TIKKUN OLAM

You are not obligated to complete the work of perfecting the world, but neither are you free to desist from it.

-Ethics of Our Fathers, 2:21

Our Jewish tradition doesn’t expect us to single-handedly repair the world. However, if everyone contributes, even in small ways, we can make a powerful difference.

The Tikkun Olam Committee, formerly called the Social Action Committee, exists to support the efforts of our congregation to make this a better world.

There are many opportunities to take action with other CBB members. The current Tikkun Olam projects are listed below.

MAJOR INITIATIVES

YOUNITED (formerly Givat Haviva International School)

YOUNITED gathers 100-130 10th through 12th graders from around the world to learn, live, work, and volunteer together in Israel while earning a prestigious International Baccalaureate diploma. The student body is composed of 25% Israeli Arabs, 25% Israeli Jews, and 50% international students. YOUNITED strives to build a community of young leaders who understand the power of diversity, envisioning a future where these young leaders build bridges of understanding and empathy. If you’re interested in learning more or volunteering to tutor students, please contact Richard Silver at rbsilver@hotmail.com. Donations are accepted through CBB’s online donation form (select YOUNITED from the designation menu).

NEFESH (Neighbors Ensuring Food, Equity, Safety, and Housing)

NEFESH encompasses CBB’s projects in these areas of need in our community, including Pershing Park, Transition House, partnerships with the Neighborhood Navigation Center (NNC), and Dignity Moves. Donations are accepted through CBB’s online donation form (select NEFESH from the designation menu).

Tuesday NNC

CBB volunteers provide a mid-morning meal every 2nd Tuesday of the month, in collaboration with a new Neighborhood Navigation Center (NNC) on the corner of Cabrillo and Carrillo. The NNC brings together multiple service organizations to be a central location to easily access a variety of resources. To get involved, contact Rabbi Brenner at rabbibrenner@cbbsb.org.

Transition House

Transition House is an organization dedicated to addressing family homelessness. Since 1984, it has helped families end their reliance on public assistance by providing family-centered support services. For more than 30 years, CBB members have helped prepare and serve a hot dinner to approximately 25 families every month (60 people). Please join us to help provide meals to the residents on the second Thursday of each month. Currently we are only delivering home-prepared food. To learn how you can be part of this effort, contact Glen Serbin at glen@serbin.com.

Dignity Moves

Dignity Moves is a new private/public partnership that provides transitional housing to Santa Barbara residents. It can take years for new permanent housing solutions to come to fruition, yet we have hundreds of individuals on the streets. Dignity Moves seeks to create a space for an individual to transition from a survival mentality to being ready to move into permanent supportive housing. It hopes to shelter more than 200 individuals in the first three years of service. To get involved, contact Rabbi Brenner at rabbibrenner@cbbsb.org.

We are seeking proposals for our next Tikkun Olam Major Initiative!

A Tikkun Olam Major Initiative is an annual or biennial project at CBB, chosen by a Selection Committee made up of clergy, staff, Board members, and congregants. These initiatives identify and support causes or organizations that help to heal the world.

In order to submit a project or cause for consideration by the Selection Committee, we need at least three congregants (one of whom is designated leader), to help carry out the Initiative for that year. In certain circumstances, the duration of a project may extend beyond one year. In addition, a project that is sustainable may carry on, though no longer as a Major Initiative. CBB congregants wishing to initiate a project will complete a brief questionnaire to introduce, explain, and share their ideas as well as clarify how CBB will be involved. If you are interested in submitting a proposal or if you have any questions, please contact me at altschullynn@yahoo.com for the submission form. The deadline for submissions is April 19, 2024.

ONGOING PROJECTS

Eco Team

Eco Team encourages individuals to make small changes that can help to slow climate change and heal the planet. Collectively, these little things can have a large impact. Team members educate themselves on environmental matters through member research and reporting, outside speakers, and field trips. Eco Team meets on the first Tuesday of each month at a centrally located private home. For further information, please visit this website.

ECOFaith

ECOFaith is a program of the Interfaith Initiative of Santa Barbara County, a nonprofit of which CBB is a founding member. We are a collaboration of local interfaith individuals including Jewish, Christian, Islamic, Native American, Baha’i, and Buddhist traditions. Monthly speakers present topics related to the spiritual side of creation care and the environment, as well as on social action items. If you’re interested to learn more or participate, please visit this website.

Ubumwe School

The Ubumwe Preschool Project began in the Fall of 2010. Our goal was to build a preschool for the children of Gisenyi, Rwanda, and to raise awareness at CBB about the ongoing effects of the Rwandan genocide that took place in 1994. We raised funds to build a sister preschool and elementary school, but continued help is needed to support the school and the teachers with scholarships and supplies. Donations are accepted through CBB’s online donation form (select Ubumwe School from the designation menu).

If you are interested in learning more, please contact Ellen Hunter at ellenhuntersb@gmail.com or Pam Gunther at pamsantabarbara@gmail.com.

Mitzvah Day

Mitzvah Day is our community-wide event to make a difference locally and beyond. Hands-on projects take place both at CBB and at other non-profit organizations in town. Visit the Mitzvah Day website for more information about the 2023 event, being held on November 19.

READY TO TAKE ACTION?

If you would like to participate in any of these projects or if you have an idea for a new project, contact Tikkun Olam Trustee, Lynn Altschul.

Evely Laser Shlensky Tikkun Olam Award

For energetic devotion to the healing and restoration of our world through service in the program for Social Action of Congregation B’nai B’rith.

1996                Ellen Goldman & Judi Weisbart – Empty Bowls

1997                Andee Duvendeck (Gaines) & Glen Serbin – Transition House

1998                Janet Laiches & John Teton – International Food Security

1999                Amy Martinez (Locke) & Fred Martinez – Food Bank Drive

2000               Rick Heimberg – Church Rebuilding

2001                Art & Cindy Klempner

2002                Helen Curhan & Lynnette Glasman – Spiritual Care Team

2005                Sissy & Bernie Taran – Jewish Community Picnic

2006                Elizabeth Gaynes & Yael Brennan – Mitzvah Day

2007                Don Wolfe, Rick Heimberg, Linda Phillips – Church Rebuilding

2010                Audrie Krause – Pershing Park

2013                Ellen Hunter & Pamela Gunther  – Rwanda Preschool

2022                Steering Committee (rep by Richard Silver) – Givat Haviva International School

2022                Amy Katz & Kira Weiss – Pershing Park