Our tradition teaches that God had “singled Abraham out” so that Abraham would instruct his descendants “to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is just and right.” The Torah is very clear; the way of God is good, and doing good is Godly. Each and every time we confront the world with צְדָקָה וּמִשְׁפָּט , deeds that are just and righteous, each and every time we reject “the callousness of indifference and the prudence of impartiality,” indeed, each and every time we call our faith into account by assuming personal responsibility for the world that surrounds us, we join the path of Abraham and Sarah, that is, we join the path of the Holy One (see R. Abraham Joshua Heschel, “The Prophets,” pp. xxii and xxvi).
Funding Jewish childhood education
Because we feel strongly about our members supporting this cause, we offer several drives each year to fund scholarships from early education at Gan Shalom all the way through local high schools. This helps create a vital future for Jewish people, placing knowledge and literacy at the center of the community. All that we do at CBI would not be possible without significant investment in those areas.
Berkeley Food and Housing Program
Of the 613 commandments that we are obliged to observe, upwards of 100 involve taking care of people in need. CBI is committed to helping our local community. At this time, CBI has been making regular donations in lieu of meals. We hope to return to prepare and serve dinner on the fourth Wednesday night of each month to more than 75 clients at the Berkeley Men’s Food and Housing Program. This was a great opportunity for both teens and adults to become involved in tzedakah va’hesed (justice and loving kindness). Please donate to the Rabbis Discretionary Fund and indicate shelter dinner:
- by Paypal or credit card, please pick the Rabbi’s Discretionary Fund
- @CBI-Berkeley by Venmo
- to firstname.lastname@example.org by Zelle
- by check to “Congregation Beth Israel”, 1630 Bancroft Way, Berkeley CA 94703
We are expanding the definition of Jews being “The People of the Book.” In partnership with the Jewish Coalition for Literacy (JCL), we suggest a way for you to help:
- Volunteer to teach children to read. We will arrange for training from the JCL. Then you will visit community sites, including Washington School (on Bancroft between CBI and Berkeley High) and Cragmont School (at Spruce and Marin) to help students improve their competency in English.
During the winter holiday season, we conduct a dinner drive in conjunction with other East Bay synagogues and the Alameda food bank. Last year, Beth Israel helped raise $79,500 for Bay Area food banks. Twenty dollars will feed a family of four.
During the rest of the year you can bring non-perishable items to the Alameda County Food Bank bin located in the CBI lobby.