A REPORT FROM COMMITTEE CHAIR RABBI MARVIN GROSS.
The next Social Justice Committee meeting will take place on Sunday, March 19, at 10 AM in the temple library.
I am pleased to report that this past Sunday we had the first official meeting of the temple’s new Social Justice Committee, which the PJTC Board of Directors approved at its February 27 meeting.
In light of the current moral crisis in America with regard to immigrants, refugees, and Muslims, we have all agreed there is much we can do, as Jews, to learn about the suffering in our midst and take action to help address it. At Sunday’s meeting, we created several subcommittees as our first steps in this direction.
1. Program Subcommittee, which Kathy Kobayashi has agreed to chair, will organize a series of educational events to inform PJTC members, and the broader community, about the crisis facing immigrants, refugees, and Muslims in the Pasadena area and around the country.
A. We will be bringing speakers to the temple and encourage dialogue. To begin, Peter Braun will be contacting Rep. Judy Chu to establish a date on which she can speak to our synagogue community on the current status of immigration policies and related issues.
B. We will continue to advocate for the temple to erect a banner on the wall facing Altadena Drive to express our Jewish values and our solidarity with those oppressed by the current attacks on immigrants, refugees and Muslims: “We Were All Once Immigrants and Refugees. Do Not Stand Idly By – Leviticus 19:16”
C. As we discussed at the recent temple board meeting, we also want to make certain that the temple addresses its serious security issues.
2. Community Outreach Subcommittee will identify ways that PJTC can work with other groups in the greater Pasadena area to address this crisis.
A. For example, some groups have set up a “rapid response” program to provide support to families facing deportation.
B. We also hope to join with other area congregations as part of an interfaith Sanctuary Sabbath weekend to draw attention to the crisis and inform people what they can do to help.
C. We also discussed the idea of hosting, along with other congregations, a Syrian refugee family. Peter Dreier, Ed Honowitz and Martha Ruffman comprise this group to date. Please let me know if you want t o join this group.
3. Communications Subcommittee will keep our committee members, and all PJTC congregants, informed about various events and actions taking place in the area. There are many vigils, marches, meetings, and other activities that our members may want to know about. Bret Nicely and Jill Spector have agreed to co-chair this subcommittee.
4. In addition, to provide a vehicle for PJTC members to join with other Jews in the community to raise their voices and advocate for policy changes regarding the mistreatment of immigrants, refugees, and Muslims, some members will revitalize a separate group – Pasadena Jews for Justice – outside the temple’s formal structure. Glenn Rothner will chair this effort.
5. Finally, I was very honored that the group asked me to serve as chair of the Social Action Committee and I enthusiastically agreed to do so, pending, of course, confirmation by Board President, Faith Segal.
We’ve come a long way since Peter Braun convened a group of interested temple members five weeks ago in response to the current crisis. (Yasher koach, Peter, for your leadership – propelled by a deep, personal sense of moral outrage.) Since then, the remarkable turnout of members at the February temple board meeting (65), the number of members signing the petition in support of our Statement of Purpose (139), and the willingness of from 25-40 people to meet on Sunday mornings has demonstrated a great sense of urgency and a gratifying spirit of community.
Note: Our next Social Justice Committee meeting will take place on Sunday, March 19, at 10 AM in the temple library.
We also would like folks to attend the March temple board meeting, on Monday, March 27, at 7:30 PM, to continue to advocate for the temple to serve as a voice for social justice, including erecting a banner that proudly reflects the core Jewish value of protecting the stranger.