SOCIAL JUSTICE

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Annual Mini-Walk
for Micah House

Each spring, Micah holds a "mini-walk"
to support Micah House, a transitional
residence for homeless women
in recovery from substance abuse.

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Our Partnership with
Friendship Place

Temple Micah’s Annual Underwear
Drive provides new underwear to
Friendship Place, helping them supply
the dignity of fresh underwear.

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Sukkot in Spring

Temple Micah participates in Yachad’s
annual housing rehabilitation program for
DC residents in need, preserving
affordable homes and
revitalizing neighborhoods.

We know when we are at Micah that there is such a thing as the sacred, that our good deeds count for something – Rabbi Zemel

The pursuit of social justice is fundamental to Temple Micah. As a community, we engage in a range of service projects, we support advocacy efforts to promote social justice, and we work to educate ourselves on important social justice issues. The Tzedek (“justice”) committee is the umbrella for these projects. All members of the community are afforded an opportunity to help. Please join us! For more information about our projects or how to get involved, contact our Tzedek chair.

 

Our Projects & Partnerships

DC Paid Family Leave Advocacy Campaign

Temple Micah has endorsed a campaign to create a paid family leave program in DC. The campaign is led by Jews United for Justice (www.jufj.org).  According to the campaign site:

New parents need time to recover from birth or adoption and bond with their babies. We all need time to care for aging or ailing parents and relatives. And if, g-d forbid, you fall ill or sustain an injury, you’ve earned the time to tend to your health so you can get better. When our families need us, or when we need us, we shouldn’t have to also worry about the bills, or whether we’ll have a job later.

Paid family and medical leave insurance ensures that working people and families have the financial stability they need when life happens. It’s time for DC to make sure that no one has to choose between the care their families need and the paycheck they depend on.

JUFJ is a lead partner with the DC Paid Family Leave Coalition, a diverse collection of local businesses, community institutions, service providers, and advocacy organizations. We’re working for a policy that covers today’s diverse families and the variety of medical and life challenges our families face.

To learn more about this campaign, contact us.

Fall Underwear Drive

Help the 2017 campaign reach the goal of 15,000 pieces of new underwear for the homeless!  Our annual Fall drive to collect new underwear for the homeless, in connection with the Community Council for the Homeless/Friendship Place (CCH), begins this year on September 21, at Rosh Hashanah services.  Our 6th graders will be handing out bags for congregants to fill with new underwear for the homeless.  The bags will be collected on Yom Kippur or can be dropped off in the box in Temple Micah’s lobby through November 3, 2017.

The Temple Micah underwear drive is the major source of new underwear for homeless people in Northwest Washington who are served by Friendship Place.  While many people donate coats and
Underwear drive prep other used clothing, it is all too common for homeless people to lack new underwear and the dignity it can provide.

The goal for 2017 is to collect at least 15,000 new pieces of underwear.  This will allow Temple Micah to break its earlier record of 13,677 pieces and help to prevent Friendship Place from running out of underwear for its homeless clients before the next drive. We need to up the game to keep Friendship Place stocked throughout the year.

Friendship Place needs unopened packages of underwear, socks, t-shirts, and bras, especially in large sizes.  The center does serve women and families, but many of the clients are men.  Please view the Underwear Drive Shopping List for more information about what items are needed.

Good Faith Communities Coalition

Temple Micah is a member of this faith-based coalition (www.goodfaithdc.org) that advocates on issues of poverty, affordable housing, and homelessness in the District of Columbia. Good Faith organizes congregations to engage in educational activities to better understand these issues.  Good Faith members also participate in a range of advocacy activities, from letter-writing to testifying at the DC Council. Most recently, Micah joined with Good Faith to support Mayor Bowser’s plan to close the DC General family shelter and replace it with a series of smaller, more humane shelters throughout the city, including one close to Temple Micah.

To learn more or join Micah’s chapter of the Good Faith Communities coalition, contact our coordinating team.

Mazon Micah

Once a month volunteers from Temple Micah will gather on Sunday afternoon to break bread together, and then assemble mazon, food, for our neighbors in need at Friendship Place. This sandwich-making and donating initiative helps us deepen relationships within the Micah community, and simultaneously reminds us to turn our awareness outwards. See the calendar and weekly emails for upcoming Mazon Micah Sundays. Bring your own lunch, and then help us make lunches for those less fortunate!  If you would like to be involved please contact Rabbi Landau.

Micah House

Micah HouseMH Miniwalk kids signs is a transitional, supportive residence for homeless women in recovery from substance abuse that was founded by Temple Micah members in 1989. Each spring, our community comes together for a “mini-walk” to raise money to support Micah House in what is consistently Micah House’s single largest fundraiser. This year’s mini-walk April 30, 2017.  Learn more about their remarkable work in their newsletter and find out how you can support them.

