“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”
(Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.)

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

GHIAA Core Team Year in Review: Thank you to everyone who gave testimony, oral and written, made calls to legislators, attended events and in general supported the work of GHIAA and our Core Team. Read here for the yearly update on all GHIAA activities.

Click HERE for local mental health resources: Following our Mental Health Shabbat service on April 21, 2023, we are dedicated to continuing to provide resources related to mental health issues to help guide our congregants and community.
Click HERE for our Peer Connection Resource form if you’d like to offer your assistance to people in our community (this service does not replace recommended help from medical professionals).

Click HERE for an article on our Mental Health Shabbat (4/21/23) by Steven Madonick, MD and Judy Levy

Click HERE for Dr. Susan Levine’s article in our July/August 2023 Bulletin: Climate Change and Environmental Justice

If you have any questions or need more information, please contact Judy Levy, judyglevy@gmail.com, Chair of the GHIAA CBI Core Team

Social Justice Coordinating Committee Overview:

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.

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.

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 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. Click HERE for GHIAA’s 2023 Issues Slate.

Here is what the reform movement and our Religious action center have to say on the most pressing
issues of our time:

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.

CCIU (Connecticut Council for Interreligious Understanding)
ARTF (Antiracism Task Force)
RJAT (Racial Justice Activating Team)

Get Involved

Our Mitzvah Day of 2023 was a wonderful day of service and community with five other synagogues. Volunteers of all ages gathered to make blankets, sandwiches, toiletry bags, and cards to benefit South Park Inn, Hands on Hartford, House of Bread, and Hoffman Summerwood Community. Thank you to everyone who volunteered and made donations!

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.

Regular volunteer opportunities are available through our partnerships with Foodshare and Loaves and Fishes‘ Soup Kitchen in Hartford. One Friday afternoon at 1pm each month volunteers help distribute food from Foodshare’s mobile truck at CBI. Also once a month, volunteers cook a meal at CBI and it is then delivered to Loaves and Fishes. Check cbict.org/calendar for the most up-to-date volunteer opportunities.