Dear Or Shalom Community,

As many of you know, we have been in a process since Yom Kippur of discerning Or Shalom’s direction around its social justice work in the coming years.

Over the course of this process, we gathered feedback from many congregants, both in-person and virtually, and we discovered that people care about so many issues within this community: Food Justice, Refugee Rights, Climate Change, Universal Healthcare, Housing and homelessness, race and racism, indigenous solidarity, voting rights and democracy, and so much more. And, of course, the issue that rose to the top in this current political moment was the ongoing political situation in Israel and Palestine, how we can both serve as acute support in the short-term, and be part of the process for lasting peace and justice in the long-term.

Overall, though, four issues rose to the top as those of most concern to Or Shalom community members at this time, and those were:

  • Food insecurity/ housing & homelessness/ refugees
  • Voting Rights & Democracy
  • Climate and Environmental Justice
  • A Just Peace in Israel-Palestine

Therefore, we will be forming and/or revamping existing action circles in which Or Shalomers can collaborate on taking collective action around these issues.

If you are interested in being part of any of these action circles (which would mean joining their email groups with the possibility of getting plugged into different roles and actions) please do so below. These circles will be:

The Social Action Circle: The Social Action Circle has existed in different iterations over many years as the Interfaith Action Committee, the Sanctuary Committee, the Safety Net Action Committee as well as various ad hoc groups. We have worked on numerous issues, including welcoming and supporting refugees, universal health care, housing, food insecurity, homelessness, gun violence prevention. Going forward, the Social Action Circle will be the home base for Or Shalom activities related to food insecurity, housing and homelessness, and refugee rights in the city. Much of this work will be local and include collaborating with community partners around the city.

The Dayenu Circle: This action circle has been around for several years. In a former incarnation it was called the Environmental Action Committee. The Dayenu Circle takes its current name, and ideas for many of our activities, from a national organization called, Dayenu: A Jewish Call to Climate Action. Past actions have included programming about environmentally responsible investing as well as phone-banking, letter- and postcard-writing to lobby our government officials and inform voters about climate-related legislation. In this circle, we will continue to educate ourselves and the community about climate change and related ecological and environmental issues, and actions we can take to make a difference

Voting Rights and Democracy Circle: This will be a new action circle, continuing the work of several previous ad hoc groups, focused on voter registration, get-out-the vote activities, and voting rights.

As for Israel/Palestine, in early 2024, Or Shalom will begin a more formal process to discern our collective values when it comes to our relationship to the region, its people, and its politics. Therefore, we will not be forming a formal Tikkun Olam action circle related to Israel-Palestine at this time. 

However, as a community, the Or Shalom Board of Directors voted to sign on to the Synagogues Rising call to Congress and President Biden to de-escalate and interrupt the cycle of violence in Israel/Palestine, and it came to light during the Tikkun Olam discernment sessions that many at Or Shalom are looking for ways to communicate with one another and take action together toward that end. Therefore, we are starting an email discussion list for Or Shalom members who support a ceasefire to share information about upcoming events and actions, as well as for educational and organizing opportunities. 

To reiterate, this discussion list will be a space for Or Shalom members who share a common political goal in this moment. We acknowledge that this may not be the political goal of all of our members in this moment, but we are making this listserv, as a Tikkun Olam Committee, in response to a request that emerged from the Tikkun Olam discernment process specifically. Please only join this email list if you support the stated purpose of the list. If you are looking for something else from Or Shalom at this time regarding Israel-Palestine, please reach out to Rabbi Faryn and we will do what we can to support your vision.

To sign up for the Ceasefire email list, please click here. For more information, contact Phyllis Shulman at and Laura Bresler at

Again, thank you so much to everyone in the community who supported this effort. We are excited for all the work we will do together.

With gratitude,

Debbie Benrubi, Tikkun Olam Committee Chair

Margo Freistadt, Tikkun Olam Committee Member

Rabbi Faryn Borella