Category Archives: Tikkun Olam

Lotte Meyerson Tikkun Olam News – September 2020



UPCOMING SCHEDULED LOTTE MEYERSON TIKKUN OLAM PROJECTS:

1st Friday each month from 1-3 PM @ MANNA– CBHT volunteer team. Contact Wendy Capelouto to help.

3rd Friday each month @ noon – CBHT Vets shelter meal serving. Contact Hilary Paradise to help.

Monday, November 30th – 4:30 PM, Next L.M. Tikkun Olam Meeting

600+ Jewish Organizations and Synagogues say: Black Lives Matter

CBHT has joined with groups ranging from small congregations to the three major Jewish denominations (Union of Reform Judaism, United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, and Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association), which collectively represent more than half of all Jewish people in America, to issue the statement below which will soon be printed in a national newspaper.

We are Jewish organizations and synagogues from across the racial and political spectrum, from different streams of Judaism, whose members trace their lineage from countries around the world.  We speak with one voice when we say, unequivocally: Black Lives Matter.  We support the Black-led movement in this country that is calling for accountability and transparency from the government and law enforcement.  We know that freedom and safety for any of us depends on the freedom and safety of all of us.

There are politicians and political movements in this country who build power by deliberately manufacturing fear to divide us against each other.  All too often, antisemitism is at the center of these manufactured divisions.  There is a long history to these attempts: during the Southern Freedom Movement of the 1950s and 1960s, conspiracy theories were used by white supremacists attempting to delegitimize the extraordinary organizing of Black activists.  Billboards were erected smearing Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as a communist, signs and flyers claiming that “communist Jews” were masterminding the civil rights movement were common, and pro-segregation organizations like the John Birch Society popularized these lies.

The Black Lives Matter movement is the current day Civil Rights movement in this country, and it is our best chance at equity and justice.  By supporting this movement, we can build a country that fulfills the promise of freedom, unity, and safety for all of us, no exceptions.

The Lotte Meyerson Tikkun Olam Committee is in the process of planning a series of conversations and discussion groups for the fall around the issue of racism and anti-Semitism, including reading/book groups and media (video/podcasts/etc.) viewing groups.  Look for the first one during Yom Kippur day as a preview.

Election 2020

November 3rd is fast approaching.  Your choices this year are to vote in person during early voting or on election day, or to vote in the safety and comfort of your own home by using the Absentee (Mail-in) Ballot.  We recommend the Absentee Ballot mainly for the simplicity of filing and the reduced health risk during the Covid Pandemic.  You can obtain an Absentee Ballot on-line or through the mail.  We recommend on-line at:

https://s3.amazonaws.com/dl.ncsbe.gov/Forms/NCAbsenteeBallotRequestForm.pdf

Your completed Absentee Ballot can be returned after being completed by October 27th to:

  • Mail it to: O. Box 7468, Asheville, NC 28802
  • Hand deliver it to the drop box located in the entryway to the Election Service office at

77 McDowell Street, Asheville

  • Email the completed form to elections@buncombecounty.org
  • Fax the completed form to 250.6262
  • If your live in another county, contact your local Election Services office.

Recently you may have received an unsolicited NC Absentee Ballot in the mail.  These ballot request forms were

Book Share Update

As most of you know our congregation has supported the collection of children’s picture books by donating these reading materials since 2011.  Since that first drive, we have collected and donated over 6000 books to give to children in Buncombe County who have not entered kindergarten.  It has been our custom to have the book drive every other year during Rosh Hashanah.  It just so happens that we had this drive last fall so thankfully 2020 is not the year to ask you to donate these books.

Over the last five years the books have mostly been given to the children at the Pisgah View Head Start classrooms where our congregation has made our home volunteering with the preschool children there.  During the course of each school year we have had several Book Shares where children get to select a book they want from many, many choices.  During this past school year, we had to stop volunteering in March due to Covid.  To get these books into the children’s hands, we decided to give all of the books to the preschool where the teachers will distribute them to the children during this upcoming school year.  It was important for your gifts of these books getting into the children’s hands even though we could not continue the volunteering and Book Shares as we had been doing.

