Social Action/Justice is a core value in Reform congregations. This statement from the URJ drives Temple Har Zion’s Social Action spirit:
“Reform Jews are committed to social justice. Even as Reform Jews embrace ritual, prayer, and ceremony more than ever, we continue to see social justice as the jewel in the Reform Jewish crown. Like the prophets, we never forget that God is concerned about the everyday and that the blights of society take precedence over the mysteries of heaven. A Reform synagogue that does not alleviate the anguish of the suffering is a contradiction in terms.”
–Rabbi Eric Yoffie, speech to the URJ Executive Committee, February 1998 (Union for Reform Judaism)
Temple Har Zion has a long commitment to helping the larger community. From easing the plight of Jews throughout the world to helping the poor and disenfranchised in our midst,
Over the years this committee has raised funds for Ethiopian Jews through the Million Quarter Project and established the MOSAIC INTERFAITH Out of the Cold Program which won an Irving J. Fain Social Action Award. From simple things like collecting milk bags to be converted into sleeping mats for the homeless in Haiti, and pop tabs to help Variety village repair and purchase wheelchairs to more complex projects such as raising awareness of First Nations issues and working with the Canadian Council for Reform Judaism’s National Social Action Committee to bring a resolution to the next Biennial.
Our Social Action Committee partners with MOSAIC INTERFAITH to offer educational programs and a yearly Peace Meal along with a new series of programs entitled From Abraham 3 Faiths.
Through its partnership with the Bayview Corridor of Synagogues (www.bayviewcorridor.org) it has offered our congregation the opportunity to participate in Mitzvah Day’s and Habitat for Humanity builds as well as educate the community on First Nations issues and collect books and sports equipment for some of our northern First Nations communities.
To become involved in this worthwhile committee please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Out of the Cold
Our Out-of-The Cold Program has just completed its 14th successful year of service. For 8 Wednesdays each year, an army of volunteers from Temple Har Zion, as well as other caring people in the community, warmly welcome homeless and socially isolated people as guests to our synagogue for a hot meal and a safe place to spend the night.
Our guests are given the opportunity to be seen by a nurse, as well as choose clothing and toiletries as needed. Many guests enjoy playing bingo and winning prizes after dinner, and our guests who stay overnight enjoy the opportunity to watch a movie before going to bed and are sent on their way with breakfast and a bagged lunch.
Our Out of the Cold program is known as one of the best Out of the Cold locations in the city and provides our guests with a much needed mental and physical break from the difficult realities of life that they face. Our program is the huge success that it is because of the large number of volunteers who help out “behind the scenes” and on the days the guests come, as well as the love, caring and respect the volunteers show to all of the guests.
As our program usually runs from mid- November through mid-January each year, we begin “gearing up” by mid-October. If you would like to be involved in this most worthwhile program, please check this space for our regular updates and the various volunteer opportunities this program programs