Social Action

Social Action

Pursuing Justice – Union for Reform Judaism

Pursuing Justice – Union for Reform Judaism
Tuesday, October 18, 5:00 PM
Tuesday, October 25, 5:00 PM
Register in advance

“Justice, Justice, you shall pursue” commands Deuteronomy 16:20. Delve into foundational Jewish teachings about a systemic approach to justice, including the obligation to provide for society’s most vulnerable and to set up a fair legal system. Tuesday, October 18; 5-6:30 p.m. PT.

Explore the proud tradition of social justice activism by the Reform Movement and where we stand today on contemporary concerns like civic engagement and anti-racism. Put your learning into action as we consider models for our individual and communal social activism. Tuesday, October 25; 5-6:30 p.m. PT.

Join us for one or both online sessions.

Mitzvah Day 365 Interest Groups

Launched this Spring, Mitzvah Day 365 is an opportunity to engage in Tikkun Olam  throughout the year. Activities to include education, advocacy and direct service. Email us to sign up for one (or more) of the groups listed here.

CBI engagement in Portland Communities Active in Disaster,  a direct-response group providing cooling centers in extreme heat and  winter warming centers

Climate/Environmental Justice

Do Good
volunteer list for one time and longer term opportunities

Every Voice, Every Vote
combatting voter suppression 

Food Insecurity

Immigrant, Refugee and Asylum Seeker Support  

Every Voice, Every Vote: Take Action

These are troubled times. The threats to our democracy, religious freedom, and human 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.

It’s easy–and important!– to get the whole family involved in the Every Voice, Every Vote initiative (just like it was in 2020, when this was first filmed).

CBI Supports Ukraine and Refugees Around the World

On his April 10-14 mission to Krakow, Rabbi Cahana hopes to deliver five duffle bags of baby formula, disinfectants and antiseptics along with funds donated by the CBI community. Please click here for details, updates, and to contribute.

As part of our commitment to welcome the stranger, Social Action funds are allocated to organizations that work internationally and locally to support refugees and asylum seekers. 

Generous donations to our Social Action Funds have allowed us to make allocations this year to the following organizations doing humanitarian work to support the people of Ukraine, refugees from around the world and  the many recent arrivals in our community from Afghanistan.

World Central Kitchen  (for Ukrainian food support) – $10,000
HIAS -$1,500
IRCO – $1,500
Refugee Care Collective -$1,500
Portland Refugee Support Group  -$1,500
Coda -$1,500
Urban Gleaners – $3,000

WRJ/Beth Israel Sisterhood and CBI have an ongoing collection of period products (pads preferred) to be donated to the Somali American Council of Oregon. Look for the collection bins on campus. 

Interested in CBI Social Action and Immigration Justice?

Refugee “Restart Kits”

The Oregon Jewish Museum and Holocaust Resource Center and Jewish Federation of Greater Portland are partnering with the Refugee Care Collective to collect “Restart Kits” for newly arrived Afghans

Lift Every Voice Oregon’s Gun Safety Measure 114 On Nov Ballot!

 Lift Every Voice Oregon (LEVO), a grassroots interfaith organization, was co-founded by Rabbi Cahana and two other local clergy in response to the need to act against the epidemic of gun violence. 

Gun violence has taken far too many innocent lives in Oregon and across the nation. No one law will fix all that is broken. But laws in other states similar to Measure 114 (previously IP 17) have been proven to reduce gun related injuries and deaths. This includes a reduction in the large numbers of deaths by suicide using a gun. 

LEVO has shown that we are not helpless in confronting this problem.

A team of 1,600 volunteers, including many from our CBI community, contributed to the daunting effort of collecting the huge number of signatures required by the state to move Measure 114  forward.  

Rabbi Cahana is one of  three chief petitioners for this measure. Measure 114 is the only gun safety measure in the nation moved through the initiative petition process to a state ballot. 

Measure 114 would:

– Require a “Permit to Purchase” for all gun purchases

– Require a completed background check before  permit issuance

– Require gun safety training (classroom and live fire) for a permit

– Ban sales, manufacture, transfer and possession of high capacity

  magazines (greater than 10 rounds)

We can take a stand and have our voice heard. We can say #Enough. 

 While we rejoice in the successful completion of getting Measure114 to the ballot, the work is not over. We now need to educate Oregon voters on the importance of this law and counter the misinformation which will be spread about it. And we all need to vote.  

