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Congregation Beth Yam to Receive Prestigious Award for Hunger and Homeless Coalition

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, SC, March [Date], 2011 — Congregation Beth Yam will receive the Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism’s coveted Irving J. Fain Award for Outstanding Synagogue Social Action Programming, one of the highest honors available to congregations within the Reform Jewish Movement. Winners of the Fain Award have been chosen from a pool of more than 900 synagogues and exemplify the passion for social justice that is the hallmark of Reform Judaism.

Congregation Beth Yam receives this award for its Hunger and Homeless Coalition, an interfaith network of local synagogues and churches to feed the hungry and provide shelter to the homeless. The coalition has implemented several local programs to meet the needs of the local community, including Backpack Buddies, a soup kitchen and the creation of a directory of social service resources.

“Social justice is such an essential component to our Movement,” said Dr. Cheryl Gutmann, Chair of the Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism. “As Reform Jews, we are commanded to be God’s partners in standing up for the voiceless and fixing what is broken in our society. The winners of the Irving J. Fain Award for Outstanding Synagogue Social Action Programing justly embody what it means to profoundly pursue tikkun olam – repairing the world. Their innovation in the pursuit of justice is truly inspiring.”

Established in 1983, the Fain Awards recognize Irving J. Fain, a dedicated member of the Commission on Social Action who served as Chair for a decade and is considered a social justice icon in the Reform Movement. The award is given biennially to select congregations that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to social justice in their social action programming.

The Fain Awards will be presented during the Religious Action Center’s Consultation on Conscience, May 1 – 3, 2011, the Reform Movement’s flagship social justice conference. Each synagogue’s award-winning program will be depicted in a booklet that will be disseminated widely to provide examples of best practices. They also will be available on the Religious Action Center’s online program bank at www.rac.org.

The Commission on Social Action is a joint instrumentality of the Central Conference of American Rabbis and the Union for Reform Judaism and its affiliates. The Commission oversees the work of the Religious Action Center.