So please get prepared for our next children’s picture book drive for the Fall of 2021.  At that point, we will be in great need to re-boot our efforts in supporting reading for our preschool children who need that level of support.

The Lotte Meyerson Tikkun Olam Committee August, 2020



UPCOMING SCHEDULED LOTTE MEYERSON TIKKUN OLAM PROJECTS:

1st Friday each month from 1-3 PM @ MANNA– CBHT volunteer team. Contact Wendy Capelouto to help.  (restarting August 7th)

3rd Friday each month @ noon – CBHT Vets shelter meal serving. Contact Hilary Paradise to help.

Monday, August 24th – 4:30 PM, Next L.M. Tikkun Olam Meeting

Statement of Solidarity with Black Lives Matter

Our country simply cannot achieve the values of “justice for all” to which it aspires until we address ongoing racism in all sectors and at all levels of society.  We remain in solidarity and action with the NAACP’s urgent #WeAreDoneDying campaign, whose policy demands cover areas of criminal justice, economic justice, health care, and voting.  As the NAACP says, “Senseless hate crimes and incidence of COVID-19 cases and deaths spreading throughout the Black community display the continuance of systemic racism and privilege granted to white people in America.”

As Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.  We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny.  Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”  As Jews, we renew our commitment to speak out against racism and to actively work to achieve a nation that exemplifies compassion and justice for all.  Let this profound moment in our history not go the way of the shootings at Sandy Hook, Stoneman Douglas H.S., the African-American church in Charleston, the synagogue in Pittsburgh – all of which led to no real change.  Now is the time.  This needs to end in true change.

Adapted from RAC.org and other sources

The Lotte Meyerson Tikkun Olam Committee

Anti-Racist Allies: Examining Solidarity Between the Black and Jewish Communities

As a follow-up to our LMTO statement, multiple Asheville Jewish organizations (hosted by the Jewish Community Relations Council with CBHT support) are providing a series of four virtual Tuesday night programs. These programs will present information on the issues and discuss additional avenues to solidarity with the Black community of Asheville.  Please save the dates and look for a registration link in CBHT eblasts.  We look forward to seeing you and sharing ideas.

July 28th, 7–8:30 PM: Racism, Anti-Semitism, and Intersectionality

Using clips from the moderated panel at the Marlene Meyerson JCC of Manhattan titled “White Supremacy. Racism. Anti-Semitism,” we will explore how all oppressions are linked and require identifying a group as “the other” to maintain white supremacy.

August 4th, 7–8:30 PM: Confederate Monuments

Asheville has three confederate monuments, on which this panel presentation will focus.  Discussion will follow about the call by the Asheville Black community for removal of the monuments and renaming of areas named after Confederate figures.

August 18th, 7–8:30 PM: Reparations

With the recent murders and protests, the long-awaited issue of reparations is gaining momentum across the United States.  This panel will discuss a variety of avenues, both individual and institutional, that are being implemented and/or considered.

September 1st, 7–8:30: Being Better Allies

In this new time, and with the urgency of now, how can the Asheville Jewish community act in solidarity with the Black community of our mountain home?  This moderated panel will probe both the mistakes we might be making and better ways of acting in solidarity as allies.

The importance of Absentee Ballots (voting by mail).

In these uncertain times, we don’t know if we’ll be able or even want to vote in person for the November election.  The Lotte Meyerson Tikkun Olam Committee urges you to be prepared early so that you can exercise the best option for you to cast your valuable vote.  We encourage you to request an Absentee Ballot form NOW, so that the Board of Elections has time and material to process these.  It is a two-step process: (1) you complete the request and return it, and then (2) the official ballot is sent in the fall.

  • There is no barrier to vote by mail in NC.  You do NOT need a reason to request an absentee ballot.
  • If you request an absentee ballot and later decide to vote in person, that is fine.
  • An Absentee ballot is counted at the time it arrives and is handled like Early Voting.
  • You will find the request form at:

https://s3.amazonaws.com/dl.ncsbe.gov/Forms/NCAbsenteeBallotRequestForm.pdf

  • Download the form and print it out, OR call 250.4200 and they’ll mail it to you
  • Complete it, be sure to SIGN it, then –
  • mail it into Election Services, PO Box 7468, Asheville, NC 28802-7468 or
  • email to elections@buncombecounty.org
  • Your request will put you on an automated list that will send the ballot when it’s ready in the fall – Friday, September 4th.
  • The last day to request an absentee ballot is Tuesday, October 27th.

