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A Vibrant Reform Jewish Synagogue in Bergen County.

Temple Avodat Shalom

Serving northern New Jersey since 1952.

Upcoming Events

June 19, 2018 at 7:00pm
June 19, 2018 at 7:30pm
June 19, 2018 at 7:30pm
June 21, 2018 at 12:00pm
June 22, 2018 at 8:00pm

Justice Central

 JUSTICE AT TAS 

“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.”

Tikkun Olam – Repairing the World. Members of our community work individually and together to advocate for better laws, policies, and programs that can make the world in which we all live healthier, kinder, stronger and fairer. 

Gender Identity and Expression
At Shabbat Services on Friday night, December 8, 2017, the Social Justice Core Committee announced that our first (but far from last!) Justice Initiative will be focused on Gender Identity and Expression.  For more information, please read the attached speeches by Nilene Evans Chase about the process for identifying our first Initiative and the initial plans for moving forward and by Rabbi Paul about the Jewish values that underlie and support this Initiative.  Please keep watching this space for more information about our plans.
     - Gender Identity and Expression 
     - LGBTQ Awareness

Here is a clash of Immigration, Asylum and Transgender Rights - 

FREE ALEJANDRA, TRANS RIGHTS ACTIVIST SEEKING SAFETY

Alejandra fought for transgender rights for more than a decade in El Salvador. She was forced to flee after repeated attacks and extortion by a criminal gang, as well as abuses by the Salvadoran military. Alejandra was sexually assaulted by both the gang and military personnel because of her transgender identity. But instead of offering her safety and a chance to rebuild her life, the U.S. government is detaining her in a private prison with inadequate and unresponsive health care. Alejandra is now stuck at the Cibola detention center in New Mexico, waiting for an immigration judge’s decision on her asylum claim. She should be free – not behind bars. Join us in demanding that ICE release her on parole – so she can reunite with her niece, who is living in the U.S. and has already won her asylum claim.

Alejandra’s situation is not unique; there are many more trans people seeking asylum in the United States stuck waiting for months in detention centers where they are at risk of ill-treatment because of their gender identity, medical needs, or the trauma they have endured. It is cruel and unnecessary for U.S. immigration authorities to detain people fleeing to the U.S. in search of safety from persecution and violence, including brave women like Alejandra.

Tell ICE to release Alejandra, along with other transgender asylum seekers detained at Cibola!

Here is a link to a Modern Love story that should make us all think about what gender really is: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/01/style/modern-love-neither-male-nor-female-seems-to-fit.html 

It's a Theyby - Here is a link to a provocative article about raising a baby without a gender identity. https://www.thecut.com/2018/04/theybies-gender-creative-parenting.html

Exciting New Social Action Trip Being Planned - We are considering working with Remote Area Medical (RAM), which is a major nonprofit provider of mobile medical clinics.  https://www.ramusa.org/    RAM's mission is to prevent pain and alleviate suffering by providing free, quality healthcare to those in need. We do this by delivering free dental, vision, and medical services to underserved and uninsured individuals.   See also, https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2015/01/life-in-the-sickest-town-in-america/384718// :
We are still exploring this but here are just a few reasons this is exciting:

  • You don't have to be a medical professional to work with them.  We may have a few medical people who want to do this but there are many things we can do.  As I research further, I will let you know.
  • We can drive to it - Tennessee, Kentucky, West Virginia - we can caravan or rent vans.  We do not have to fly anywhere.
  • We can start small, with just a few volunteers going and hope to build momentum within our community for this project.
  • We will interact with people not just a building or stuff
  • We can do a volunteer stint in the late fall as a try-out and perhaps another in the spring - for example, there is a clinic in Gray, TN from 11/2-11/4.  
  • We can do food or supply drives beforehand and bring things with us
  • If any of our b'nai mitzvah children want to participate, we believe there are opportunities
  • We can work with other Bergen communities and bring a relatively large contingent to help

Stay tuned!

