Entries categorized "Religion"

Caring for Our Earth, Caring for Each Other

Celebration-of-abraham-logo(From press release) The Celebration of Abraham, a long-time interfaith organization in Yolo County, extends an invitation to the whole community to join us for our 20th annual community conversation:  “Caring for Our Earth, Caring for Each Other.” Helen Roland, President of Celebration of Abraham explained, “It seemed fitting that our 20th anniversary community conversation theme revisits one of our earlier events of caring for creation, and at the same time expands to reflect a common thread in the Abrahamic faiths recognizing a relationship between stewardship for our earth and for humankind.” The topic was arrived at by a multi-faith group of Celebration of Abraham members who gather monthly to plan for the event.

Regardless of spiritual traditions, all are welcome to join in the virtual ZOOM gathering from 3 pm to 5 pm on Sunday, February 5. Please register here: https://bit.ly/CeleAbraham20.

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Please Pick the Side of Democracy

Democracy

By Colin Walsh

Please pick the side of Democracy.

Tonight, the City Council has the opportunity to set in motion their own private pick of the successor to Lucas Frerichs for the District 3 Council seat, or they can side with democracy and let voters decide.

I can certainly understand the temptation to save money and sidestep elections and appoint their selected candidate (likely Donna Neville). After all, the council all endorsed each other and almost always votes together. Even our newest council member Bapu Vaitla arrives as a consummate insider with strong relationships with the other council members. I mean really the Davis power clique has dominated the last elections and has every reason to believe their handpicked appointment would win in an election anyway. After all – the inside candidates dominate in fundraising, endorsements, and opportunities in all recent council elections.

The mechanism for picking might look like this - we would probably see the Council set in motion a process where they would pick the pickers. The council could appoint a committee to go through the process of interviewing and evaluating candidates and then pick exactly the same person the council would pick. After all, the council would surely pick the pickers that would pick the council’s pick of choice anyway - all while the voters of district 3 would be left picking their noses.

But maybe district 3 would vote differently than the power clique prefers. They certainly should have a chance to pick for themselves.

Some argue precedent, that the council has picked replacements candidates in the past, but things are different now with district elections. All of the current council members are elected by voters from specific districts and not by district 3 voters. District 3 voters deserve the chance to pick their own council person without interference from the candidates representing the other districts.

Even if the council chooses an election sometime in the future, but picks an interim council member, it amounts to the biggest endorsement they can give providing a very unfair advantage to their pick in the election. Better to leave the seat open until the voters of District 3 can vote democratically for the council member to fill the remaining term that Frerichs has left behind. Frankly if district 3 voters are upset about not being represented for a period of time, they should send their complaints to Frerichs who abandoned his council seat mid term for a better paying gig.

Let’s face it, the council has been voting in lockstep on just about every major issue for years now. A vacancy for a few months is not going to make a big difference in outcome. Especially considering the lockstep council would likely just pick another person to join them in lockstep.

Or maybe the council will pick democracy and district 3 can pick the next council person to represent them. One can hope.


Social Service Groups Receive Biberstein Social Action Fund Grants

(From press release) Fourteen (14) nonprofit social service groups in Yolo County have received grants totaling $18,475 from a fund established by Congregation Bet Haverim, Jewish Fellowship of Davis. The Biberstein Social Action Fund was established in 2002 to honor longtime Davis residents Ernie and Hannah Biberstein for their contributions to community service and social justice.  The fund sponsors efforts to address problems related to poverty, discriminations, abuse and neglect.

The following organizations were funded:

The Bike Campaign; Celebration of Abraham; Davis United Methodist Church – Grace Gardens; HEART of Davis (formerly Interfaith Rotating Winter Shelter) ; iDream – The Mac Give Back Project; Meals on Wheels Yolo County; Mercer Veterinary Clinic; Personal Care Pantry (Woodland United Methodist Church); Purple Tree Café; STEAC; St. James Conference Society of Vincent de Paul; Suicide Prevention of Yolo County; Yolo County Continuum of Care; Yolo Crisis Nursery.

“We are very happy to make these awards,” said Ernie Biberstein.  “We think they will make a meaningful difference to the organizations selected and to the Yolo County community.

The winners, who were chosen by a committee of Bet Haverim members, will be recognized at a ceremony at the Bet Haverim Religious School in Davis in February.

“With the loss of Hannah, we continue to feel that it is even more important to show our religious school students the value of supporting the needs of their community,” continued Biberstein. Hannah Biberstein passed away in April of 2011.