The Lotte Meyerson Tikkun Olam Committee June/July 2020



UPCOMING SCHEDULED LOTTE MEYERSON TIKKUN OLAM PROJECTS:

1st Friday each month from 1-3 PM @ MANNA– CBHT volunteer team. Contact Wendy Capelouto to help.  (currently suspended)

3rd Friday each month @ noon – CBHT Vets shelter meal serving. Contact Hilary Paradise to help.  (currently postponed)

June 7th –13th Room in the Inn; CBHT cancelled.   Contact Sherrill Zoller for info.

Monday, August 24th – 4:30 PM, Next L.M. Tikkun Olam Meeting

Insuring Fair and Safe 2020 Elections

With all of the uncertainty during these unusual times, it is not too early to work on what must be done between now and Election Day – Tuesday, November 3, 2020.  We must demand that our state legislatures engage in proper planning and funding for the unprecedented measures needed to insure fair and safe elections during this corona virus pandemic.  We anticipate a huge increase in the use of absentee ballots, perhaps the state even going to all mail-in ballots.  If state legislators opt to keep polling places open in November, they need to add protection and many social guidelines for both voting places and workers.  Such new measures will cost money.

The federal government, through the CARES Act, has allotted North Carolina extra grant money which requires matching state funds to be accessed.  In their April-May short session, the NC Legislature (as of this writing) had not provided such state funding which the NC Board of Elections requested as absolutely necessary for the November elections.  This will not be the usual election process.

At stake in November are not only vital political, economic and moral issues, but an assurance needed that every registered voter will have a totally safe and fair voting experience.  The NC Legislature is scheduled to reconvene as early as mid-May, then again in July and August; and we need you to let them know that without these funds, both voters and election officials may well not have the protection they need to prevent the spread of COVID-19.  Voters may even find their polling place closed due to lack of necessary protection.

Please contact Gov. Roy Cooper, NC Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger, NC House Speaker Tim Moore, and your local state legislators to demand that necessary and timely funding for our 2020 elections be added to their agenda.

Please ACT NOW!

 EVERY VOICE EVERY VOTE

As Reform Jews, we believe democracy is strongest when everyone participates – and it suffers when citizens are shut out from the democratic process or choose not to engage.  Every Voice, Every Vote is the Reform Jewish Movement’s 2020 civic engagement campaign, a nonpartisan effort to strengthen our democracy by encouraging everyone to participate in the U.S. election and ensuring that Reform Jewish values are represented in the public square.  The CBHT Tikkun Olam Committee encourages all congregants to get involved in these three focus areas:

Mobilize our Voters: Compelled by Jewish history and values, we take citizenship and the right to vote seriously. With outreach in our congregations and communities, our goal is 100 percent voter participation.

Combat Voter Suppression: For more than a century, RAC has worked with partners to ensure equal voting access.  This year, we’re working in coalition to achieve universal voter access and encourage universal participation.

Engage Student Voters: As part of our dedication to ensuring under-represented groups have a voice in the voting process, we’re working with youth leaders to significantly increase the number of young voters.                     (Adapted from rac.org)

Room in the Inn Host Week for June — CANCELLED.

When COVID-19 set in, the RITI women were allowed to take up shelter at Harrah’s Cherokee Civic Center in town.  As of May 11th, the women were transferred to a local hotel where they will stay for at least a month.  Whether they remain there after that time remains to be seen, but whatever the situation is for our originally scheduled host week June 7-14, we will not be hosting the women that week.  Our RITI partners at Congregation Beth Israel and St. Mary’s Episcopal Church agreed that due to our temple likely to still be on shutdown at that time plus the unlikelihood that it will be safe for volunteers to help out in early June, that we would not be comfortable attempting to host by early June.  Our scheduled June date was our final host week for the 2020 calendar year.

When I asked the RITI director how our temple could still assist the program, we were told that if you would like to donate food you can do that through Asheville Poverty Initiative.  They are working in partnership with the community to provide meals for all 60 clients who will be at the hotel.  They can be reached at ashevillepovertyinitiative@gmail.com.

