December 2018 Newsletter Article
In 2017, 13 members of our congregation travelled to Washington, DC, to participate in an inspiring social justice seminar program called Consultation on Conscience. COC, is a biennial conference that happens over a three-day period in Washington, DC, just as a new session of Congress is sworn in. The program helps to inspire, invigorate, train and empower Jewish leaders who desire to do the work of Tikkun Olam more effectively; to make significant, lasting changes in our society at a local, state and national level. Sponsored by the Reform Movement’s Religious Action Center, this conference brings together Jewish lay people and social justice leaders from Reform congregations and communities across North America. The attendees are able to participate in meaningful and inspiring programs that will help them advocate for true social change. The programs, which are led by some of our nations most dynamic leaders, help the attendees learn more about the critical issues facing society and culminates in lobbying Congress on the final day. It is truly an amazing experience to lobby with hundreds of other leaders from the Reform Movement and to know that as a collective force we can become a catalyst for change.
Two years ago, after our members attended the COC, the leadership of Congregation Shalom committed our community to being a Brit Olam Congregation, which means “For A World of Compassion, Justice and Wholeness: We are calling this a Brit Olam – a Covenant with our World – because we seek the world we want, not the world as it is. Across North America and around the world, vulnerable populations face profound challenges. As the Reform Jewish Movement, we are committed to meeting the urgency of now with moral leadership through congregational and community-based action.” In becoming a Brit Olam Congregation, we are committed to:
- Fostering a culture of sacred and civil dialogue in our congregation where all opinions are heard
- Acting in solidarity with vulnerable communities
- Building relationships across lines of difference in our local community
- Acting at the local, state/provincial, and/or federal levels to address the root causes of injustice and advocate for systemic change
- Mobilizing around three issues with our community: criminal justice reform, immigration rights and trans-gender rights
- Participating in state-specific social justice work with our RAC state affiliate
This work has been very rewarding for those of our members who have been involved and over the last two years we have held interesting and meaningful programs about all three issue areas.
The work of Tikkun Olam, however, is on-going and new issues that require our attention as Jews and as Americans have arisen in the last two years. It is with this understanding, that I would like to invite you to participate in this coming year’s Consultation on Conscience in Washington, DC. I promise that the program will inspire and motivate you to engage in our civic process in a meaningful way and to know that you can bring your Jewish values to the forefront in order to create meaningful change in our communities and country.
Our congregation will once again be a delegation, and those who participate will be able to attend workshops and programs that empower people with leadership development. There will be opportunities for network and community building and active dialogue culminating in an afternoon of advocacy on Capitol Hill. If you would like to know more about the program, click here. The program schedule is a guideline with an example of the caliber of speakers that you will hear from. The speakers and programs for this coming year will depend on the new congress and issues facing our nation. As a delegation we will fly together to Washington. There are also discounted prices at this point in the registration process. Click here for those prices and hotel reservations. The flashcodes to use can be found in this chart:
|Discount Title||Promotion Code||Rate||Rate begins||Rate ends|
|Delegation early||DelegationEarly19||$329||Nov 23||Jan 30|
|Delegation Regular||Delegation19||$479||Feb 1||April 8|
|Delegation Late||DelegationLate19||$579||April 8||May 1|
If you have questions, please let me know at email@example.com.
For more than 50 years, the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism (or “the RAC”) has been the hub of Jewish social justice and legislative activity in Washington, DC As the DC office of the Union for Reform Judaism, the RAC educates and mobilizes the Reform Jewish community on legislative and social concerns, advocating on more than 70 different issues, including economic justice, civil rights, religious liberty, Israel and more. As a non-profit organization, the RAC’s advocacy work is completely non-partisan and pursues public policies that reflect the Jewish values of social justice that form the core of our mandate. If you interested in learning more about the RAC, you can click this link to find out about the amazing history of this organization: http://www.rac.org/history-rac-timeline. The RAC has also played a pivotal role in our nation’s civil rights movement. You can learn more about that effort at the following link: http://www.rac.org/rac-and-civil-rights-movement.
I have participated in the COC many times, including our trip two years ago. We also bring our Chai School students to the RAC’s L’Taken conference every few years. Each and every time, it has been an amazing experience. I will be traveling for this year’s conference (May 19 – May 21, 2019 ) and would like to invite any members who are interested to participate to join me. As members of small congregations, we can apply for scholarships. Click here to register. If you plan to attend, please let me know so we can coordinate our traveling to DC together.
There has never been a better time to repair the world.
In May 2019, as we continue to face legislative and cultural challenges to some of our deepest-held beliefs and values, social justice leaders from across the Reform Jewish Movement will gather in Washington, DC, to chart our path forward.
There has never been a better time to strengthen your congregation and community.
The Consultation on Conscience is an opportunity to deepen connections within congregations and across the Reform Movement, network with other communities facing similar social justice challenges and opportunities, build tangible organizing and advocacy skills, and make your mark on the federal as well as state landscape.
There has never been a better time to invest in your own leadership.
We can promise you this: you will leave the Consultation on Conscience better prepared and positioned to lead your community in meaningful social justice work. Whether you attend as a member or leader of a Delegation, you have a powerful role to play in repairing the world.
There has never been a better time for the Consultation on Conscience.