Biberstein Social Action Fund awards are given annually on the basis of proposals made to the synagogue committee. Contributions to the fund may be made through Congregation Bet Haverim, 1715 Anderson Road, Davis, CA 95616. Please note that the donation is for the Biberstein Social Action Fund.
      


Celebration of Abraham Rocks the Block in West Sacramento with Habitat for Humanity

Rocks-the-block(From press release) On Saturday October 8 the Celebration of Abraham joined Habitat for Humanity Greater Sacramento to Rock the Block in West Sacramento. Our team comprised folks from all three Abrahamic traditions including Jewish (Renee Dryfoos, Gregory Guss, John Katonah and Dean Newberry), Muslim (Anne Kjemtrup, Kamal  Lemseffer and Timur Mamedov) and Christian (Mary Philip and Helen Roland Cramer). In addition to providing the interfaith work team, the Celebration of Abraham ran an on-line fundraising campaign and raised $1350 to supply the materials needed to work on the project.

The specific project that the Celebration of Abraham worked on was painting the transitional housing that Shores of Hope provides to folks aging out of foster care. Shore of Hope is a nonprofit in West Sacramento that offers among other services transitional housing, Slavic Women’s Health Outreach, emergency shelter, and a Food Closet. (See Welcome to Shores of Hope )


Biberstein Social Action Fund Grants Available

20th Annual Request for Proposals; proposals due October 28, 2022

(From press release) Nonprofit organizations are invited to submit applications to the Biberstein Social Action Fund for grants in support of projects addressing poverty, discrimination, abuse and neglect issues in Yolo County.

The Biberstein Social Action Fund was established in 2002 by the Board of Directors of Congregation Bet Haverim to honor Ernie and Hannah Biberstein, who are among the founding members of CBH, and who devoted much of their lives to community service and social justice. Hannah passed away in April 2011. 2022 marks the 20th Anniversary of the Fund, and, even more importantly, Ernie’s 100th birthday in November.

The goal of the annual awards made from the Biberstein Social Action Fund is to help Yolo County organizations in their efforts to meet unfulfilled needs. “In light of all the budget cuts in social services, we hope that grants like ours can make a difference,” Hannah Biberstein had said. “It means a lot to us that real individuals benefit from our grants.” Special consideration is given to new and/or innovative projects.

An annual Request for Proposals is released in the fall every year. Grants ranging from $500 to $2,000 are awarded each November. A committee of Bet Haverim congregants reviews grant applications.  Current Biberstein Fund committee members are congregants Ernie Biberstein, Anne Gieseke, Amy Abramson, Sandy Jones, Joan Sublett, and Shoshana Zatz.

Information about the Biberstein Award, including a link to the application, is available on the CBH website: https://www.bethaverim.org/engage/committees/biberstein-social-action-fund/

Grant proposals must be submitted no later than October 28, 2022. Questions may be directed to the Biberstein Social Action Fund at: cbhbibersteinfund@gmail.com. Awards will be announced in December, 2022.

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Donate to the Biberstein Social Action Fund

In Honor of its 20th Anniversary and Ernie’s 100th Birthday!

Biberstein donations(From press release) The Biberstein Social Action Fund was established in 2002 by the Board of Directors of Congregation Bet Haverim to honor Ernie and Hannah Biberstein, who are among the founding members of CBH, and who devoted much of their lives to community service and social justice. The goal of the Biberstein Fund is to recognize and support the work of organizations dedicated to the alleviation of poverty, discrimination, abuse and neglect in our local area (Yolo County). An annual Call for Proposals is released each September*. Grants ranging from $500 to $2,000 are awarded in December. Since 2002, the Biberstein Social Action Fund has contributed close to $200,000 to local social action organizations. (https://www.bethaverim.org/engage/committees/biberstein-social-action-fund/)

2022 marks the 20th Anniversary of the Fund, and, even more importantly, Ernie’s 100th birthday in November. In honor of this momentous occasion, we invite special contributions to be made to the Fund. Using the link below, please check the “Donations to Specialized Funds” box and make a contribution in any amount to the “Biberstein Social Action Fund”. (https://www.bethaverim.org/donate/).

If you prefer to mail a check, pay by cash or use a credit card over the phone, please contact the CBH office for further instructions at office@bethaverim.org or 530-758-0842.

Join us in wishing Ernie a very happy 100th Birthday and in celebrating the 20th Anniversary of the Fund created to support the Bibersteins’ lifetime dedication to Tikkun Olam.

