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Brit Olam

Brit Olam - our covenant with the world - is a commitment to working toward a just society.  The sages taught that tikkun olam - repair of the world - is inseparable from tikkun midot - repair of the self.

As a URJ Brit Olam congregation we are, therefore, on a continuous journey to be

a place of learning, where we are able to struggle with difficult ideas, and where together we are committed to learning what it really means to live the values of Judaism in our modern world;

a place of compassion and growth for members and friends seeking to understand their obligations to each other and to the world;

and a place where we act in accord with our understanding.

Our striving to fulfill our covenant with the world touches every aspect of congregational life.

We are eager to take on difficult questions, for which there are no preformed answers. We value an environment in which people are supported in their struggles and never feel judged or excluded.

 
A Jewish perspective on difficult questions.
In the Babylonian Talmud, we read:
For three years there was a dispute between the House of Shammai (and his disciples) and the House of Hillel (and his disciples), the former asserting, “The law is in accordance with our views,” and the latter contending, “The law is in accordance with our views.” Eventually, a bat kol (heavenly voice) rang out and announced: “Eilu v’eilu divrei Elokim Chayim.” “These and those are both the words of the living G-d” – both views represent a valid understanding of Torah – but in practice, the law follows the House of Hillel.”
(Eruvin 13b)
“Eilu v’eilu divrei Elokim Chayim.” 
“These and those are both the words of the living G-d”
In order to be truly ethical, we must walk a balance beam. We must hold space for “these” and for “those.” We must acknowledge different, and even competing, notions of what is right, just, good, and important.
 

Our Brit Olam Steering Committee works with KI members, other committees, and partners in the community to support these goals.

Opportunities for engagement in social action and social justice work are listed on the Tikkun Olam page. Many opportunities for individual and communal learning are provided through Adult Education, our Religious School, Women of KI, Mussar, and others. Our worship experiences support all who are making sense of our world and our obligations in it.

Below, we provide a focused set of resources for understanding how, as Reform Jews, we understand our covenant with the world and might go about keeping it.

 

What's Going On Here? Inequity in PA School Funding

Gerrymandering in PA and What We Can Do About It

Originally recorded: Sunday, March 31th, 2021

Lecture: Gerrymandering in PA and What We Can Do About It, Co-Sponsored by the KI Adult Education Committee and the B'rit Olam Steering Committee. 

Presentation by Terry Schettini, FairDistricts PA volunteer and KI congregant.

Click here for an educational PDF Gerrymandering 101

 

 

 

Panel Discussion on Homelessness

Originally recorded: Sunday, March 7th, 2021

Featuring: Sherri Brokopp Binder, PhD, Executive Director of the Ripple Community Inc; Karen Beck Pooley, PhD, Professor of Practice, Dept of Political Science at Lehigh University, Roslyn Kuba, Executive Director of Family Promise of the Lehigh Valley Discussion brought to you by B'rit Olam

 

Pursing Justice

Click the links below to enjoy the Union of Reform Judaism's three part series entitled Pursuing Justice.  

Mon, June 24 2024 18 Sivan 5784