Welcoming The Stranger From The Southern Border:

Community-Wide Elul Social Action Committee Project

Like Jews have done many times throughout our history, children who have trekked 1000s of miles across Central America and Mexico searching for peace and freedom are now on their way to a better life with sponsors across the U.S.

We’re in a unique position to help these children reach and settle into their new homes, given our Biblical mandate

“You shall love the stranger as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt” (Leviticus 19:34).

ADL’s Walk Against Hate

Sunday, October 10

ADL Walk Against Hate

Please join in the Walk Against Hate for the ADL. On behalf of the Bet Torah Diversity and Inclusion committee, I am your captain and have created a Bet Torah team. Please sign up for the walk and join the team at walkagainsthate.org. You will look for our team name called Bet Torah Team.

Please consider sharing the following link for donations so that we can reach our goal of $1,800.00: walkagainsthate.org/NYNJ/BETTORAH

Every dollar we raise allows ADL to carry out its anti-bias education programs, advocacy efforts and other programs that fight hate for good. Stacey Follman will be organizing this event for Bet Torah. Her email is sfollman@optonline.net

Response to Humanitarian Crises

Response to Humanitarian Crises in Afghanistan

“You shall love the stranger for you were strangers…” (Deuteronomy 10:19).

Bet Torah stands with the Jewish community in supporting the rights of those who face peril around the globe. In the last several weeks, we have watched  those who stood by us to fight evil in Afghanistan and are now in mortal fear for themselves and their families. As part of our mission to Repair the World, we stand with organizations such as HIAS, Hearts and Homes for Refugees, and Women for Afghan Women in advocating for helping these families come to safety and resettle.

Bet Torah signed on to appeal at the national level to our government for just intervention to bring those in Afghanistan to safety and to stop the deportation of Afghan citizens on US soil. The letter is steeped in our Jewish values and our empathy for what it means to be persecuted. In the coming weeks we plan to continue to advocate, and partner with other organization to reaffirm the sanctity of life and liberty, and to reach out in any way we can to these Afghan refugees.

August 2021
The overriding Jewish ethos of Social Action is Tikkun Olam -Repairing the World.  In the last several weeks, in addition to the ongoing catastrophes wrought by Covid with loss of life, and the massive effects of Global Warming- fires and floods,  we have witnessed humanitarian crises unfold in many places but  most notably Afghanistan and Haiti.

For months, in anticipation of the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, many organizations who advocate for immigrants have been aware that those Afghanistan nationals who aided the US as translators and guides, who served in the army and especially in intelligence operations would be vulnerable to harm. That fear has unfolded as tens of thousands of operatives, and their families including children fear for death at the hands of the  Taliban forces.  They have been hiding and attempting to leave the country and seek asylum.

Bet Torah has been in communication with Westchester Coalition for Immigration, Hearts and Homes for Refugees, and HIAS to gain information as to how we can assist in this humanitarian crises. Possibilities include sponsoring a family that is relocating from Afghanistan, advocating with our representatives in congress or donating to a fund supporting the relocation of those seeking asylum.

In addition we want to make you aware of other organizations that are doing important work and have excellent track records in this field http://Child Foundation Families Belong Together GlobalGiving Hearts & Homes for Refugees Human Rights First HIAS International Media Support International Medical Corps The International Rescue Committee Jewish Family and Community Services Miles4Migrants No One Left Behind Women for Women International Women for Afghan Women (WAW)

We will continue to try to move forward with a well thought initiative but we are currently looking to assess those in our congregation who would like to help us mobilize. If you would like to help Social Justice at Bet Torah strategize and plan please reach out to Elaine Merker at socialjustice@bettorah.org or Jill Ratner at socialaction@bettorah.org.


As this is unfolding in Afghanistan, we have witnessed another humanitarian crises and now natural disaster in Haiti.  Haiti has been experiencing instability of its government with mounting economic hardship and food insecurity which culminated in violence and the assassination of the President on July 7th followed by a 7.3  magnitude earthquake hit the southern portion of Haiti on August 14th  leaving 2200 people dead and several hundred still unaccounted for. The people of Haiti, who have throughout their history endured great hardship are very much at their breaking point both mortally and spiritually. Two local non for profit organizations well known to Bet Torah, Hands Up for Haiti and Afya are working to provide relief, and medical supplies and care to those in the immediate area, and those that have fled to the north as their homes have been destroyed. Of note, UJA is a supporter of Afya’s current efforts. Bet Torah congregants can help by donating to both organizations through their websites.

Additionally, IsraAid is on the ground in Haiti, as it is for global disasters everywhere. Please consider supporting their efforts as we support the organization that shows up on the front lines and uses Israeli know how to bring relief.

In the weeks to come, we hope to organize a packing event at AFYA for our teens and families where we as a community engage in the powerful experience of shipping to another community around the world the goods they need to promote health and well-being. Please check out the Weeklys, and our Facebook group for more information.

About the Social Justice Committee

The mission of social justice is to mobilize our community, using Jewish principles of moral righteousness. We operate with respect for the diversity of opinions among our members, as well as respect for the inherent human dignity and worth of every human being.

Under the leadership of Elaine Gloth-Merker, Social Justice has expanded its role to highlight and shine a light on three issues this year  Immigrants Rights Initiative,  Racial Justice Initiative, and Antisemitism Initiative are recognized as being forefront for the committee and our community this year.

If you would like to receive the Tzedek Newsletter, and any email updates about our programming,  please contact Elaine Gloth Merker at socialjustice@bettorah.org or Liz Schonfeld at Lizschon@aol.com.