The Urgency of Now

By Karen Brean

President, Board of Trustees, Rodef Shalom Congregation

During the last months, following the horrific events of October 27, we opened our hearts, our congregation, and our building. We grieved. And we looked for places to help and to take action.


Last spring, the Rodef Shalom Board of Trustees signed the Brit Olam, A Covenant with our World. In doing so, we joined more than 195 Reform Congregations committed to working toward a world of justice, compassion and wholeness. The preamble to the Brit Olam states: Across North America and around the world, vulnerable populations face profound challenges. As the Reform Jewish Movement, we are committed to meeting the urgency of now with moral leadership through congregational and community-based action.

In signing the Brit Olam, we committed to:

  • Fostering a culture of sacred and civil dialogue in our congregation where all opinions are heard;

  • Acting in solidarity with vulnerable communities;

  • Building relationships across lines of difference in our local community;

  • Acting at the local, state, and federal levels to address the root causes of injustice and advocate for systemic change;

  • Participating in one of the Religious Action Center’s current Urgency of Now Campaigns; or

  • Mobilizing around an issue that resonates with our community.

The Religious Action Center has committed to providing us with the tools to move us into effective action for social justice. Signing the Brit Olam is about our intention. The most important step now is to move into action.

Trustees Sarah Rosenson and David Manchester have agreed to become the new cochairs of our Social Justice/Social Action Committee. In the coming weeks, members of Rodef Shalom will receive information about Rodef Shalom’s Congregational Committees with an invitation to join, along with information to get started.

In the meantime, please let me suggest another first step toward taking action for social justice. The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is holding the Consultation on Conscience, its biennial social justice leadership conference, in Washington, D.C. May 19 – 21. Attending the Consultation provides access to leadership development, opportunities for networking, and community building, along with active dialogue that culminates in an afternoon of advocacy on Capitol Hill. Rodef Shalom will have a delegation attending the consultation.

Please consider joining us and contact me at for more information!

This article originally appeared in the Feb. 2019 edition of HaKesher, Rodef Shalom’s quarterly newsletter. To read more stories from this publication, click here.

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