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Social Action

Social Justice at CBI - It’s in our DNA

At CBI, we have a history of making a difference. Not only were we the first Jewish congregation in Austin, we were the first synagogue in Austin with a female rabbi, with a female cantor, with a gay rabbi, with a gay cantor. We pioneered the MLK Social Justice Weekend and we are long-time supporters of the Central Texas Food Bank, Refugee Services of Texas, and Interfaith Action of Central Texas.

As our daily headlines list the brokenness of our world, we come together as a congregation to lay the groundwork of a better normal ahead. We undertake this work with a seriousness of purpose and light hearts. Let us know how you want to get involved!

Vision 

The Social Action Committee is an inclusive group of volunteers at Congregation Beth Israel. Through education (limud), direct action (gimilut hasadim) and advocacy (tzedek tirdof), we promote social justice at both a local and societal level. This includes providing direct service, as well as working to influence policies and structures, so the Jewish value of Tikkun Olam can be realized in the public square. As a URJ Brit Olam congregation, we are deeply connected to the work of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism (the RAC) and RAC-TX. As a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, our work is completely nonpartisan.

Mission

Social justice is a deeply-held Jewish value. Through social justice, we strive to change policies, structures, and institutions, and social norms so that they work on behalf of the common good. Social Justice also includes direct service and awareness initiatives that play a role in changing hearts and minds that can lead to systemic change. The Social Action Committee is an inclusive planning group that provides opportunities for all congregants to get involved, surfaces issues of concern, and organizes for action that leads to effective social change.

Let us know how you want to get involved!


Current Projects

Civic Engagement

 We are working with RAC-TX to support social justice legislation during the 2021 Texas Legislative Session. And we continue to monitor city and county initiatives in the social justice arena. As opportunities for action arise, we will post them here.

Sign up to get involved in CBI’s civic engagement efforts



Chavuraction Circles: Gathering, Learning & Acting Together

A “Chavurah” is an informal small group of congregation members, which meets regularly, usually once a month in each other’s homes (virtually during the pandemic), to create bonds of friendship. The mission of this group is to have a safe place in which we learn more about social justice together, become more connected with like-minded congregants, and ultimately grow as Jews and humans, so that , as Maya Angelou said, “When we know better, we do better.”

In the second half of 2020, we piloted Chavuraction Circles as an opportunity to explore anti-racism topics together and create a long-term initiative to build an anti-racist culture in our CBI and our local community. The pilot was a success and we will begin a second cohort of Chavuraction Circles on Sunday, January 17th from 2:00-3:30 p.m. online as part our MLK Social Justice Weekend. Groups receive approximately 1-2 hours of pre-meeting study assignments and meet once a month for 2 hours. Cohorts run for an initial six months with opportunity to continue meeting after.

Click here to learn more.

Click here to register for our second cohort.

 

Immigrant Justice Action  

Throughout our Torah, we are commanded to welcome the stranger in our midst. Here at Congregation Beth Israel, we firmly believe that we have a sacred duty to help those seeking asylum from dangerous and troubling lives in the country of their birth, looking for a safer life in the United States.


Homelessness Justice Action  

As Jews, we are commanded to help the most vulnerable among us. At CBI, we know how important it is to uphold this value, to give tzedakah, to provide resources for those who need them the most, and to speak up for the people impacted by homelessness in our world.

Other social action opportunities include:

  • Providing respite for those caring for Alzheimer’s sufferers with Circle of Friends. (This program is on hiatus.)
  • Regular food drives and volunteer days to benefit the Central Texas Food Bank.
  • Working as a Welcome Team for the Refugee Services of Texas.
  • Providing volunteers as needed for local community and interfaith needs.
Mon, September 20 2021 14 Tishrei 5782