Please continue to support this effort to its successful conclusion in November. 

Learn how to donate and to volunteer at:

2022 Social Action Tribute Funds Allocations

From the General Social Action Fund:

HIAS  (Formerly Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society)              $1,500
IRCO (Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization   $1,500

From Food Fund:

Blanchet House                                            $2,500
Mealsonus PDX                                            $1,500
Portland Backpack                                        $1,500
Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center        $1,000
Native American Rehabilitation Association   $1,000
Stone Soup PDX                                             $500
Urban Gleaners $500

Robert Peltz (z”l) High Holidays Funds for Food Drive – 5782

This year’s drive raised $25,044, thanks to the generosity of 288 donors.

The following organizations were recipients of these funds:
Oregon Food Bank – $5,044
Lift Urban Portland – $5,000
Immigrant and Refugee Community Org (IRCO) – $4,000
Sunshine Division – $2,500
NARA NW – $2,500
Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center – $2,500
NE Emergency Food Program – $1,500
Stone Soup PDX – $1,000
Urban Gleaners – $1,000

Brit Olam

CBI is a Brit Olam (Covenant with our World) committed congregation, joining over 200 other Reform Congregations in linked social justice work.

CBI has an ongoing relationship with our neighbors who reside in the NW Towers and Annex buildings. Our connection with NW towers is  thru Lift Urban Portland’s Adopt a Building Program.

Family Support

We  staff an afterschool homework club for school age children living in the Annex one to two days per week. The kids, many who have attended for several years, look forward to the club day. We have relationships with the parents so we can partner in our efforts to assist the kids.  Snacks, games, art projects and socializing are compliments to the tutorial assistance.

We assist with purchase of school supplies when needed. Each child can receive either a winter coat or shoes in the fall and a holiday gift in December.

Sunday Food Pantry

CBI members  provide transportation for pick up and delivery of Trader Joe’s food donation each Sunday for NW Towers’ resident run  Food Pantry. We also help with unpacking the food, which  gives us the opportunity to socialize with the resident volunteers. The Pantry is valuable source of fresh fruits, vegetables and a variety of other nutritious items.

Social Programs

We host a variety of special events for the residents during the year including a traditional Thanksgiving Dinner, a New Year’s Eve party and a lunch on CBI Mitzvah Day. Many volunteers of all ages are participants in these celebrations.

CBI is a member of the Interfaith Alliance on Poverty. The Alliance is a diverse and dynamic group of local faith based congregations with a mission of working to alleviate poverty in the Portland region.

Goals include:

  • Increasing understanding of poverty, especially generational poverty.
  • Engaging with those in poverty to provide direct connection and service, and to increase our understanding of the problem.
  • Advocating for systemic change to help eliminate poverty.

Meetings are held the first Thursday of every month from 12:00-2:00 PM. Meeting locations vary and all meetings are open to the public and include educational components and thought- provoking discussions. The Alliance also sponsors seminars and workshops which are open to the public.

More information is available here.

An annual highlight of the CBI calendar, our community truly comes together each Spring for Mitzvah Day. Congregants of all ages participate in a variety of activities to support good works throughout the Portland area.

Mitzvah Day is run entirely by CBI volunteers, so if you have a great idea for a project or want to get involved in planning, please let us know!

Connect with Social Action at CBI

Our Beth Israel Community has a full slate of social action activities, from direct service to advocacy, that reflects our social justice teachings.

Your help is needed. Volunteer for an event or ongoing activity, or to help with the development and implementation of new programs. Participation in the Social Action Committee is open to all congregants. The following is a description of some of our programs.

The Social Action Committee welcomes requests for allocations from the Social Action Food Fund, Robert Peltz (z”l) High Holidays Funds for Food, and the Social Action General Tribute Fund. Please click to learn more and to submit a request.

Even in this time of physical distancing, we have ongoing projects to support our community. We continue our neighbors at NW Towers, including assisting with the resident-run food pantry.

With a long list of activities, there are always opportunities to help our community. These projects are open to the larger Portland- area Jewish community.

Click here for opportunities to volunteer.

 Questions about how you can get involved with the Social Action Committee? Email or call Program and Communications Coordinator Tracy Manaster Alifanz at (503) 222-1069 to learn how you can make a difference!