Panim el Panim & MOC

There are actually 3 ways to get involved in our Tikkun Olam work.
1. Become a member of our Panim el Panim Core Team made up of members of Kol Shofar who work to strengthen a relational culture at Kol Shofar and listen for key interests and concerns of congregants that we can act on both internally and in the community at large.

2. Become part of one of the action teams in a project that is of interest to you.  This would involve you with working with others in the Marin community who are working in the same area.

3. Represent Kol Shofar as we join other members of MOC for Actions with public officials, where numbers of attendee matter. “it’s a put your tushies in the seat opportunity. Your next opportunity to do this is May 15.

MOC is working in four different areas in concert with the 20 or so other member organizations in Marin that are members. The four areas are:

  • REST:  MOC is now working on a strategy to garner support from all the communities in Marin County to create a publically funded permanent home for the Rotating Shelter, that would be available at a central location year round (not only on a rotating basis during the winter months). 18 members of Kol Shofar participated in a community wide action to discuss this idea and agreed to participate in face to face meetings with your local elected officials to tell them of your support for this project and our expectation that they will get behind this effort by voting money from each community’s local budget to support this endeavor. Shana Margolis has headed up our KS monthly REST participation by organizing our members to both cook and serve meals as Westminster Church. Across the county, 2000 volunteers from 40 churches, synagogues and not for profits have been volunteering in various locations to provide shelter and meals for the homeless for 6 months a year.  In addition, there is a team working on the issues related to affordable housing in general.
  • Healthcare Reform: Now that the healthcare open enrollment is over, the MOC healthcare research team has 3 ongoing members from Kol Shofar who have been meeting with other MOC representatives and county officials to address challenges around access to healthcare for newly insured and still uninsured.
  • Immigration Reform, in particular MOC is working on issues related to preparing those newly eligible for drivers’ licenses in 2015 to be prepared.
  • Slave Trade: The newest team to form is involved in researching issues surrounding human trafficking.  Much to our shock, issues of human trafficking is not about other communities, it is also about ours. And a new team has formed to learn more about this issue and what we might do to bring it to public attention and shut it down. There are now more than 60 massage parlors in San Rafael.

Marin Organizing Committee Action Update

On Thursday, May 15th, over 250 leaders of the Marin Organizing Committee gathered for an Accountability Session with Susan Adams and Damon Connolly, candidates for District 1 Marin County Supervisor.

Not a forum or a debate, this action focused on gaining concrete commitments from the candidates to work with MOC around our collective agenda. Front and center was the Supervisors’ support for a permanent home for the REST program.

Created with support from MOC seven years ago, the Rotating Emergency Shelter Team (REST) program operates during five winter months, housing and feeding 40 men at rotating congregations—as well as 20 women who are housed at the County Wellness Center and served by the congregations.

We said we want to see the REST program run year-round.

“I just got a new job,” said Raquel DeGloria, a REST guest, “but since April 15th I have no place to do basic things like plug in my cell phone and iron my clothes for work.”

“We can and must do better,” said Patti Breitman of Gan Halev, who volunteers with the Homeless Help Desk at the St Vincent de Paul Society of Marin, “It is heartbreaking to tell people there is no place to go after REST closes each year.”

At the action, Gail Dorph of Congregation Kol Shofar briefed the room on the progress of MOC’s meetings with local mayors and town council members to garner support for expanding the REST program. “We are building momentum,” she declared.

“This is a county-wide issue and every city and town must be part of the solution,” said Pat Langley of St Anselm Catholic Church,” But we are looking to our Supervisors to take the lead.”

“We want to make sure our next District 1 Supervisor is a champion for REST,” said Meredith Parnell of Congregation Rodef Sholom.

Both Vice Mayor Connolly and incumbent Supervisor Adams publicly committed to leading the effort to secure the necessary funding to expand the 5-month emergency shelter program to 365 days per year.

Candidates were also asked for their support of expanding housing options for families and seniors in District 1 and to enumerate their strategies for doing so.

“If my wife and I moved here today, we would never be able to buy our home on two teachers’ salaries,” said Keith Lester of Community Congregational Church Tiburon, who lives in East San Rafael.

“Two of my Terra Linda neighbors have left Marin in the past year because they can no longer afford to live here,” said Diane Doubleday of Congregation Rodef Sholom, “Affordable housing isn’t just about ‘them,’ it’s about ‘us.’

Supervisor Adams pledged her support for the proposed Marinwood affordable housing development and Vice Mayor Connolly shared his strategy for increasing the number of second units on existing residential properties.

The real work with these candidates will begin after the June election.

“MOC doesn’t endorse candidates,” said Lynn Bauer of Fairfax Community Church, “Our goal is to have a relationship with whomever is elected, and commitments we can hold them accountable to.”

At the end of the action, Co-Chairs Rabbi Susan Leider (Congregation Kol Shofar) and Suzanne Walker (St Vincent de Paul Society of Marin) issued a call to action, asking the delegates gathered to get out the vote on June 3rd, attend the next MOC Leaders Meeting, and sign up to attend meetings with local public officials to build support for a year-round REST program.

To learn more about Kol Shofar’s involvement in the Marin Organizing Committee, and to get involved, contact gaildorph@gmail.com