Making Social Justice a Core Valuehttps://urj.org/blog/2018/05/15/6-ways-strengthen-social-justice-work-your-congregation-and-strengthen-your

ADDITIONAL SOCIAL JUSTICE OPPORTUNITIES - Below are links to opportunities for social justice activities of all kinds to consider taking on an individual basis or with friends. We are not endorsing these activities, but rather hoping to make our community more aware of what is going on in New Jersey.
Feel free to contact us at justice@avodatshalom.net to get an event added to this webpage.

Here is a link to an article from The Jewish Standard about the actions United Synagogue of Hoboken is taking to help refugees.  http://jewishstandard.timesofisrael.com/learning-what-works-and-whats-feasible/ 

IN-PERSON CIVIC ENGAGEMENT TRAINING, Thursday June 14, 7:30PM at RodephTorah in Marlboro - Guest speakers Scott Novakowski and Ron Pierce of New jersey Institute of Social Justice will delve into our state's history of disenfranchisement of neighbors of color, and what we can do to address that.  You will also learn the nuts and bolts of how to register voters, vote by mail, and encourage others to vote; to engage candidates in issues-based forums; and to advocate for voting rights Please RSVP to Temple Rodeph Torah at 732-308-0055 or rsvp.trt.org

Volunteers Are The Unsung Heroes Of Abortion Care - https://www.yahoo.com/lifestyle/volunteers-unsung-heroes-abortion-care-104519850.html?soc_src=social-sh&soc_trk=ma.

Seeking Hospice Volunteers -  Visiting Nurse Association of Englewood Hospice is recruiting Hospice volunteers. It has an array of opportunities for any compassionate individuals looking to serve their community. All VNA volunteers receive in-house training at our Englewood office to become a vital component to its Hospice team. Volunteers may choose to work directly with patients or work in our office performing various clerical and administrative duties. Perhaps you are a creative individual who enjoys working with arts and crafts, sewing, massage or Reiki. There are many ways to share your talents through hospice care. One opportunity is:

  • Seniors Helping Seniors -  Seniors For Seniors is a training course where people learn how to advocate for issues of importance to our older neighbors. There are four more openings for the next class, which starts in April. Please see more at www.S4S.online.

VNA welcomes all who are willing to give their time to help provide companionship to our patients. To learn more about VNA training sessions, dates and times, please feel free to contact:

Marion McGowan/Director of Volunteers North usr.membership1@gmail.com
Visiting Nurse Association Health Group
15 Engle Street / Englewood NJ, 07631
Office/ 800-200-2345 / Direct 201-510-6426
Email: McGowan@vnahg.org
www.vnahg.org

Ten Ways To Fight Hate - A Community Resource Guide

Jewish Council for Public Affairs Urges White House to Defend DACA and Protect Dreamers

Help the victims of the Mexican earthquake
This charity is a Jewish NGO (non-governmental organization) working in Mexico for years. Learn more here.

Past 2018 Events
Refugee Action Working Group Training - May 14, 2018, 5:30pm Temple Emeth in Teaneck, NJ or May 31, 2018, Temple Sinai in Summit, NJ - view the invitation for more information. 

What Can I Do? Gun Control Action Forum. Wednesday, May 2, 2018, 7:30 pm.  Puffin Cultural Forum,  20 Puffin Way, Teaneck NJ. Community leaders, student activists, and advocacy groups examine the issue of gun control reform. A panel of speakers present and discuss ways that public citizens can stay informed, stay active, and make a difference. The speakers are: Dennis Hirschfelder and Al Michel, Brady Campaign; Laurence Fine, Students Demand Action Bergen County; Larisa Mendez Downes and Lisa Cullen O’Donaghue, Bergen County Local Group of Moms; Barbara Ostroth, League of Women Voters; Jeanne Thiesen, Sandy Hook PROMISE.

