Saturday, August 19, 2017

Temple Emanu-El is known throughout the San Diego area for its commitment to the tradition of Tikkun Olam (Repairing the world)—demonstrated by its wide-ranging Social Action programs.

Ongoing monthly efforts include serving 600-800 hungry San Diegans at the St. Vincent DePaul Hunger Project and our Mitzvah of the Month collections. Our Bagel Brigade volunteers deliver unsold bagels donated by Einstein Brother's to Rachel's Women's Center. Temple members also reach out to the community by making and distributing blankets for the Linus Project, participating in the annual Stand Down for homeless veterans, marching in the Pride Parade, and clipping coupons for the Navy Marine Relief Society.  We also have an annual food drive during the High Holy Days for Jewish Family Service, Rancho Coastal Humane Society, and other organizations.

Temple Emanu-El was twice awarded the prestigious Irving Fain Award from the Union for Reform Judaism. Our Social Action Committee was honored for the wide array of social action opportunities that are provided to the congregation, ranging from direct service to advocacy, and once specifically for our work with the Interfaith Shelter Network.

For more information about Temple Emanu-El's Social Action activities, please contact Lee Loventhal at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

By getting involved in Temple Emanu-El's Social Action projects, you can make an important difference in our community. Please contact those listed for each project to participate, or send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  Social Action Committee meetings are held at 6:30 pm on the first Thursday of each month at the Temple.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service
January 15, 2018
People of different faiths and different cultural backgrounds come toghether on this day to work for the good of the San Diego community.  This year, we will work to clean up and beautify Balboa Park  All ages and skill levels are welcome.  Make this a "day on"  rather than a "day off" to honor Dr. King's work.  For information or to sign up, contact Lee Loventhal at (858) 384-6847 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Hunger Project at St. Vincent de Paul
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1st Sunday of the month, 8:30 am–11:30 am

Help serve 600–800 hungry San Diegans at St. Vincent De Paul. (Children 12 and older are also welcome to serve with an accompanying parent). Contact Debbi Krass at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (619) 807-5435.

Bagel Brigade
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Every Wednesday afternoon
Einstein Brothers Bagels on Lake Murray and Navajo donates their unsold bagels when the store closes at 5:00 pm. Our job is to transport those bagels to Rachel’s Women’s Center, an emergency shelter downtown for women and children. To become a member of the Bagel Brigade (your turn will come every 3 – 4 months) or try it once, please contact project chair Lara Shumer at (619) 944-8547 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Monarch School
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Founded in 1988, the Monarch School and its committed team of teachers, administrators and volunteers is dedicated to providing homeless and at-risk children with an accredited education while caring for their basic needs. Today, more than 300 kids between the ages of 4 and 19 are enrolled at Monarch School. They have an exceptionally successful program that serves those in our San Diego community most in need. Temple Emanu-El’s Social Action Committee is organizing different ways in which we can help the Monarch School, including toiletries collection, dinners and tutoring. (See the Tutoring section under Community Projects. For more information on our involvement in any of them, please contact the person listed in each section, or overall project chair Bill Seager at (619) 435-8130 or email him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

• Toiletries Collection
Monarch School uses around 170 toiletry “care packages” for their students each month. We will be collecting regular size items, not jumbo or trial, and assembling the care packages for the school to distribute. The only items needed are body wash (or soap), shampoo & conditioner, toothpaste, body lotion/moisturizer, women's deodorant and hair gel, men's deodorant and hair gel. Place your toiletries in the barrel in the front office lobby of the Temple, marked for Monarch School, and the Social Action Committee will package and deliver them.  As of June 2017 we have donated 732 toiletry kits for the students.

• Dinners
A group from the Temple will provide dinner for students and parents several times a year. Each of our dinner volunteers will work from the same basic menu, which will include a main dish, vegetable, salad, drinks and dessert. For more information, please contact Barbara Pollack at (619) 224-3087, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  Volunteers will provide dinner, working from the same basic menu.

aidswalk2012 AIDS Walk 
Late September each year
AIDS Walk San Diego is the largest HIV/AIDS fundraiser and the biggest non-governmental financial provider for HIV/AIDS in San Diego County.  Dozens of local organizations rely on funds raised at the annual 5K walk and 10K run to help provide essential prevention and care programs to thousands of men, women and children living with HIV/AIDS. For questions, please contact Ron Reff at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call (619) 224-3087.