*A group of Bet Haverim Partners reviews grant applications.  Current Biberstein Fund members are congregants Ernie Biberstein, Amy Abramson, Anne Gieseke, Sandy Jones, Joan Sublett, and Shoshana Zatz. Ex-officio: Rabbi Bess Wohlner and Rabbi Jeremy Simons.


Learning from the anti-Semitic incident on 113 overpass

Anti-Semitic bannersBy Roberta Millstein

As most Davisites have learned by now, at least twice over the past two weekends, masked men displayed antisemitic banners from a highway overpass in Davis (see Davis Enterprise article for details).

The banners said, “Communism is Jewish” and “The Holocaust is an anti-white lie.”

Several local leaders issued responses.  These responses, although all were well-meaning, miss the mark a bit.  I want to try to explain why.

Chancellor Gary May said: “We are sickened that anyone would invest any time in such cowardly acts of hate and intimidation. They have no place here. We encourage our community to stand against antisemitism and racism.”

This isn’t false per se, but it’s incomplete.  This isn’t just an act of hate.  As I will explain further below, the banners replicate common tropes (repeatedly told stories) about Jewish people.  Without calling out those tropes, many will not understand, or fully understand, what the issues are.

Chancellor May is correct that anti-Semitism and racism are connected, but he doesn’t say how.  Again, more on this below.

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Sunday Jams

IMG_5703_smlr"Sunday Jams” at Lutheran Church of the Incarnation (LCI)

On Sunday, May 1 at 11:30 am, nine people came together to make some folk music at Lutheran Church of the Incarnation (LCI) shortly after its 9:30am worship service and 10:30 education and coffee hour.  Many brought instruments: guitars and ukuleles could be seen, there was a piano and many voices.  Each brought their own favorite folk songs to share with the others, and the group quickly caught on, singing Irish folk tunes, classics like “Shenandoah”, “This Land is your Land”, “Blowin’ in the Wind”, “If I had a Hammer” and many others.  
 
It was a moment to share something deeply needed among this fellowship of friends, and perhaps in our world today: unity through the healing power of the arts.  “Sunday Jams” is a tradition that will continue at LCI: the next jam session will be Sunday May 22 at 12:00 noon, playing the music of the Beatles.  All are welcome!  LCI is at 1701 Russell Blvd. Davis, 95616 (corner of Russell & Arthur, just west of 113).  
 

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2022 Virtual Celebration of Abraham

Hope in difficult times     flyerHope in Difficult Times: An Interfaith Conversation

(From press release). The Celebration of Abraham, which is the only interfaith organization guided by the laity in Davis and Woodland, will hold another virtual celebration this year, Sunday February 6, 2022, 3 pm-4:30 pm. We deeply miss gathering with everyone in person and look forward to doing this again as soon as we can do so safely.

We recognize that the pandemic, environmental destruction, and political unrest continue to affect our well-being and therefore our ability to sustain ourselves as we face these challenges. For this year’s theme, “Hope in Difficult Times: An Interfaith Conversation,” we have chosen three young leaders to offer guidance grounded in their faith traditions: Leah Julian, Rabbinical Student; Tara Rogers-Soeder from the Davis United Methodist Church; and Omar Abdel-Ghaffar from Muslim Davis Engagement and Interfaith Network (DEIN). Our speakers will explore how we can live with hope without turning away from the difficulties that we face in our individual and collective lives. After hearing from the three speakers, we will invite attendees to discussion breakout rooms to share their thoughts.

Randy Farris will again lead us in singing Children of Abraham. We will raise donations for the International Rescue Committee. To sign up for the free event hosted on Zoom, please go to  http://bit.ly/COAHope. This link is case sensitive. You can also sign up by going to our website at http://www.celebrationofabraham.net.


Hope in Difficult Times: An Interfaith Conversation

Hope in difficult timesFREE 1.12Join the Celebration of Abraham, Sunday February 6, 2022, 3-4:30 PM, for their Annual Community Conversation - Virtual!

You must register to attend! Please register here:

bit.ly/COAHope

Monetary donations will be collected for:

International Rescue Committee, Sacramento (https://help.rescue.org/donate/us-northern-california-ca)


Seeds of Justice lecture and workshop series

(From press release) What is our responsibility as people who live, work, or worship in Davis to the original inhabitants of this land? What is the legacy of environmental racism? How can we heal and repair the harm? These and other critical questions guide a new educational opportunity being offered to the community this fall.

The Episcopal Church of St. Martin will bring a series of lectures and workshops, Seeds of Justice, to Davis to highlight the work of scholars and cultural practitioners in this region - the ancestral homeland of the Patwin-Wintun people.