Thanks, and stay safe everyone.

Sherrill Zoller, RITI liaison for the L.M. Tikkun Olam Committee

 

 

Statement from the Asheville Jewish Community



In the midst of a brand-new, deadly global crisis, our country has erupted in reaction to a centuries-old, deadly American crisis. The barbaric murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd bring us to our knees not because they are new crises like the coronavirus, but because they are so timeworn. And for many of us, we also recognize in ourselves the response of Amy Cooper in her interaction with the bird watcher Chris Cooper and what could have been another tragic death. We have work to do.

As the Asheville Jewish Community, we stand in solidarity with those expressing their grief, shock, and sorrow over these killings and the widespread racism in our society. We stand in solidarity because of our beliefs in the fundamental equality, worth, and dignity of every human being. We stand in solidarity because our commitment to Tikkun Olam demands it. But we also ask the members of the Asheville Jewish Community to do more than stand in solidarity.

As our mountain home enters into a State of Emergency and curfew tonight, we hope you will consider the ways you can bear witness to rebuild peace and justice within our community. Here are a few places to start:

We do this in honor of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd along with all African Americans who have died at the hands of racism and white supremacy in the 400 year history of these United States. May their memories be for a blessing.

B’Shalom,
Asheville Jewish Community Center
Carolina Jews for Justice
Center for Jewish Studies
Congregation Beth Israel
Congregation Beth HaTephila
Jewish Community Relations Council
Jewish Family Services of WNC
Jewish Secular Community of Asheville

Lotte Meyerson Tikkun Olam Lifelong Service Award Received by Jackie & Chuck Itzkovitz



Jackie and Chuck Itzkovitz received the Lotte Meyerson Tikkun Olam Committee Lifelong Service Award. Well deserved!

Mazol Tov to Jackie and Chuck!

As a way of learning more about the Itzkovitzs’ and their trailblazing involvement and contribution to CBHT and the Lotte Meyerson Tikkun Olam Committee, here is background of this dynamic couple for your interest and reading pleasure.
__________

As a young person, Jackie went to a social justice camp for several years where she met her ‘future’ husband, Chuck. After their marriage and having children of their own, Jackie and Chuck went back to work at the camp during the summer. Jackie attributes those experiences for earning her Masters of Social Work degree. Jackie started the PFLAG chapter in Savannah 22 years ago, which is still going strong. What gives her the most pleasure is that she and Chuck instilled those values learned and lived by, in their children.

So many current temple practices and events can be attributed to the love and good work of Jackie including: starting Shiva practices after funeral (now tended to with love by the CBHT Caring Community), creating and nurturing the beginning of the Hard Lox Jewish Food Festival, writing a Women’s Haggadah, led Women’s seders and writing the Sisterhood Shabbat service, still in use. Jackie was the President of Hadassah for 2 terms sitting on the Southeastern board of Hadassah, and served on the JCC Board for several years. She went to the first community immigration meeting where 17 faith communities came together to investigate possibilities for sanctuaries.

Chuck grew up in Savannah,Georgia. In his professional life he worked with intellectually-challenged teenagers in a state institution to help them move into the community through a Vocational Rehab grant, directed a community based residential treatment program for seriously emotionally disturbed teens in state custody, and ended his professional career working for the US Army in their child and spouse abuse program.

After retiring with Jackie to Asheville and joining CBHT, Chuck became involved through the Tikkun Olam infrastructure, to pursue his social work professional values and Jewish values of social change, social activism and Tzedakah. For several years Brotherhood had sponsored an annual clergy seminar, as part of an active interfaith program, inviting well known Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish scholars to come for a weekend and the local faith communities were invited to attend. At its height this program drew over a hundred clergy and laypersons. This gave rise to Brotherhood efforts, to which Chuck contributed, to form an interfaith clergy and lay action group. This group continued for several years and created important relationships and actions.

Now in Asheville close to 19 years, Jackie and Chuck Itzkovitz have always been connected in some way to helping others. CBHT is honored to have had so many of the temple practices, programs and events attributed to their early nurturing, participation and support.