October is Here & B'tzelem is Back!

    10.04.23 | Stories, Articles, Btzelem

    October B'Tzelem: TJ In Action 

    As we return to publishing this monthly newsletter after a summer-long hiatus, we're thrilled to bring your attention to our upcoming Thanksgiving Meal Box initiative.

    Sunday, November 12 @ 11am, Temple Judea congregants and Religious School students will gather to assemble all the components of a traditional Thanksgiving meal into boxes for donation to the Family Rescue Center in Canoga Park. Students will decorate the boxes and include written notes. 

    All TJ families can participate by helping to fill the boxes, but before assembly can begin, we need your support to be able to purchase the items that will be included. Please consider making a donation to sponsor a Thanksgiving Box. While a donation of $54 will provide a full meal for a family of four, every donation will help and you can sponsor part of a box by donating increments of chai ($18). The Thanksgiving Meal Box program is a great opportunity to exercise our values of gratitude, tzedakah, and tikkun olam. As we give thanks for all we have, we can take the opportunity to share our abundance and make it possible for more families to experience a sense of gratitude. Please consider donating now to this important cause.

    ~ Well Done ~

    Even though the B'tzelem newsletter was on break over the summer, our Social Action groups continued their hard work on behalf of the community!

    Sack Lunches: We'd like to share our gratitude to everyone who has contributed to our sack lunch initiative! The Social Action Committee set an ambitious goal (again) this year: pack a total of 13,500 sack lunches for hungry neighbors to be distributed by Hope of the Valley. Incredibly, as of October 2, the total number of lunches donated was 9,743! To celebrate, we welcomed our volunteers for an evening of appreciation this past Monday night in the Sukkah. We have accomplished so much together, and with only 3,757 lunches to go to achieve our goal, we hope that you will continue to contribute and make a difference for our community. Learn More

    Backpack Packing: This past August, Social Action packed 624 backpacks in under 2 hours  -- which were then distributed to seven centers through School on Wheels and provided to students experiencing homelessness.  This was made possible with close to $6,000 in donations and the help of 50 volunteers! It was an amazing day and an amazing program. Thank you to all who supported this program!

    OneLA-IAF met with the Pope! In September, the West/Southwest delegation of IAF representatives met with Pope Francis in the Vatican. It was a moving encounter with substantive conversation, filled with insight and humor. "Your work is atomic,” he said. “You go atom by atom, little by little, moving forward. Like water moves forward, which becomes a river, and soon pervades everything it touches.”  Leaders shared recent work around immigration, housing, and fighting inequitable tax breaks for multi-national corporations that are some of the world’s major polluters.

    Pope Francis applauded efforts to reign in destructive corporate behavior and to promote efforts like Community Lighthouse to protect our communities from the effects of climate change. The Pope offered his support for next year’s celebration of the 50th anniversary of our region, encouraged us to keep the conversation going with Vatican officials around our work, and even agreed to review selected training materials for parish organizing and Recognizing the Stranger. At the end of the visit, he reminded us about the real essence of our work -- “What you’re doing is creating a culture. You’re not looking to resolve things from one day to the next. Your resolve is to the idea of creating a culture. That’s what I would emphasize. You’re creating a culture of solidarity.”

    ~ Our Caring Community ~

    Tikkun Olam - repairing the world - is not just a global or regional effort. Oftentimes, we make the biggest impact on our environment by helping one person at a time, right in our own community. This is what Temple Judea's Caring Community is all about. In times of great change in the lives of our congregants, the Caring Community is there. Whether it's a family that is suffering illness or bereavement, or celebrating a new baby, the Caring Community reaches out with a warm and loving touch: providing baskets of comfort, needed items along with support, and a helping hand. The dedicated volunteers of the Caring Community acknowledge what each family is going through, and remind them that they are part of a close-knit, Jewish community who cares about them. What a meaningful way to contribute toward repairing the world: performing uplifting mitzvot! New volunteers are always welcome! No commitment is required; you do as much or as little as you are able. No matter how often you participate, there is no doubt you'll find the experience rewarding, and your efforts impactful. For more information and to volunteer for TJ's Caring Community, email

    ~ Teen Mental Health Taskforce ~

    Many of us are concerned about the mental health of our teens. What are some of the issues? Is there anything we can do as a temple community to help? Rabbi Josh Aaronson is hosting a meeting for members of the Teen Mental Health Task Force on Monday, November 6 @ 7pm on Zoom to explore these questions. We welcome your input, especially from parents of teens and teens themselves. For further information or to offer suggestions, contact Rabbi Aaronson or Carryl Carter at Maybe we can make a difference, even if it is a small one.

    ~ OneLA-IAF Community Convention ~

    Saul Alinsky founded the Industrial Areas Foundation in Chicago in 1940 because there is power in numbers. Today, OneLA-IAF is part of that national organization, and Temple Judea proudly counts itself a long-standing member. Through OneLA-IAF, we join with over 25 religious and non-profit institutions to address local issues such as lack of affordable housing and homelessness, mental health, and the economic challenges of living in California.

    This year's Community Convention will take place Sunday, November 12, from 1:30-3:30 at Temple Beth Am in Los Angeles. Invitees include Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass, Third District Los Angeles County Supervisor Lindsey Horvath and Fifth District Los Angeles City Councilmember Katy Yaroslavsky to discuss the progress they are making in tackling these problems. We have been in dialogue with these officials since their election, and look forward to receiving updates. Interested in learning more or attending? Please contact Carryl Carter at

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