A Profile of… Reform Illinois

Historically, Solel is known as a pathfinder congregation in many areas but, most of all, around Tikkun Olam — repairing the world through acts of social justice and social activism. Last month, the Solel Board of Directors voted to take this one step further — agreeing to join the new URJ-sponsored Reform Illinois.

Reform Illinois is a start-up pilot of the Religious Action Center (the RAC). For those not familiar with the RAC, it’s the Union for Reform Judaism’s (URJ) social justice hub, headquartered in Washington, DC. The RAC focuses on federal, state, and local legislation and organizes communities to create a world overflowing with justice, compassion, and peace. Our involvement in Reform Illinois will supplement social justice/social action initiatives already underway at Solel.

It’s become apparent in the past several years that we can make the most progress toward social justice initiatives at the local level. That was started with Just Congregations — an initiative in which Solel took a leadership role and participates to this day.

Within the past 12 months, lay leaders and clergy from across the Chicago area came together to identify issues of importance that might be addressed through an even broader Reform Illinois group. Indeed, there was enough excitement to move forward with the group which represents 20 congregations including Congregation Solel. At this time, the group is focused on racial injustice (including housing, gun violence, education, voting rights, and more) and immigration/refugees.

Recently, several Solelites attended a session on Reform Illinois at the Union for Reform Judaism Biennial in Boston. Over 100 Reform Jews from around Illinois participated in the session.

If you would like to get involved in the work of Reform Illinois, contact Caryn Fliegler cfliegler@gmail.com, Sharon Stein sstein24@gmail.com, or Cantor Jay. If you have any questions about social justice/action projects at Solel in general, contact Alice Kohn (Solel’s VP/Social Justice at alicenkohn@gmail.com).

Copyright © Congregation Solel, 2017. All rights reserved. Member of the Union for Reform Judaism

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