Advocacy Committee

Advocacy Committee

The 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.

The steering committee chooses 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 Barbara Learner and Janice Steinberg at if you’d like to get involved.

Advocacy Committee 5-Minute Action

Below is a link that Temple members may use to ask Congress to increase funding for The Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP) to $360 million. The NSGP provides nonprofits, including religious institutions such as Temple Emanu-El, with the capacity to increase our defenses against threats such as the one that took place at Colleyville, Texas, including physical security and cybersecurity capacity and coordination. A significant increase in funding is sorely needed at this time of increased vulnerability to threats of hate-motivated violence.  It takes less than a minute to voice your support by clicking on this link:

Safe Gun Storage

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:

City of La Mesa:

City of El Cajon:

San Diego County:

California State Legislators (Assembly & Senate):

US House of Representatives:

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:

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

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