Community Contact Information:
Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation
- Make social action a flexible “one stop shopping” for the congregants.
- Connect social action to other branches of synagogue life.
- Involving all age groups in social justice dialogue and hands-on service.
The congregation sought to underscore its commitment to social action by creating a Tikkun Olam calendar, designed to encompass all of the congregation’s social justice projects. Prior to the creation of the calendar, social action projects seemed disconnected. The Tikkun Olam calendar offers congregants access to all social action opportunities available.
Members of the social action committee brainstormed to create a list of programs, both hands-on and in advocacy, which could be implemented throughout the course of a year, connecting, when possible, to relevant Jewish holidays. They then contacted local organizations to build affiliations and begin planning events. After making these connections and planning, they designed and printed a calendar with built-in entries for the projects they had organized, and distributed them to congregants.
Committee members developed projects and organized congregant participation through reminders in the temple bulletin, phone calls made in the weeks leading up to the programs, and announcements made after services.
Programs in the social action calendar include a High Holy Day food drive, a Passover Chametz drive, a toy drive for a local community center, a Mitzvah Day, and participation in marches, rallies, and charitable walks. Programs have involved interaction with a local Ronald McDonald House, nursing home, or one of the American Cancer Society’s Hope Lodges. One project involved members of the brotherhood working at the local nursing home on Christmas Day so that regular staff could spend the holiday with their families.
The variety of programs allowed congregants to connect to social action in a personalized way within their community, as well as to be involved at their own comfort levels and according to their own availability.