Why Social Action?
As a Reform synagogue, Congregation Kol Ami aligns itself with the social justice mandate of the Union for Reform Judaism. While we are in agreement that there is much in the world that requires healing--in Judaism, known as Tikkun Olam--we also recognize the need to narrow our long term focus to a few issues we can passionately focus on, allowing us to maintain the energy and resources to respond rapidly to critical issues which will benefit from this short term focus.
After a congregation-wide listening campaign held in the summer of 2015, three issues emerged as long-term priorities for our congregants: improving civil discourse (finding ways to hear one another regardless of political or ideological affiliation), protecting the environment (particularly with regard to the impact of climate change), and providing emotional, spiritual and physical support for those in our congregation and extended communities as they experience aging.
Since that time, our community actions have included the following:
• Support for Camp Unity Eastside, during their encampment (Nov 2015-Feb 2016) at Bear Creek United Methodist Church (BCUMC) and Congregation Kol Ami;
• Organization and support for a five part Interfaith series Standing Together for Human Dignity, Justice, Compassion & Wisdom, an interfaith alliance promoting education and dialogue among the three major faith traditions--Islam, Judaism and Christianity--here in our Eastside Seattle neighborhoods;
• Training and attendence at Jewish Lobby Day in Olympia (February 24, 2016), during which congregants met with representatives and advocated on a number of critical issues, including homelessness;
• Environmental restoration at the Carnation Marsh in our beautiful Snoqualamie Valley, in collaboration with King County Parks;
• An ongoing Wisdom in Aging learning series, focussed on many issues critical to us as we age;
• An Interfaith and CKA member community presence at the January 2017 Women's March in Seattle
• A letter-writing and advocacy campaign targeting our local and state representatives.
• Focusing on our civil discourse priority, we are excited to announce the formation Of the Bear Creek Methodist and Congregation Kol Ami Interfaith Partnership whose mission is to create connections with other faith based congregations, to establish a collective voice speaking out in solidarity with the vulnerable and bringing about positive resolution of moral issues associated with environmental, social and economic injustice. We are currently working with local Muslim mosques to join us in our efforts.
As we move forward, members of our Alliance are focusing on immediate concerns facing the country in 2017. Our top issues include preventing the formation of a Muslim registry, fighting climate change, and maintaining existing reproductive rights for women and health care for all.
If you are passionate about social justice, whether you are new to these issues or have been engaged in the pursuit of social justice for years, please join us.