work is their effective lobbying in municipal climate emergency planning.
Rabbi Hannah talks climate crisis and tikkun olam
Representing our shul’s strong tikkun olam orientation and efforts, Rabbi Hannah spoke at a recent climate crisis series featuring prominent Canadians who tackle the questions: how can we find the individual and collective strength to clearly face the truth of the climate emergency, mourn the damage already done to our planet, and get inspired to act? Catch her talk below: