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Repairing the Covenant: Economic Justice Programming

The synagogue worked together with other interfaith groups to help those people who suffer from poverty and homelessness. They set-up a tent city as well as created a program to allow the homeless the ability to rent their own apartments.

Temple Beth Am
2632 NE 80th St.
Seatle, Washington 98115
(206) 525-0915

Target Audiences: Adults and Multi-generational Social Action Program

Temple Beth Am of Seattle, Washington has undertaken a number of projects to work towards economic justice through education, direct service, and advocacy. In its Repairing the Covenant project, Temple Beth Am integrated economic justice programming into the life of the synagogue, built relationships with other communities of faith, helped people who suffer from poverty and homelessness, and provided congregants with learning opportunities. The three major aspects of Repairing the Covenant included: hosting Tent City, creating a Homeless to Renter (H2R) program, and hosting educational forums.

Tent City is a self-governed group of approximately 100 individuals who move around King County, Washington throughout the year. Temple Beth Am partnered with University Preparatory Academy to host Tent City on the Temple’s property for six weeks. The members of Tent City stayed in the parking lot of the synagogue and were provided with electricity, water, a weekly dinner and a movie. University Preparatory Academy provided the Tent City residents with clothing, hygienic supplies, and a place to shower.

Temple Beth Am’s experience with Tent City sparked its interest in helping homeless families move into rental apartments despite their lack of credit history or ability to pay for moving costs and security deposits, and it therefore created Homeless to Renter (H2R). H2R has raised over $17,000 and given grants to 19 families, including 40 children, who were formerly homeless to live in rental housing. Temple Beth Am also hosted four large-scale educational forums on poverty, hunger, and homelessness. The educational forums were open to the public and included community experts along with perspectives from Jewish values.