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Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world's grief. Do justly, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly, now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it." - The Talmud

The Jerome Spector Social Action Fund

JEROME SPECTOR imbued our world with his light. With a quiet brightness, he flooded our congregation and the greater community with tikkun olam. He embodied the concept of unwavering social action towards achieving social justice. He lived a life of healing and strove to help those who needed help most. After his untimely death from COVID-19, we designated a fund in his honor which will be utilized to educate, engage, and motivate others to continue his mission through action and support of organizations that reflect his spirit. The fund will be called The Jerome Spector Social Action Fund. 

THE VISION of the Eitz Chaim Social Action Committee that maintains the fund is to engage in social action and justice to our community through:  

  1. Giving at a hyperlocal level to those in need; helping with food, clothing, and other essentials.  
  2. Providing opportunities for those in our community to participate in social action activities.  
  3. Communicating concepts of, and providing outlets for, social justice by engaging guest speakers and public discourse within the community.     

 

We believe that we as Jews and as members of the Eitz Chaim community have a responsibility to work for tikkun olam, the healing and repairing of the world. If you would like more information, or would like to join the Social Action Committee, please contact Paula Spector or Michael Grunes at office@eitzchaim-monroe.org     

RECENT ACTIVITIES that the committee has committed to:

  1. Providing afterschool snacks for needy elementary school children at Sapphire Elementary School and Pine Tree Elementary School. For many years, every week throughout the school year our generous congregation has shopped, packed and delivered healthy snacks, seven snacks a week for up to 56 children. The children and their families and teachers so appreciate these extra needed calories.
  2. Ongoing support for the CROP Walk to End Hunger. (See photos of the CROP walk through the years, below.)
  3. Financial Assistance to Orange County migrant families and other families in need. 
  4. Winter Coat (and other clothing) Drive.

 

To participate in these and future opportunities, please keep an eye on Eitz Chaim emails for announcements from the committee. 
 

For donations to promote the social action programs and the JEROME SPECTOR SOCIAL ACTION FUND, please make checks payable to MWJCC- Spector Social Action Fund, and mail:

c/o Congregation Eitz Chaim
PO Box 183
Monroe, NY 10949

Crop Walk

 

Action More Than Words

The New Year Has Begun. We have completed the Yom Tovim period and begun 5781. So, we are now faced with how to implement the personal and national reflections we have afflicted ourselves with during the High Holidays. Succoth is over and we have given thanks for our lives. Now it is action time.

The clear message of the Talmud is that action is more important than words. We are faced now with not just thinking about what we need to do during this New Year, but how we should act.

The Torah has all kinds of admonishments for how to run our lives. G-d admonishes the Israelites that “You be holy, because I am holy.” We are told to “Love your fellow as yourself”. Nice words, but what is “holy” and how does one “love” ones fellow (“arekha” is comrade, not “neighbor”). Sure, there are 613 laws. A major part of those laws only apply to the Sacrificial Cult and the Temple. There are many laws about jurisprudence. These do offer guidance for living life.

But, for me, the summary of what we need to do, and not just talk about, is in Proverbs 31:9, “Speak up, judge righteously, champion the cause of the needy and the poor.”

Now is the season to speak up in America. Voting is a major “speaking up”. Non-violent protest is a major way to “speak up”. Writing to the newspaper helps us “speak up”. We should address our legislators to find the families of separated children at the borders, for example. Jews cannot ethically remain silent in the face of social ills.

Judging righteously is not only for courts of law. It is making decisions every day that affect the well-being of others in our community. We should “judge” in our behaviors. We should judge to wear masks to reduce the spread of Covid. We should judge to lobby our elected representatives for programs that in fact increase well-being and reduce suffering for every citizen. We judge that we should financially support causes that provide for justice as fairness. We should ensure that courts of law judge fairly.

Each of us, individually and as a community, need to help ensure that poverty is eliminated in our society. The major concomitant of disease in our country is poverty. We see that in health disparities. We see that in brownfields, in contamination of air, water and food supplies. We see that in “wage slavery” and economic inequality. We see that in disparities in infant mortality and low birth weights between enfranchised and disenfranchised communities. We see that in racial and sexual inequalities in housing, education and employment. We can do something about each of these issues.

“Speak up, judge righteously, champion the cause of the needy and the poor.” That is what it means to be a Jew. But, implementing that injunction requires action and not just talking about it.

We have begun the New Year. Now is the time for action and not just reflection and talk.

Stuart I. Forman

Mon, January 17 2022 15 Shevat 5782