At Congregation Beth Israel, our dedication to pursuing social justice comes from the Jewish value of tikkun olam – repairing the world.

GHIAA Power Summit!
Wednesday, Dec. 7 at 7:00 to 9:00pm

Who:  GHIAA leaders, congregational members, elected officials, incoming congregations, denominational heads, and special guests

Where: Weaver High School, 415 Granby St., Hartford

Why:  To launch new campaigns, obtain commitments from elected officials, and embody the power of our almost 50 interfaith congregations to make change for justice in our communities, region, and state.

This is a large-scale action, and turnout will be critical. WE NEED YOU!! To make this action widely accessible, GHIAA has made the following arrangements:

  • For Covid safety, KN95 masks will be required throughout the event and will be available at the door for those who need them. We ask that all attendees be vaccinated and boosted, and that you test at home before coming.
  • Real-time ASL and Spanish interpretation will be provided.
  • Accessible parking and seating are available at Welte Hall.
  • Reimbursement is available for the cost of childcare at your home for the evening.

In order to demonstrate GHIAA’s power to the elected officials who will be present, and in order to energize ourselves for the work ahead, we envision this as a primarily in-person event. However, for those who truly are not safe in large gatherings due to ongoing health concerns or other circumstances, we will provide a livestream option as well. We can’t wait to see you on Dec. 7!

RSVP to Susan Levine, Congregation Beth Israel GHIAA Core Team, at sflevine1@gmail.com.

What keeps you up at night? Is it racism, gender-based violence, climate change, the need for criminal justice reform, immigration, gun violence, LGBTQ rights, health care disparities; or maybe homelessness or hunger? The question to ask yourself is: what do you care the most about and what is the best way for you to affect change?

Many of you have found your way toward action through your jobs and your CBI volunteer work.
We want to just share with you a framework for that action through our congregation, a framework that is changing. The Social Justice Coordinating Committee changed its name a few years back, adding the
“Coordinating.” This was a recognition of the fact that much of what we do in social justice at CBI
happens outside of any single committee, and now more and more often the work of social justice
happens outside of the walls of our synagogue. In addition to moving toward a coordinating role, we have also taken a critical look at the kinds of activities we engage in. They fall into 3 main pillars: tzedakah, advocacy and community organizing.

Tzedakah
includes the more traditional service projects- Typically linked to highly effective partners, these include the back pack drive thru Covenant to Care for Children, the Yom Kippur Food drive, working in the Loaves and Fishes kitchen, joining in the community walk for Hunger, reading mentorship programs, just to name a few of many many rich programs that we have had in some instances for decades.

Advocacy
is something different. This refers to trying to get public support for a particular cause. Over the years many of you have joined forces on the steps of the capital to be heard on one cause or another. You have gone to rallies, some have testified in public hearings. We have had legislators come and speak and listen to our concerns and we have joined in a number of Religious Action Center campaigns.

Community organizing
is yet a different animal. This is refers to individuals who are directly affected by the issue at hand banning together to make meaningful change. This is what our GHIAA (Greater Hartford Interfaith Action Alliance) initiative is all about. Through the leadership of our rabbis and a core team of 12 CBI members, trained by the Center for Leadership and Justice, GHIAA is now a powerful coalition of 40 faith groups including 9 synagogues working together on a handful of specific and actionable issues around housing, criminal justice reform, healthcare and education.

Here is what the reform movement and our Religious action center have to say on the most pressing
issues of our time:
https://rac.org/advocacy-activism-why-advocacy-central-reform-judaism
https://urj.org/what-we-believe

When you think about how to engage in social justice at CBI think about what are the issues you care
the most about and how do you choose to engage. Take a look below for a more complete description of all we do at CBI.

ARTF (Antiracism Task Force)
RJAT (Racial Justice Activating Team)
Food Share
Adult Education

Get Involved

Weekly and ongoing volunteer opportunities and drives to benefit those in need are included in our calendar at cbict.org/calendar and weekly Chai Lights e-newsletter. To subscribe to Chai Lights, please email bethisrael@cbict.org.

One regular volunteer opportunity is our partnership with Loaves and Fishes‘ Soup Kitchen in Hartford. Volunteers cook a meal at CBI once a month and it is then delivered to Loaves and Fishes. Upcoming dates are: