Social Justice and Advocacy

Tikkun Olam, or repair of the world, is contained within our congregation’s Mission Statement.  From the earliest days of Bangor’s Jewish Community when members sponsored refugees from Eastern Europe, to our historically strong support for Zionism, through to today, as we work to welcome immigrant families, Congregation Beth Israel takes a considered approach to issues of the day.  You’ll find our members working with veterans, addiction, and always preparing food at the Salvation Army.

We strive to live our Jewish values through meaningful action, and when appropriate, issue advocacy.

Our Social Action Committee recently lead the charge by drafting a letter in support of students of color who face racism in Bangor schools.  Our Rabbi and President, along with many other congregants, participated in Black Lives Matter events in the tumultuous summer of 2020.  We have congregants embedded in or leading numerous civic organizations in the Greater Bangor Region, from the Maine Multicultural Center to the NAACP.

You can read posts below about our advocacy work.

Support for LD 187 – An Act to Require Education about African-American History and the History of Genocide

The Board of Directors of Congregation Beth Israel voted unanimously to send a letter to the Joint Standing Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs in support of this legislation.  Our community encourages the state of Maine to make both African-American History and the History of Genocide a mandatory component of public school curriculum. Letter (PDF)

LD 55 An Act To Protect Minority Religious Groups by Eliminating the Prior Approval Requirement

Our President submitted the following testimony for LD 55: As President of Congregation Beth Israel in Bangor, Maine’s oldest extant Jewish house of worship, and as a parent of school-aged children, I am voicing my strong support for LD 55, “An Act to Protect Minority Religious Groups by Eliminating the Prior Approval Requirement for a […]

Justice Melville Fuller Statue

Most know that Plessy v. Ferguson upheld the constitutionality of racial segregation under the auspices of “separate but equal.”  This of course promulgated Jim Crow legislation throughout the South. Chief Justice Melville Fuller, a native of Maine, presided over Plessy v. Ferguson, voting with the majority.  Justice Fuller’s complicated judicial tenure also included Lochner v. New York, in which […]