Bergen County Care Fair, Health, Wellness and Support Services, Sunday, May 6, 2018, 12:00 - 4:00 pm, Fairleigh Dickenson University Rothman Center, 100 University Plaza Drive, Hackensack, NJ.  FREE.  One stop source to help Bergen residents cut through the heath care and support system maze, learn about options and connect with the providers and resources they need.  The Fair is for families, children, seniors, veterans, all income levels and those with disabilities, special needs, mental health and chronic disease challenges.  For you and the people you love. www.bergencarefair.org. Presented by Bergen County Executive James. J. Tedesco, III and the Board of Chosen Freeholders.

March For Our Lives -- March 24, 2018

Advocacy Opportunity -- Join Reform Jewish Voice NJ for its annual Advocacy Day, Monday March 12.  This year's theme is R'Fuah Sh'lehmah: Making New Jersey Whole.  For us the healing is in extending rights that we take for granted to all in our state. We are stronger when we stand for each other.

It's Time for Gun Sense in America - Wednesday, March 7, 2018, 7pm. Westwood Community Center, 55 Jefferson Avenue, Westwood NJ.   Sponsors: Mayors Against Illegal Guns and Moms Demand Action .  Join us to find out how you can be involved in the change we seek as advocates for common sense solutions to address the nation's dangerous culture of gun violence. Panel includes Mayor John Birkner, Jr. Mayor Diane Didio with special invited guests, including Sen. Loretta Weinberg.

No Dream Deferred  - March 5th March - The New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice,of which Reform Jewish Voice New Jersey is a member, is sponsoring five events throughout the state for us to rally side by side with DREAMers and allies.  See the Facebook page -  https://www.facebook.com/events/116565342505009/ - for more information​

"Let's Talk:  The Politics of Gender in 21st Century America."  Thursday, February 15, 2018.  7:30- 9:30, Fairleigh Dickenson University, Dickenson Hall, Wilson Auditorium, 140 University Plaza Drive, Hackensack, NJ  Let’s Talk” is about the challenges confronting men and women in our society today - culturally and politically. Are men and women living in two different worlds? Perhaps the better question is this: how do we prepare ourselves for an honest, productive conversation about what comes next? Our speakers will cover the impact of the Trump election on gender politics, the political response of both men and women to the #metoo movement. Panelists include Dan Cassino, FDU, Patricia Mathew,Montclair,  Deborah Walsh, Rutgers, Tova Walsh, Rutgers moderated by Yasemin Besen-Cassino, Montclair. 

LET'S TALK! " The Rise, Causes, and Potential Solutions to Partisan Polarization".  Network for Responsible Public Policy.  Fairleigh Dickenson University, Dickenson Hall. Wilson Auditorium. 140 University Plaza Drive. Hackensack NJ. Thursday, February 14, 2018. 7:30- 9:30 pm
NFRPP's Distinguished Lecture Series, "Let's Talk" will focus on the growing polarization among individuals in our society and between the political parties.  Our speakers will take a closer look at the role of the media in fostering polarization.  What is the difference between people's views on the issues, and their feelings toward the other party? What, if anything, might be done to help remedy the growing hostility between the political parties and individuals?  Two authoritative behavioral psychologists and political scientists with research and expertise in this area will help us to understand the conflict and offer some practical resolutions. Click here for further information.

January 15, 2018 - Honoring MLK 
The Annual Bergen County Martin Luther King Birthday Celebration for 2018 will be held at Central Unitarian Church in Paramus on Monday, January 15 at 6:30 PM. 2018 marks 50 years since the assassination of Dr. King. It is today more important than ever to recall and carry forth his legacy. The guest speaker will be social activist The Reverend Charles Boyer. Also featuring vocalist Lauren Hooker and the Teaneck Community Chorus. Please see the flyer for more details and to pass on to others.

January 20, 2018 - Protest in the Tradition of Dr. King
Nonviolent Peaceful Protest in the Tradition of Dr. King, Still the Way to Counter Hate and Extremism - Join the Director of Outreach of The Southern Poverty Law Center for an Inspiring Discussion on Saturday, January 20th.  For more information, click here.