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Congregation Beth HaTephila

An Engaging, Inclusive, Reform Congregation in the Blue Ridge Mountains



Lotte Meyerson Tikkun Olam Committee - December 2021

 

UPCOMING SCHEDULED LOTTE MEYERSON TIKKUN OLAM PROJECTS:

  • 1st Friday each month from 1-3 PM @ MANNA– CBHT volunteer team.
         Contact the CBHT office for info
  • 4th Thursday each month 9:30 AM – 12:30 PM – CBHT Veterans Restoration Quarters shelter meal         serving.  Contact the CBHT office for more info
  • Monday February 7th @ 4:30 PM—next LMTO meeting

HAVE YOU EVER HEARD OF JULIUS ROSENWALD?

Who was this mensch of a man?

  • Head of Sears Roebuck but not putting his name on it
  • Partnering with educator Booker T. Washington to conceptualize Black education
  • Never allowing his name on the nearly 5000 rural schools he built for Black children in the South between 1917 and 1932
  • Asking Black communities and white school boards to each contribute 1/3 of the costs
  • More than one in five Black schools operating throughout the South by 1928 were his schools
  • Built teachers' residences, industrial education shops, rural libraries, and made school bus purchases in rural areas of the South
  • Commissioned one of Chicago's largest housing developments for African Americans
  • Founder of the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago

Throughout his life, Julius Rosenwald took pride in his Jewishness, speaking openly about how his heritage had shaped him.  When he undertook his school building project, he argued that his attention to America’s most oppressed people stemmed from his Jewish outlook of Tikkun Olam, repairing the world. 

North Carolina is the state with the most Rosenwald Schools (~900), with at least 2 in our area: Mars Hill (restored) and Shiloh (gone).  Over the next few months, the LMTO Committee will host programs discussing the history of Rosenwald Schools, our local schools, what occurred in African-American communities in the 1960’s when schools were closed as part of integration along with urban renewal, and how this is connected to current proposals for reparations.  We hope you can join us to explore this example of Tikkun Olam and how it could affect our own actions.  Watch for upcoming programs in the CBHT weekly eblast!


SUCCESSFUL HIGH HOLIDAYS CHILDREN’S BOOK DRIVE

Our CBHT family once again stepped forward to contribute to a successful book drive for those in need. We collected:

  • 67 chapter books to be donated to Literacy Together (formerly the Literacy Council)
  • Almost 200 picture books plus $150 to buy books to be donated to Pisgah View Head Start 
  • 50 PJ library books that will be donated to the JCC for their lending library

Since 2011, our congregation has donated around 6,500 books for those in need.  A big thank you to all those who were able to generously donate.  We hope post-pandemic to once again entice volunteers to Pisgah View Head Start to provide that one-on-one that makes reading fun. 

The Lotte Meyerson Tikkun Olam Committee
Afghan Refugees Come to Asheville
By David Seligman
 

My first combat deployment was to Afghanistan in 2004.  Our camp was situated around a major airfield that was also used by the Russians during their attempt to take over Afghanistan in the ’80s.  The living history was obvious each day I walked to work and passed by a broken down, rusted Russian tank that was left in a small patch of grass; or the countless rusting Russian aircraft that lived in junkyards on the outer edges of the airfield.  

Outside of our camp was a small peaceful village.  Beyond our protective barriers, life for Afghanis was normal – the mosque played the call to prayer over a loudspeaker 5 times a day, there was sporadic gunfire, an occasional explosion followed by chaos, then back to work or to the market.  The lucky Afghanis were able to get a job in our camp.  But taking a job on our camp meant living in fear that they and/or their family would be murdered by members of the Taliban.  Nevertheless, over 100,000 Afghanis risked everything they had for jobs like cleaning bathhouses, toilets, emptying dumpsters, etc. 

They literally saved our lives and gave theirs to keep us safe.  And then it was over.  The coalition forces departed, followed by the US, and Afghanistan fell to the Taliban in 11 days. 

Imagine for a moment that you and your family could be tortured or murdered because of who you worked for at some point in the last 20 years.  Would you stay in the house you own and live in a constant state of fear?  If you had an opportunity to leave, would you take it?  The Jewish people have faced the same situation once every century.  We can’t pretend that we don’t imagine what it’s like, because we actually know what it does to a people.  Because we know, it is our responsibility to act.

Asheville is in the process of welcoming 40 Afghani refugees.  They are being sponsored by the Asheville office of Catholic Charities, who are ensuring their basic needs are being met.  This is a cumbersome task and involves several organizations who have a constant need for volunteers, funding, and resources. The Tikkun Olam Committee has been in contact with Catholic Charities and would like support from our congregation to welcome the Afghanis and ease their transition to America.  One of the most heavily needed resources at this point are volunteers who are willing to drive some of the refugees to and from English classes.  Financial support is always welcomed as well, but the focus is on integrating the refugees into the community.  Donating gift cards to grocery stores or restaurants is a better way for the newly arrived people to live in and understand our culture better than dropping off bags of food. 

If you are able to contribute in any way, through in-person volunteer or donation, please contact the CBHT office. Thank you.
 

Thu, August 18 2022 21 Av 5782