St. Martin’s developed the Seeds of Justice program to understand the racialized history of the land here in the epicenter of gold, greed and genocide. Through storytelling, discussions and hands-on workshops, participants will study the resistance and resilience of Native Californians to the ongoing social and environmental impacts of settlers in this region.

“We hope this will be a safe, honest and transformative space for our community to grapple with the legacy of injustice to this land and her people,” said Ann Liu, Chair of St. Martin’s Care for God’s Creation Committee. “Everyone is invited to come and learn with an open heart and mind.”

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Mother Nurture Art at the Episcopal Church St. Martin’s in Davis, California

Image1 5
Photo of "Mother Nurture" by Ann Liu

(From press releatse) As part of the Episcopal Church of St. Martin’s theme of healthy soil, healthy plants, and healthy community, the church has accepted an offer to host an art installation from the Arts, Cultures, and Designs of Remediation research cluster at UC Davis.

The Arts, Cultures, and Designs of Remediation cluster is a working group of faculty and graduate students from the performing arts, environmental design, and soil sciences. Their mission is to challenge us to think about how we can remediate and heal our soil, and tell our stories by doing so.

They have invited St. Martin’s to display a beautiful and creative art piece named Mother Nurture in its developing garden space outside of the Parish Hall facing Hawthorn Lane. It was recently shown at the International House in Davis and is now at St. Martin’s from May 14, 2021 to June 14, 2021.

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Invitation to a virtual Ramadan event

DEIN 1-2Dear Davis Community

Muslim Davis Engagement and Interfaith Network (DEIN) would like to invite you to participate in a virtual Ramadan event. Ramadan is the month where Muslims fast from dawn to dusk. Normally Muslim DEIN holds a community iftar (end of day breaking of fast) where we invite the community to share a delicious meal with us. This year, we hold this event virtually, on Thursday, April 29th beginning at 6:30 sharp. The event is called, “Fasting Across Faiths” and we will be hearing not only about how Muslims fast during Ramadan, but learn how people from other faiths fast as part of their traditions. The flyer is enclosed. Please register for the event at this link:

https://bit.ly/2QSPSNI

 or by using the QR code (which will take you to the registration link) in the flyer.  After the event, we will share electronically with each of you a collection of recipes from our presenters of different faiths - recipes of meals which they enjoy to break their fasts. We look forward to seeing you on April 29!

Members of Muslim DEIN


2021 Virtual Celebration of Abraham: Practicing Humility in Difficult Times

Sunday January 31, 2021 3pm-4pm

Practicing Humility in Difficult times-2(From press release) This past year we all have had our lives changed by COVID19—ZOOM-ing religious services, masks to leave our homes, not spending holidays with loved ones and adapting the Celebration of Abraham. The planners of Abraham considered cancelling this year’s celebration to ensure the safety of our participants, but we realized that Davis needs this year’s celebration as we struggle with the pandemic, environmental destruction, and political unrest. The Celebration of Abraham represents the only interfaith organization guided by the laity.

We believe that our community needs to come together for mutual support and, therefore we will hold a virtual celebration. This led us to our topic: Practicing Humility in Difficult Times. We have chosen three leaders to offer guidance grounded in their faith traditions on how each of us can go forward to help heal our world: Dr. Travis Lybbert (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints), Rabbi Greg Wolfe (Congregation Bet Haverim) and Dr. Mairaj Syed (Religious Studies UCD and the Muslim DEIN).

Randy Farris will again lead us in singing Children of Abraham. We also will raise donations for the Yolo Food Bank (https://yolofoodbank.org/donate). To sign up for the event that will be hosted both on ZOOM and Facebook please go to our website for more information. www.celebrationofabraham.net.


Finding ways to work together

Celebration-of-abraham-logoThe Celebration of Abraham thanks the Davis-Area Interfaith Religious Leaders Network (DAIR-LN) for offering a ZOOM Interfaith Prayer for a More Perfect Union on Monday, November 2. The service, the night before the national election, featured Davis faith leaders offering reflections, music, and readings for our country and our community. The faith leaders focused on three themes: Be kind. Be strong. Stay together. Our community needed to hear the message and we need to hold the service in our heart as we go forward. For those of you who would like to revisit the service, DAIR-LN has posted the service on their Facebook page. 

To continue efforts to find ways to work together, on behalf of the Celebration of Abraham, I invite you to be part of our interfaith community conversation, as we Celebrate the 18th Annual Celebration of Abraham: “An interfaith perspective on the practice of humility in difficult times.”  on January 31, at 3:00 p.m. With the on-going COVID restrictions, this will be a virtual event, held via Zoom webinar beginning with excellent speakers from the three Abrahamic faiths. We are continuing to work on the format, and we will include a moderated panel where participants can ask questions.