Partnership with Jubilee Jobs

Help Unemployed People Get Jobs

Since 1981, Jubilee Jobs, based in Adams Morgan, has prepared and secured employment for over 24,000 people, including low-income job applicants, immigrants with limited job skills, individuals with prior criminal records and those recovering from addiction. Helping them work for “sustenance, dignity and hope,” the program’s retention rate (applicants who find jobs and remained employed after a year) is an impressive 80%.

You can help applicants prepare or upgrade their resumes and conduct mock interviews.  If you are interested in doing this for a single day or more please contact jubileejobs@templemicah.org.

Purim-to-Pesach Food Drive

Temple Micah collects non-perishable food between Purim and Pesach to help fight hunger in the Washington region. This project is led by a Machon Micah class. Please bring non-perishable items with you every time you visit Micah during this period. In 2016, the collected food was donated to a DC-based nonprofit serving refugees.

For more information contact Rabbi Beraha.

Share Your Hanukkah, Spread the Light

Every December, the Micah community participates in “Share Your Hanukkah, Spread the Light.” Through this project, launched in 2004, Micah members provide holiday gifts for adults and children in needy families in conjunction with a local social service agency. This project is run each year by the 5th grade students.

Sukkat Shalom (Shelter of Peace)

How Can We Help Refugees and Immigrants?
In an effort to support new refugees as well as immigrants at risk of deportation, a group of Temple Micah congregants have created Sukkat Shalom, whose goal is to explore and facilitate related volunteer and fundraising opportunities. Find out more information and how to get involved here.

Sukkot in Spring

Yachad HammeringWhile springtime brings Passover, it also signals preparation for Yachad’s Sukkot in Spring — a week when hundreds of Washington-area Jews repair the homes of area residents who, through poverty, age or disability, are unable to make the repairs necessary to keep their homes clean, dry and safe. Temple Micah sponsors and participates in minor to moderate repairs on a family’s home. We invite you to join us in this wonderful mitzvah. Read about our impact here and a heartfelt thank you for our involvement from Yachad here.

Temple Micah Gun Violence Prevention Working Group

This informal group at Micah was established with the goal of fostering the conversation about gun violence within our own community.  With a focus on raising awareness and cultivating intergenerational education, the group has executed several initiatives since its founding in 2016.  The first major Micah GVP program was a screening of the film, Shell Shocked, followed by a panel discussion of local activists and survivors of gun violence.  This winter we hosted a special performance of Mosaic Theater’s production of the Gospel of Lovingkindness in our sanctuary, followed by a discussion with the cast. Temple Micah parents have signed onto the ASK Campaign, which we advertise periodically to continue to spread the word.

Rabbi Landau spoke about Judaism and gun violence at an interfaith gathering at the National Cathedral in 2015, which led to our current participation in the newly formed interfaith GVP initiative in DC.  Additionally, the group maintains the Micah tradition of reading a list of victims lost to violence in DC each week when we prepare for the Mourner’s Kaddish.

We are always open to first timers getting involved, and often have specific, time-limited tasks for new volunteers.  Please contact Rabbi Landau for more information if you plan to attend a meeting (listed on the Temple Micah calendar and in the weekly email) or get involved.

Temple Micah & the Environment

Temple Micah recognizes that environmental issues are an essential part of tikkun olam, repairing the world. Therefore, Temple Micah devotes attention, resources, and energy to apply this principle to itself, its members, and the broader community in order to preserve, sustain, and repair our environment.  We strive to operate and maintain our facilities in an environmentally sound manner, and we incorporate environmental principles into our Jewish education.

Temple Micah’s Green Team helps the Micah community apply these principles and explores projects such as installing solar panels on the roof or developing a ride-sharing forum. Contact the Green Team chair.

Ward 3 For All – Housing Coalition

Temple Micah is involved in the plan to build a short term family housing facility behind the Second District Police Station on Idaho Ave.  The facility would house 50 families, in accordance with the city’s plan to  replace the rambling, unsuitable DC General with smaller, purpose-built facilities, placing one in each ward.  We feel it is important to be a moral voice in our community and speak up for a project that will contribute to the good of all by mitigating the traumatic effect of homelessness.  We are a Ward 3 institution that is close to the site and we honor the Biblical injunction:

“If, however, there is a needy person among you, one of your kinsman in any of your settlements in the land that God is providing you, do not harden your heart and shut your hand against your needy kinsman.  Rather, you must open your hand and lend him sufficient for whatever he may need.”  Deuteronomy 15:7-8

More than 50 Micah families live near the site.  Micah’s Board has endorsed the plan. Over 60 Micah families and guests who live in Ward 3 have signed a petition in support.  And Micah members who live nearby have written personal letters of support. Board member Jeffrey Davis serves on the Community Advisory Team that worked with the city to develop the planned facility.  Micah member Livia Bardin is co-facilitating “Ward 3 For All,” a coalition formed to support the project.