Welcome to Congregation Beth Israel
Beneath our dome is a spiritual home, a place of community and friendship, a place to be inspired through prayer, a place for lifelong learning, and a place where every person makes a difference.
Every Voice, Every Vote: Take Action
These are troubled times. The threats to our democracy and our rights are pervasive. As Reform Jews we are called to act.
We are responding with others in the Reform Movement by participating in the non-partisan 2022 Every Voice, Every Vote Campaign.
The campaign will focus on reaching out to voters of color in states with a history of voter suppression and barriers to voting that disproportionately affect minority votes.
As in 2020, the campaign will partner with the Center for Common Ground* in their “Reclaim Our Vote” actions. These include reaching out to disenfranchised voters with postcards, phone calls and texts to encourage and support participation in voting.
We will be having opportunities for training and group post card writing.
* The Center for Common Ground is a non-partisan BIPOC led voting rights organization. Their mission is to empower under-represented voters to participate fully in democracy. They have proven success in achieving the goals of their mission
An Affront to Jewish Values
On the Repeal of Roe v Wade
Congregation Beth Israel joins with major Jewish organizations, including the Union for Reform Judaism, the Religious Action Center and the Jewish Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation in strongly condemning the United States Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization overturning the 50 year precedent of Roe v Wade.
Today we are outraged. We are not surprised – the direction of this partisan court has known – but we are no less angry. The current Supreme Court has repeatedly disregarded the separation of church and state and our ability, as Jews, to exercise our religious rights and freedoms. By relegating our most fundamental rights to the whims of state and local politics, the court has put lives at risk.
While nothing will change in Oregon – abortion is still safe and legal in our state – we will not be silent.
Reproductive freedom is not a new issue for Judaism. We have not a half-century, but many centuries of legal precedent in our Jewish history, affirming that the life of a mother takes precedent over the life of an unborn fetus. The brutal and abrupt removal of the freedom to make personal health care choices in the United States will put many people at risk. History shows that abortion bans do not stop abortions, they only stop safe abortions. People of color, low income and other marginalized people will be disproportionally affected.
Significantly, this ruling is an affront to religious liberty in our nation – something which should be protected by a reasonable Supreme Court. While we recognize that there are those whose religious beliefs condemns abortion, those beliefs are not universally held and should not be forced on those, such as the Jewish community, whose religious teaching differs.
Since the court has now abandoned universal protection of individuals to make their own private health care choices, it is up to the voters to ensure that politicians are held accountable for protecting our rights. The Reform Movement has launched the “Every Voice, Every Vote Campaign” to “protect, expand, and strengthen Democracy.” Congregation Beth Israel and our Social Action Committee will be a leader in our state and an example to our country on this effort.
We also support the work of Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette in their efforts to care for the health and safety of those seeking reproductive health care in our state – including those who come from repressive states seeking care. Please donate to them and volunteer.
Kol aravim zeh b’zeh – we are all responsible for each other. Today, we are devastated. Tomorrow, we get back to work.