Social Justice Projects

Ways to Enrich Our World

Social justice and tikkun olam (repairing the world) are central to our community.

Our community has always tried to infuse tzedek, righteous work that ends the ills of society, and tzedakah, righteous acts of kindness–the two pillars for tikkun olam— into all that we do. The specific projects that we engage in change with the times. This year, Rabbi Saks attended on the Truth, Justice, and Reconciliation seminar in Montgomery and Selma, Alabama, sponsored by the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR). We hope to offer programs on the topic of racial and social justice throughout the year. One such program is our ongoing drop-in book group; read more about it here. We are also please to welcome Dr. Marc Dollinger as our scholar in residence this spring. Read more about his work and presentations here.

To request congregational participation in social action and social justice initiatives, please email tikkunolam @ bethaam.org or admin @ bethaam.org.

Our congregation is a community site for Greater Portland Family Promise. Along with our friends from Thornton Heights Methodist Church, we have at least 40 people engaged each host week. Our mailing list consists of about 135 interested Bet Ha’am members, unaffiliated, volunteers, and Thornton Heights volunteers.  Between 70 and 75 of all of the volunteers are trained by Greater Portland Family Promise to be direct volunteers with guests. 

If you would like to be trained as a Family Promise Volunteer, please contact our office. Trainings are open to individuals from host congregations (that’s us!) and partner faith communities, as well as others who are unaffiliated. Trained volunteers are able to do shifts where guests are present. No need to preregister for the training–just show up.

Once you are trained, you and your family can volunteer when Bet Ha’am hosts Family Promise guests. Each volunteer is only required to be trained once. Our next host week starts December 15. Only adult volunteers need to be trained, although volunteers of all ages are welcome to help during host weeks with their families or another adult.

Families served by Family Promise have come from the following countries: Angola, Burkina Faso, Zambia, Morocco, DR Congo, and the United States.

In addition to volunteers, you can also help Family Promise by donating Hannaford gift cards, in ANY amount, so that we can purchase food items (like snacks and perishables) for our guests. You can drop off a gift card at the Bet Ha’am front desk.

Please contact our office with questions.

Wayside logo

Congregation Bet Ha’am is partnering with the Wayside Food Program at a dinner site for elders and families living in a homeless shelter. On the fourth Tuesday of each month from 4:00-6:30 PM, Bet Ha’am volunteers will work with Wayside volunteers to set up, serve, and clean up. No cooking is required! Children who are 11 or older and accompanied by a parent or guardian are welcome. Please join us at the Salvation Army, 297 Cumberland Avenue, in Portland on the dates listed below. Please bring a cap or hat. For more information, contact Eleanor Goldberg at egoldbe1 @ maine.rr.com.

October 22, 2019
November 26, 2019
No date in December
January 28, 2020
February 25, 2020
March 24, 2020
April 28, 2020
May 26, 2020
June 23, 2020
July 28, 2020
August 25, 2020
 
The Bet Ha’am community has provided a monthly meal to the residents of Friendship House for many years. Friendship House (390 Lincoln Street, South Portland) was built 30 years ago as a residence for men (and, initially, women) who were coming out of a rehab program and needed transitional housing before they could move into their own houses. 
 
Each month, we coordinate a meal, asking 10-12 people to cook for about 8-10 (or more, if they are so inclined). There is a theme for each month, but no one has to adhere to it too closely. Food can be dropped off anytime during the day, as long as it’s there by 5:30, when dinner is served.
 
The residents love the food we make, and are deeply grateful for the support. Please join us in continuing this wonderful tradition. The dates are listed below. Please contact our office to find out how to help.
 
October 23, 2019
November 20, 2019
December 18, 2019
January 15, 2020
February 12, 2020
March 18, 2020
 
Due to COVID-19, we have had to suspend our participation. We hope to resume in September 2020.

The League of Women Voters has joined forces with other organizations to protect public health and our elections. As you hopefully know, the Maine Primary Election has been moved to July 14, 2020 due to health and safety concerns related to COVID-19. Please consider signing this petition asking Governor Janet Mills to protect Maine voters and to ensure every eligible voter is able to participate in our democracy by providing online options to assist voter registration, mailing absentee ballots to every voter, preserving a safe in-person voting option, and including paid postage for all returnable voter mailings.

If you are already registered to vote, you can vote without leaving home.
  • Request an absentee ballot by clicking here and filling out the simple form here.
  • You’ll receive an absentee ballot in the mail approximately a month before the primary
  • Fill out your ballot and mail it in right away: the ballot must be received by 8:00PM on July 14.
That’s it! It couldn’t be easier or more important. Following this process will ensure your right to vote, keep you safe, and relieve pressure on in-person voting sites that are open during the pandemic.

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