The Social Justice Vision at Stephen S. Wise Temple

Our congregation will see Social Justice as a calling that derives from our sense of God and the imperative of Jewish Tradition. The Stephen S. Wise Temple community will use our influence, power and compassion to be a force for positive, meaningful and effective change in the quality of life on behalf of all the citizens of Los Angeles and the world.


Friday, May 15, 2009

The Social Justice Vision: Connecting Communities in a Vast City

The Social Justice Leadership Team had an incredibly productive meeting this past Wednesday (May 13th) which reflected the culmination of our year’s worth of conversations, one-on-ones and relationship building with Temple members and the residents of Boyle Heights. In addition we engaged a wide variety of professionals to develop strategies to move our work forward. Click on active links for information about partner organizations.

The Leadership Team determined that the overall theme guiding our work will be Connecting Communities – bringing people together across geographic, ethnic and religious expanses and we will focus on Boyle Heights.

  • Our primary focus will be on the Boyle Heights Neighborhoods and the various ways that members of Stephen Wise Temple can bring their talents to that community. Far from being a one way street our experiences in Boyle Heights will help us learn about the complexity, challenges, and opportunities that are presented to us as fellow citizens of one of the most diverse cities on the planet!
  • Together with the UCLA school of Medicine and Dentristy (and Temple member and psychiatrist Dr. Susan Donner-Klein) we will recruit SSWT therapists (and interns) to teach and facilitate the program. (Father Scott Santarosa has given us permission to begin recruiting participants from BH and to work with Dolores Mission.)
  • Los Angeles City Youth Council (LAYC) – thanks to Joey Freeman students from Roosevelt High and MCHS are working together to strengthen both schools’ involvement in the youth council. Incoming MCHS student body president Jenna Freeman (not related to Joey) will continue the efforts after Joey graduates.
  • Affordable Housing Ordinance – many of the developers and other interested parties on our Social Justice Leadership team and in the congregation are participating in attempts to facilitate and advocate for a workable Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance in Los Angeles. We are working with a variety of faith-based groups and othersthroughout our city on this project.
  • Affordable Housing Ordinance Hearing: City Hall on Tuesday, May 19th, 2:00, Rm 350, 200 N. Spring Street (ID required to enter but open meeting). If you’d like to attend email Jared Rivera:

Town Hall Meeting – The Culmination and Next Step after our Year of House Meetings and Communal Involvement. Here we will begin our work to gain the commitment of participants and our congregation to action around our Social Justice Vision.

  • Remember: It’s all about RELATIONSHIPS! We are determined to engage people in this process through interpersonal connections – not publicity campaigns.
  • June 17th – Wednesday, 7:30 p.m. All those who attended House Meetings (and more) are to be invited by the Leadership Team directly – through personal calls. At the Town Hall Meeting we’ll roll out the Social Justice Plan with personal testimonials, have a text study and hold breakouts into groups around the action items above.
House Meetings will, of course, continue throughout the year as we continue to develop relationships and energize our base around our social justice vision.

Want more information about any of the above? Email Rabbi Ron Stern, click here.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009