High Holy Day Food Drive
Our annual Yom Kippur food drive benefits Jewish Family Service's Hand Up Food Pantry. In 2015, we collected 9,350 pounds of food which includes food which went to JFS Hand Up Food Pantry, pet food for Rancho Coastal Humane Society and toiletries.  A new record for us!.

Social Action Fund Donations
Money contributed to the Social Action Fund supports carefully screened organizations and projects in America, Israel and around the world.  Contributions to the Social Action Hunger Project Fund directly support this project at St. Vincent de Paul.


Project Linus
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At some point in life, everyone needs a blanket to hold. The Linus Project distributes blankets to children in stressful situations at 28 hospitals and agencies throughout San Diego County. The pattern is up to you, but the blankets must be hand made in washable, child friendly colors. Blankets may be knitted, crocheted or quilted, or you may make an easy "no sew" fleece blanket. For patterns and additional information about the project, please visit www.projectlinus.org or contact Sheila Orysiek at (619) 465-6028 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Drop finished blankets at the Temple office, clearly marked for the Linus Project, and we will see that they are delivered.

Stand Down for Homeless Veterans
Mid-July each year
Veterans Village of San Diego hosts this event, held in downtown San Diego. This year approximately 1,000 homeless veterans are expected with 20% of them women. Please visit www.vvsd.net/standdown for more information or contact Lee Loventhal at (858) 384-6847or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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San Diego LG BT Pride Parade
Mid July each year
Every year, Temple Emanu-El has a contingent marching in the LGBT Pride Parade in support of those with alternative lifestyles.  In 1998, ours was the first Jewish congregation to participate in the parade. We have marched every year since then, and it is truly an uplifting, exhilarating and positive experience.  The parade officially begins at 11 am at University Avenue and Normal Street and continues for just over one mile. Parking around the parade route can be difficult, but there are free shuttle buses from the Old Naval Hospital on Park Blvd. and President’s Way beginning at 8 am. We have an extremely limited number of riding spaces for the parade. To reserve one, or for any other questions, please contact Barbara Pollack at (619) 224-3087 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Lara Shumer at (619) 944-8547 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  Our participation in the parade is important, because it shows San Diego that Temple Emanu-El is a supportive and safe community for all Jews in the San Diego area.

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Thanksgiving Dinner at San Diego Center for the Blind
Mid-November each year
Temple members team up with the Hillcrest-Mission Valley Lion's Club to serve a pre-Thanksgiving dinner to 240 sight impaired members of the Center. Contact Lee Loventhal at (858) 384-6847 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Mitzvah of the Month
Each month, the Social Action Committee picks a project to bring to our community's attention.  This project will be highlighted on the home page of this web site, in Ha-Sofer, the monthly bulletin, in the Shofar email blasts and in other publicity.

Community Projects
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Harvest Crops
is a local non-profit organization which provides volunteers to pick fruit from residential trees which have produced an overabundance.  The fruit is delivered to low income families and seniors in San Diego County.

Projects are scheduled for mornings during the year, normally on weekends. We meet in Lemon Grove and leave as a group. Long handled pickers and buckets are provided; no ladders will be used. Bring your own gardening gloves and your energy. Children are welcome if accompanied by a parent.
For more information, please see their website, http://www.harvestcrops.org/

Senior Gleaners, founded in 1994, gathers leftover food from grocery stores and orchards and distributes them through carefully screened charitable organizations in San Diego County. Last year, over 390,000 pounds of food reached people in need. This non-profit group has no paid staff, and no food is purchased. Money collected through donations or grants are used solely to help with rent for the warehouse and upkeep on vans to pick up food. Volunteers, age 55 and up, are needed to help with gathering food from the stores and picking in orchards.
To pick up day-old food from grocery stores and deliver to the Senior Gleaners warehouse, call (619) 209-1839. To help with picking in orchards, call Donna Wiens at (760) 432-0772.

