Learn more at www.chkehillah.org/socialaction.htm
2009 Updates: http://www.jspot.org/showDiary.do?diaryId=2090
We are pleased to announce that the Chapel Hill Kehillah, a synagogue in Chapel Hill, NC, affiliated with the Jewish Reconstructionist Federation, has received a matching grant from the national organization Jewish Funds for Justice to support our first year of congregational membership in the Orange County Organizing Committee.
The Orange County Organizing Committee (OCOC) is building a broad-based organization with the power to take collective action in the name of justice and the common good. The members of the new organization are over 29 religious congregations, schools associations, and community and civic organizations in Orange County. This effort is being led by clergy and lay leaders from religious congregations representing 9 major religious denominations, working in partnership with other community organizations and leaders.
The OCOC is a community-based community organization: As with most OCOC member organizations, the Chapel Hill Kehillah held a series of house meetings to understand the major issues that congregants believe are important to the progress and future of Orange County: What social justice issues are people passionate about? What concerns keep them up at night? The insight gained from similar meetings across the many organizations in OCOC and discussion in larger public meetings led to a decision to focus initially on SIX priorities: education, health care, the environment and environmental justice, living wages, affordable housing and immigrant families.
Workgroups have been formed on each of these topics with concrete actions already underway. The OCOC, for example, turned out in numbers at the September 16th, 2008 evening’s work session of the Orange County Commissioners on selecting a location for the County’s new waste transfer station. The organization supported environmental justice for the Rogers Road neighborhood, requesting that the new waste transfer station not be located in that neighborhood’s back step.
The Jewish Funds for Justice (JFJ) supports the growing national movement of synagogues that are working for social change through participation in community-based community organizations. JFJ support helps Jewish congregations become active members of community-based community organizing efforts, through which the congregations build relationships that cross lines of race, class, and faith, working together to achieve concrete victories that improve the lives of local citizens, in keeping with the Jewish tradition of Tikkun Olam, repairing the world.