Advocacy Committee

Advocacy LogoThe Advocacy Committee evolved out of the urgency we feel to make a difference on issues like homelessness and immigration. In addition to the amazing direct-service work our Temple is already doing, we want to impact public policy and legislation. We’ve heard from many of you that you feel the same way, and we hope you’ll get involved!

Fortunately, we have a great model to follow, from the national Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism. As part of a nonprofit organization, its work is completely nonpartisan.

We are currently building a steering committee and plan to focus on 2 – 4 issues a year via education—looking at a range of Jewish voices on complex issues—and specific opportunities for action. We’ve brainstormed a list of issues we care passionately about, including immigration, voter engagement, the environment, housing/homelessness, access to health care, and gun safety.

Please contact Janice and Barbara at advocacy@teesd.org if you’d like to get involved.


Dear Temple Emanu-El Family,

In a time of our nation’s life where we feel we are watching history unfold around us, in a time where we are often overwhelmed by the constant stream of often frightening headlines, it’s very easy to feel small. It’s very easy to feel like we are watching history happen ‘to’ us.

Don’t let the world ever make you feel like your voice is too small to make a difference. We have opportunities to make real, significant, positive changes in our community every day.

As we grieved over the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer, we looked for ways to be allies to San Diego’s Black community. Rabbi Devorah and the Advocacy Committee co-chairs have begun a substantive conversation with a leader of San Diegans for Justice https://www.sandiegansforjustice.com. We want to make you aware of their efforts to create a community-led Commission on Police Practices for the City of San Diego. This commission will be responsible for investigating reports of police misconduct and will be created in such a way that its legal powers cannot be interfered with by the parties it’s investigating.

It’s our belief that reforms like the ones below will not only protect citizens from being victims of bad policing but will also benefit the many police officers who do their jobs with professionalism and dedication to public safety.

As described on the homepage of the San Diegans for Justice website, the new commission will:

  • Conduct independent investigations into complaints of police misconduct that San Diegans can trust.
  • Require independent legal counsel with NO conflicts.
  • Subpoena law enforcement and non-law enforcement witnesses and their records as part of any investigation.
  • Investigate cases like domestic violence by law enforcement.
  • Require evaluation of SDPD’s compliance with Federal, State, and Local reporting laws and requirements.
  • Create a fair and balanced commission.

The San Diego City Council is voting on adding the independent police commission to the November ballot on June 23rd. We urge you to visit the SDJ site to learn more, and to use their “Email your Councilmember” link—or telephone—to urge your Council member to vote in favor of adding the independent police commission to the November ballot. (When you click on the link, you’ll see a sample letter that you can use.)

We are not passive observers of history. We create history every day in the things we do, the times we act, as well as the times we choose to sit still. In the fight to protect our Black and other minority communities from harm, do not be a silent observer. Speak up, and let your voice be heard. If you’re not quite sure what to say, please reach out to your Advocacy Committee  at advocacy@teesd.org and we will be glad to help you get in touch with the people who represent you.

Here, fighting beside you for the safety of our community,

Your TEESD Advocacy Committee


A Message to Our TEESD Community About Gun Violence Prevention

According to this article from the LA Times, gun sales are spiking in the United States in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We understand that these are challenging times for all Americans, many of whom feel a firearm is a necessary purchase to protect themselves and their families.

We at the TEESD Advocacy Committee thought this would be a good opportunity to remind the community of the importance of exercising safe firearm storage and use.

While a firearm can offer some a sense of security, to purchase a deadly weapon is to take on a tremendous responsibility for the safety of all those who could potentially access it. This article from KBPS quotes The San Diego City Attorney’s Office “[urging] families with guns in the home to practice proper firearm safety while self-quarantining to keep the weapons out of the hands of children.”

In the article, KPBS speaks to City Attorney Mara Elliott’s office who says,

“When you have guns and children in the home and do not practice safe storage, you are increasing the risk that someone will be accidentally shot,” Elliott said. “Children are very resourceful when it comes to locating things their parents thought they’d never find. When they find a gun, it often leads to tragedy.”

The city’s Safe Storage of Firearms Ordinance, which was authored by Elliott and went into effect last year, requires San Diego gun owners to store firearms in a locked container or to secure guns with a trigger lock unless they are in the immediate control of an authorized user.”

According to The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, every day in the United States eight children and teens are shot in instances of family fire — a shooting involving an improperly stored or misused gun found in the home resulting in injury or death.

The California Office of the Attorney General offers a number of tips for storing your firearms safely.

  • Always store your firearm unloaded.
  • Use a firearms safety device AND store the firearm in a locked container.
  • Store the ammunition separately in a locked container.
  • Always storing your firearm securely is the best method of childproofing your firearm; however, your choice of a storage place can add another element of safety. Carefully choose the storage place in your home especially if children may be around.
  • Do not store your firearm where it is visible.
  • Do not store your firearm in a bedside table, under your mattress or pillow, or on a closet shelf.
  • Do not store your firearm among your valuables (such as jewelry or cameras) unless it is locked in a secure container.
  • Consider storing firearms not possessed for self-defense in a safe and secure manner away from the home.

The San Diego Police Department has offered the phone number to the SDPD Pistol Range [(619) 527-6070] as a resource for answers to any questions about gun safety. If you have any questions about whether a firearm in your home is stored safely, we strongly encourage you to reach out to them or another source of gun safety expertise for clarification.

Thank you for taking the time to read up on gun violence prevention, and for doing your part to keep make your family safer in your home, your home safer in your community, and your community safer in a country where gun violence does not have to be such a routine occurrence.


Our Advocacy Committee will be talking a lot about the “how” of impacting policy and legislation, and we’ll be choosing some specific issues to address as a congregation. But, whatever issue you’re passionate about, we want to help you make a difference. The first step is determining who you’re going to contact.

We all share the same two US Senators.  Here is the contact information for their San Diego offices:

Senator Diane Feinstein:
880 Front Street, Suite 4236, San Diego, CA 92101
Phone: (619) 231-9712

Senator Kamala Harris:
600 B Street, Suite 2240, San Diego, CA 92101
Phone: (619) 239 – 3884

City of San Diego: https://www.sandiego.gov/citycouncil

City of La Mesa:  http://www.cityoflamesa.com/Directory.aspx?did=11

City of El Cajon: https://www.cityofelcajon.us/your-government/city-council/city-council-contacts

San Diego County: https://www.sandiegocounty.gov/general/bos.html

California State Legislators (Assembly & Senate):  http://www.legislature.ca.gov/legislators_and_districts/legislators/your_legislator.html

US House of Representatives: https://www.house.gov/representatives/find-your-representative

There are many wonderful resources for learning about the issues and we will be sharing those as we delve into the world of advocacy.  One of the best comes from our own Jewish movement it is the California Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism:

https://rac.org/california-religious-action-center-reform-judaism

We hope you will use these resources to educate yourself and determine who your elected officials are. To contact us, please email advocacy@teesd.org. Let it be the first step in joining us in making our voices heard.

Back to top