Coupon Mitzvah Project
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Many of our military families struggle to feed their families. There is an easy, low-cost way that you can help them stretch their food budgets. Clip unexpired newspaper coupons (please be sure they have at least 30 days to use the coupons) and mail them directly to:
Navy Marine Corps Relief Society
MCAS Miramar, P.O. Box 45339
San Diego, CA 92145-0339
You may write "From Temple Emanu-El" on the envelope flap, enclose a note "from your friends at Temple Emanu-El," or send anonymously if you prefer.

Tutors Needed in San Diego
Tutors are needed at a variety of programs in San Diego. Work with children, adults and families on literacy, math, general school work and preparation for citizenship. No experience is necessary, but most programs require a background check and provide an orientation session. Please contact the organization directly for more information.

Monarch School
Tutors are needed in all areas. No special skills are needed, but tutors need to attend a one-hour orientation session and commit to a weekly tutoring schedule. To participate in their tutoring program, please contact Monarch’s volunteer coordinator Allie Peterson at (619) 652-4100 ext. 1570 or email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

READ San Diego Adult Literacy
Free literary instruction for adults 18 years and older is available through the San Diego Public Library.  For more information, call (619) 238-6603 or see the library website at http://www.sandiego.gov/public-library/services/adulteducation/read/index.shtml.

International Rescue Committee
Tutors at the IRC work with both adults and children. High school students as well as adults are encouraged to apply as tutors in this program. For more information on their programs, call (619) 641-7510 or visit their website, www.theIRC.org/sandiego.

San Diego Council on Literacy

This umbrella agency works with 24 affiliated literacy programs in San Diego to help children and adults, and also provides ESL (English as a Second Language) learning. Call their literacy hotline at (888) 850-7323, their local office at (619) 574-1641, or visit their website, www.literacysandiego.org.

Oasis Intergenerational Tutoring Program

Oasis matches adult tutors with children in grades K–4. Contact Kathryn Gray, Tutoring Coordinator, at (619) 269-8014 or visit their website, www.oasisnet.org.

SAY San Diego
(Social Advocates for Youth)
SAY tutors work with elementary and middle school students after school with reading, writing, math, crafts and other activities. Contact them at (858) 565-4148 ext. 261, or visit their website, www.saysandiego.org.

Words Alive
Two very different programs can use volunteers. Read-Aloud focuses on Preschool - grade 3 in low income communities across the county to develop a love of reading and literature. Teen Services Book Group works with the Juvenile Court and Community Schools to prepare at-risk teens for college and career readiness. Monthly book discussions improve reading levels, vocabulary, literary analysis and critical thinking.  For more information, see their website at wordsalive.org or contact volunteer coordinator Christina Meeker at (858) 274-9673 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Embrace the Streets
Each Wednesday and Thursday, exactly 20 volunteers are needed to serve dinner to homeless people downtown from 6-7 pm.  Food is provided, though donations of clothes, blankets or toiletries are welcome when you come.  Sign up directly with the organization, www.Embrace1.org.


Links to other Social Action Sites
Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism (RAC)     http://www.rac.org
Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life (COEJL)     http://www.coejl.org
Association of Reform Zionists of America ARZA/WORLD UNION     http://www.arza.org
Mazon: A Jewish Response to Hunger     http://www.mazon.org
The Hunger Site (donate free food)     http://www.thehungersite.com
Israel Religious Action Center     http://www.irac.org
North American Conference on Ethiopian Jewry (NACOEJ)     http://www.nacoej.org
St. Vincent de Paul Village     http://www.svdpv.org
Stand Down for Homeless Veterans     http://www.nchv.org/standdown.cfm
Being Alive San Diego (HIV/AIDS Resources)     http://www.beingalive.org
Jewish Family Service of San Diego     http://www.jewishfamilyservicesd.org
Americans United for Separation of Church and State     http://www.au.org
Nothing But Nets     http://www.nothingbutnets.net/

Please forward any suggestions for additions to this list to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.