What is Tikkun Olam?
The highest form of wisdom is kindness-The Talmud
Tikkun Olam are the Hebrew words for repairing the world. As human beings and as Jews we want to leave our world a better place than we entered it. The concept of Tikkun Olam is strongly rooted in Jewish tradition. In the words of the Talmud: “It is not upon you to finish the work, but you are not free to ignore it.” (Mishna, Ethics, 2:21). As Jews, we want to leave our world a better place than when we entered it. As members of Temple Etz Chaim, another word for Tikkun Olam is Social Action. It refers to providing extra protection to those at a disadvantage.
Members of the Social Action Committee are involved in many ongoing projects to help the less fortunate. Social Action organizes special projects based on community need and member interest. Many people on the committee have gotten so much more out of helping others than they ever expected. It’s a great way to make friends with like-minded souls. It’s rewarding to work on a project from just an idea and take it to fruition. We invite you to participate in one of our collections or events and of course, join Social Action. We meet once a month.
Temple Etz Chaim proudly sponsors:
Harbor House Thousand Oaks: Harbor House provides services for the homeless in the Conejo Valley. Their goal is to help people in our community find gainful employment, affordable housing, hope and a sense of personal well-being. They organize Feeding the Hungry every day of the week through the generosity of our community. Temple Etz Chaim provides lunches or dinners every month. For more information, click here.
Many Mansions: Many Mansions provides well-managed, service-enriched, affordable housing to low-income residents of Ventura and Los Angeles Counties, with a special focus on those of very low-income, who are formerly homeless, seniors, veterans, or disabled. For more information, click here.
Westminster Free Clinic: Westminster Free Clinic offers free healthcare to the working poor and uninsured members of our community. Preventative health and exercise classes are also provided at no charge. These services are available because of our local health professionals that donate their time and expertise. For more information, click here.
- Mitzvah Day: The first Sunday in November, Social Action organizes activities for all ages of our TEC community that will help others in need. Projects in past years included creating First Aid Kits for residents of Many Mansions, packing lunches to feed the hungry, a visit to Assisted Living by preschoolers who sang songs and presented flowers, collecting men’s suits, jackets and hoodies, crocheted blankets, created cards for seniors, made jewelry for foster teens and of course…
- Blood Drive: Twice a year, in March or April and on Mitzvah Day, Temple Etz Chaim joins with Vitalant for one of the largest Blood Drives in the Conejo Valley. Schedule our appointment with Debra Levine.
- Social Action Shabbat: Twice a year, Social Action partners with Rabbi Averbach to create a meaningful service that includes speakers that provide programs to help the disadvantaged locally and some, globally.
- Webinars: Social Action spearheads webinars bringing in experts to educate our temple and community on various topics. In 2021, we presented a webinar on vaccine efficacy and on learning about the propositions on the ballot.
Habitat For Humanity: We volunteer a day at a local Habitat for Humanity site to help build homes. Most Recently we were at the Port Hueneme site.
Field Trips. Social Action loves to go on field trips! We have taken tours of local non-profits such as the Westminster Free Clinic and Many Mansions. We look forward to going on many more including touring an Oxnard Homeless Shelter.
The Social Action Committee has representatives that sit on two local committees:
WIN (Women’s Interfaith Network)
A representative from Social Action attends Women’s Interfaith Network every month where we learn about ideas to help others from other faith groups and participate in group projects.
Conejo Valley Interfaith Refugee Welcome Committee
Representatives from Social Action join forces with other faith organizations to help refugees from various countries that are settling in our community. Presently we are focusing on Afghan families that need clothing, furniture, food, and services such as tutoring, etc.
- Adopt-a-Family: In October and November we collect hundreds of toys and other presents for the Westminster Free Clinic families, for Seniors from the Meals on Wheels Program from Senior Concerns, for the families of Many Mansions, for a few families in need in our preschool and religious school and thousands of dollars in gift cards to the homeless and near homeless of Harbor House. TEC has been incredibly generous each year and it is the largest and most comprehensive Collection the Social Action Committee organizes each year.
- Feeding the Hungry: On a monthly basis, TEC organizes Feeding the Hungry events through our commitment to Harbor House. Congregants meet to pack lunches and deliver meals to those in need.
- Monthly Mitzvah Wednesday: On the last Wednesday of the month, TEC members and preschool families donate fruit and vegetables to the Westminster Free Clinic’s Free Food Give-a-Way where they provide food for over 300 clinic families in need. TEC members also volunteer at Westminster Free Clinic to help package and distribute the food every Wednesday.
Other Collections have included:
- James Storehouse: Provides clothing, bedding, car seats, beds, bedding, clothes, and classes to foster children and their caregivers. We donated car seats, new socks & underwear, jackets, hoodies and Halloween costumes.
- The Midnight Mission: Our congregation donates jackets, blankets and toiletries for those living on Skid Row in Los Angeles.
- Jewish World Watch: We support this local organization that works to stop genocide globally. Events are planned yearly with Temple Etz Chaim.
For further information please contact the VP Social Action.