The Social Action Committee brings programs and concerns of a political, religious, ethical and moral nature to the Temple. We try to aid in improving the quality of human life by providing opportunities for our membership to perform the mitzvah of "Tikkun Olam" or Repairing the World.
Our congregation has strong roots in speaking up, standing up and for taking action on injustices in our world. We have welcomed passionate and socially active speakers, ranging from Newark Mayor Cory Booker and Maria Sliwa--who talked about the difficulties facing people in Darfur--to Rabbi Israel "Sy" Dresner, one of the original "Freedom Riders" of the 1960's and a friend of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Some of the projects we have sponsored are Hospitality Week, where we house homeless families at the Temple, a bi-monthly Soup Kitchen in Elizabeth, where we cook and serve food to several hundred people, and a Business Suit Donation Program. We are an affiliate with the organization BRIDGES, a group that seeks to bring the housed and homeless together in friendship and community. Through our connection with BRIDGES, we provide lunch for 250 people during the cold winter months.
New members are always welcome to join in any of these activities. Many projects are appropriate for families of all ages. At Temple Sha'arey Shalom, everyone can do a little bit toward "Repairing the World."
While we are always working to provide new social action opportunities, below are a list of some highlights. For more information about getting involved, please feel free to call the Temple office.
Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism
For more than 60 years, the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism has been the hub of Jewish social justice and legislative activity in Washington, D.C. We have helped activate the Jewish community in the key debates and mobilizations of each generation since our founding, from the civil rights movement to immigration reform.
Visit the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism Website
BRIDGES - Lunch Making & Delivery
During the year, our congregation partners as an "affiliate" with BRIDGES, a community outreach organization in Summit. BRIDGES helps over 700 homeless and sheltered people in Newark, Irvington and NYC. Through our connection with BRIDGES, we provide lunch during the cold winter months. Our Temple participates by making lunches and participating in delivery "runs".
This is a great opportunity for our Temple members to help other less fortunate, and is especially appropriate for families with young children.
Elizabeth Soup Kitchen
On the second Saturday morning of every other month, our congregation serves a hot lunch at a soup kitchen in Elizabeth. We have a small group of congregants who help serve lunch, and we are always looking for new participants who are over the age of 10.
In the weeks prior to each soup kitchen day, several Temple members cook and donate the food to be served that day. Cooking at home for the soup kitchen is a great activity for families with young children.
Please contact Ellen Cohen (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you would like to participate, either by cooking at home or serving the meal on Saturday.
Rebuilding Lives of Israel's Terror Victims
Rabbi Emeritus Josh Goldstein traveled to Israel on a winter sabbatical, in part, to make connections between Sha'arey Shalom and our Jewish homeland. Through his lead, we have developed a partnership with Kehillat Ra'anan, promoted the Alexander Mass High School in Israel program, and made the plight of Gilad Schalit tangible through the placement of an empty Bimah chair in his honor (which was removed once Gilad was safely reunited with his family in October of 2011). The rabbi met with victims of terrorism and their families, through "One Family Fund", offering both emotional and financial support. We engaged in a fund-raising effort, as well as developed personal relationships, to show Sha'arey Shalom's support and love for an Israeli family victimized by terror.
High Holiday Hunger Project
Fill up a grocery bag with non perishable food and bring it to the Temple between Rosh Ha'shanah and Yom Kippur, and we will have it donated to shelters and local Food Banks.
Partnering With Kehillat Ra'anan
Kehillat Ra'anan is a liberal Israeli Jewish community with whom we have established a close relationship. Both Rabbi Emeritus Goldstein and Rabbi Tamar Kolberg have visited each other's congregations in the past.
Family Promise is an interfaith non-profit organization committed to helping low-income families nationwide achieve lasting independence.We help families in our area, accomplish this, by providing shelter, meals, and support services for homeless families . Temple Sha'arey Shalom is part of the interfaith hospitality network that undertakes this task . We are a support congregation to those congregations who are able to house the homeless. We provide dinners and socialization with the guests. This is one way, we here at Sha'arey Shalom help repair the world