The Shir Hayam mission statement affirms that our community stands on three principles – the nurturing of Jewish spirituality and observance, the importance of learning, and the responsibility of Tikkun Olam (social action).
We welcome the opportunity to take action in response to our member’s suggestions and become involved in endeavors both close to home and around the world in support of our social action mission.
5% of Shir Hayam’s annual membership dues goes to the Tikkun Olam fund. Following careful research, we have supported and continue to support organizations as diverse as Doctors Without Borders, American Jewish World Service, Bainbridge Island Helpline, Mazon, Oxfam, The Jewish Fund for Justice, Jewish Foundation for the Righteous, The Jewish Coalition for Disaster Relief and many others.
We also respond to emergencies, like the Asian Tsunami and Hurricane Katrina, with additional fund-raising. For Hurricane Katrina relief we sent our donation to the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank, an organization based in Baton Rouge that is facing an overwhelming increase of those in need.
In response to a request by a Shir Hayam member who is currently working and studying in Bolivia, we are supporting a young Bolivian girl’s high school education.
On an on going basis we take part in the monthly Super Supper project supported by the Bainbridge Island Interfaith Council. This program provides a meal to any member of the community who would like to attend. Several island faith groups take part in cooking and serving these suppers on the last 5 working days of each month.
In 2003 Shir Hayam signed on to participate in the WSDOT “Adopt-a-Highway” Program, adopting the northerly 1.8 miles of Highway 305 on Bainbridge Island. Three times per year we organize work parties to pick up trash along this busy but beautiful stretch of highway.
Long before organized Earth Day activities came to Bainbridge Island, Shir Hayam began participating in Earth Day activities in Seattle. Earth Day participation is one of our longest running commitments. Among many other projects, we have pulled weeds at Gazzam Lake, built trails in the Grand Forest, and pulled ivy at Pritchard Park and Islandwood.
Passing These Values to Our Children
The children and young adults of Shir Hayam actively engage in efforts to make the world a better place. Recently they held a bake sale to raise money for Furrytale Farm, a place where abused and abandoned animals can learn to trust again and have a second chance at happily ever after. Following the bake sale, the energetic youngsters volunteered at the farm to clean stalls and take care of the animals. Volunteering on a weekly basis at Furrytail Farm has become a favorite project for many of our B’nai Mitzvah students.
In 2005, Shir Hayam’s Roots and Shoots group toured the Boundy Farm right here on Bainbridge Island to learn about salmon habitat. Following the tour, they set to work planting native plants in hopes of providing the necessary shade to keep the stream cool in the summer months and invite salmon to return and spawn.