Jackie Olenick, Bob ArnoveLynne Foster Shifriss

Social Justice Task Forces

Back Pack Buddies Contributes to the efforts of MCCSC and Community Kitchen to provide food for kids in need on weekends and school holidays. Contact: Julie Bloom

Creation Care Generates climate awareness and action focused on significant impact. Currently partners with Evangelical Community Church. Since 2011, our initiatives have served as a laboratory and model for congregations in Indiana and beyond. Contact: Madi Hirschland

Gun Sense Educates on the epidemic of gun violence, studying Jewish sources together to increase dialogue, and exploring what can be done to engage in the proactive process of creating safer spaces, and encouraging change on the state and national levels. Contact: Amy Jackson

Interfaith Works to encourage interfaith dialogue and activities between faith communities and people of different faiths. Contact: Rabbi Besser

Tzedakah Initiative Raises money from Beth Shalom members and friends. Donations are "bundled" and awarded annually to one or more local not-for-profit organizations with a positive & supportive influence on people in Bloomington. Contact: Paula Gordon and Stephen Pock

I Felt My Legs Were Praying Award

Besides our thanks, each month's recipient will get a pin showing Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel as he marched with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Selma, Alabama. Heschel later wrote that "I felt my legs were praying”, a good symbol of putting our faith into action.

Zeh Ha’Yom /Social justice Committee


It is our mission  to address the social justice issues of our time in keeping with Jewish values. We are charged with engaging the world directly and as a community. As such, we will think globally and act locally for justice.


In keeping with the religious imperatives of Judaism, our congregation’s definition of social justice embraces the guiding value of Tikkun Olam -- not only mending what is broken but making the world right and the planet sustainable. Social justice involves taking constructive action to ensure that all individuals and their communities flourish. This means that all members of a society have access to high quality and equitable education, health, and other vital social services, to decent housing and living conditions, and work that allows for meaningful and creative contributions to society as well as to self-fulfillment. 

As Nobel Peace Laureate Amartya Sen has so eloquently noted, human flourishing means that all individuals enjoy a fundamental right to pursue “lives they have reason to value.” This ideal requires that a community inspired by the value of Tikkun Olam oppose any “ism” that diminishes or denigrates rather than empowers or ennobles other humans.

The obligation to work on behalf of a just society means that as individuals and as a religious community we will be driven by notions of a “mitzvah” to continually strive to ensure that “there will be no needy person in your land” (Deut. 15:4, 7, 11). As there are many such needy people “among us ” – a community that extends from the local to the global, -- we must answer those questions raised by Hillel: “And If I am only for myself, then what am I? And if not now, when?

The time is now and we, in whatever ways possible, are the agents of social change for a better world. According to Pirkei Avot , “We are not required to complete the work but neither are we free to neglect it.”