For each of our relief projects, we identify a corresponding (a) advocacy program and (b) Jewish value or command to which the project is responding. We can then decide what, if any, advocacy steps we will promote (with the goal being, ultimately, to eliminate the need for the associated relief). By highlighting the Jewish value or command, we are educating our congregation to the idea that good works is not just a civic responsibility but it is also part of what it means to be a Jew.
• This is an important election year. Encourage/facilitate voting, engagement in the political process. This can be done without violating the restrictions on non-profits – can’t endorse a candidate, but can support the political process and take sides in issues consistent with Jewish values.
• Follow the direction of the RAC more actively. In each weekly congregational email, refer congregation to one issue on RAC website or use RAC e-blasts as a source.
• Identify one or two issues that really matter to us at Woodlands and promote letter-writing, telephone calls, etc. on the issue. We might choose one local issue and one national issue or one US issue and one Israeli issue, etc.
• Pursue becoming involved in Just Congregations (Community-based organizing - teaches congregations to ask new questions. Instead of asking, “What can we do to help?,” we ask, “Who has the power to change the situation?“ Rather than asking, “How much money can we raise to help adult children of congregants who don’t have health insurance?” we have to ask, “Who has the power to make sure these young people are insured, why aren’t they exercising this power now, and what can we do to convince them that change is necessary?”)
• Pursue becoming involved in Reform Jewish Voice of New York State.
• Be alert for emerging issues and address them when and in what way it would be appropriate.