Let’s continue the dialogue among our faith communities! To sign up for updates on the planning, email hroland2@gmail.com.

Again thank you to DAIR-LN for providing calm and centering the night before the election,

Helen Roland, President

Celebration of Abraham


Interfaith Prayer for a More Perfect Union, Tomorrow (Monday) at 6:00 p.m.

DAIRAt 6:00 p.m. tomorrow, Monday November 2, Faith leaders from around the Davis area will be offering reflections, music, and readings for our country and our community, live streamed at the Davis Area Interfaith Religious Leaders Network Facebook page: DAIR Leaders Network Facebook Page.

We'll focus on our three themes for election week: Be kind. Be strong. Stay together.


Toward a “More Perfect Union”

Unity mini flier
The signers invite the community to color and paste in their window the above graphic to show solidarity for the democratic process at a community level (click to enlarge).

A Statement on the 2020 Election from the Davis Area Interfaith Religious Leaders Network

 Religious communities promote and protect our democracy

The religious traditions we represent are born of visions and values for human life that inspire our strong advocacy of American democracy. Over the centuries our people have offered creative insights and energies to help our nation move toward “a more perfect union.” We believe that a thriving democracy is essential to ensure that all persons are not only “created equal,” but are treated equally and welcomed to contribute to the creation of a society where “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” are “unalienable rights” for everyone, without exception.

 Our democracy faces many challenges

This fall, many Americans feel anxious about the future of our democracy. Our long tradition of absentee and mail-in voting has been maligned. Foreign powers are maliciously influencing the election. Voters are challenged and often intimidated at the voting booth. And we face the likelihood of an unprecedented delay in receiving the final election results. We are at a critical moment in American history. We feel many things: concern, confusion, helplessness, anger, and reactivity.

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Support our local Religious Leaders Recommendation for Reconsideration of the University Commons project

Community input to the Council majority of Partida, Lee and Carson is needed now

19universitycommons
By Eileen M. Samitz

Many thanks to the Davis religious leaders for the excellent article published August 22 in the Davisite.

This incredible and sincere outreach by so many local religious leaders to the City Council majority is impressive and their recommended action is so needed to be taken by Council majority now.  So everyone’s input to the Council is needed now, to support the recommendation to reconsider approval of the University Commons project, before this Tuesday’s August 25th meeting when the Council is scheduled to finalize approval of the project.

The Davis religious leaders group recommendation for the Council majority is to “take a pause and reconsider their approval votes” and to reject it. This terrible project does not offer any housing that is affordable. So, urging the Council to reconsider its approval is clearly the right thing to do for the sake of the UCD students, as well as the rest of the community needing housing that is affordable. The University Commons “affordable units” are affordable in name only, and it is an insult to even classify them as “affordable” with the rental prices they are projecting.

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Insufficient affordable housing at University Commons

Faith leaders speak out

19universitycommonsAt the Davis City Council Meeting on Tuesday, August 18, a 3-2 vote approved the University Commons Proposal. We, the undersigned faith leaders, express our disappointment at this decision. While we are encouraged by Brixmor's increase from 0% to 5% affordable housing at the 80% median income for Yolo County, we also contend that this is not enough.

While the specific decision regarding the University Commons is the spark to this conversation, the housing crisis in Davis and across our state does not begin and end with this decision.

As faith leaders in the Davis community, we have the opportunity to engage with individuals from many walks of life, ministering with people of diverse economic, racial, generational, and educational backgrounds.

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Local Clergy Comment on Affordable Housing

The owners of the University Mall, the Brixmor Property Group, have applied to the City for permission to demolish the existing shopping center and replace it with a mixed-use project of 264 apartments and 136,000 sq ft ground-floor retail.

We also note that Commissioner Darryl Rutherford has stated that the Commissioners themselves had multiple objections. "I'm a little disappointed in what we're seeing here." He called the proposed affordable housing plan ($600,000 in lieu fees) "an atrocity" and a "slap in the face."

Historically, Davis once had one of the strongest inclusionary housing requirements in the state. That policy intended to create affordable units in every major rental project built in Davis, enabling low-income families to live in Davis, and create the possibility of a robustly diverse community. Many minority households whose members work in Davis are part of the low-income population and these affordable units were often their only entry to living and working in Davis.

However, of the 264 apartments being given permission to be built on the University Mall site in Davis, not one of those 264 units will be set aside as an affordable unit.

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