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Upcoming Events

June 9, 2024 at 9:30 AM  Social Action Committee Meeting

September 15, 2024 at 3:00 PM Social Action Committee "Resetting the Table"

October 27, 2024 at 3:00 PM Social Action Committee "Resetting the Table Part 2"

Join our Committee!
socialaction@tsinai.org
"Justice, Justice, shall you pursue."
- Deuteronomy 16:20

Grounded in Jewish texts and rooted in Jewish values, the Social Action Committee of Temple Sinai strives to be the catalyst for our Temple community to pursue the Jewish value of Tikkun Olam, Repairing the World. Through education, community partnerships, advocacy, and action, we can build a Temple community responsive to inequities and injustices in Rochester, the nation, and the world.

It is not your responsibility to finish the work of perfecting the world, but you are not free to desist from it either. —Rabbi Tarfon, Pirke Avot 2:21

act now
Reclaim Our Vote

ORDER YOUR POSTCARDS NOW!

Visit the RAC website for more information!

These dates and states are subject to change depending on the availability of addresses. We will communicate any changes to the schedule as they arise. Stay tuned for future states!

Before ordering postcards or attending a Postcard Party, please email us at office@tsinai.org to receive an instructional video on the postcarding process!

Voter Registration Quiz

  1. Are you registered to vote?
  2.  Have you moved recently and need to re-register?
  3. Do you have college-aged children who need to register in their college state or request an absentee ballot for voting here?
  4. Do you have a high school-aged child who will be 18 by the next election, and can register now for the future?

Contact Judy Schwartz: at 585.442.5111 or email her at judyschwartz179@gmail.comRegister Online Here!

Help Others Register to Vote through the Rochester Voter Alliance

The Rochester Voter Alliance (RVA), a non-partisan group of volunteers headed by our own Judy Schwartz, can help you, our congregants if you answered YES to any of these questions. RVA ‘s main focus is in areas of the city where people may not even think about or know how to register to vote. Many are unaware of their rights and their eligibility to vote. The RVA registers people in places like the Public Market, Jordan Health Center, Mercantile on Main downtown, Highland Family Medicine, Cameron Community Ministries, and Wilson Commencement Park. RVA always welcomes returning and new volunteers who work in pairs for a 2-hour shift.

Registering begins July 15 and ends October 8, with a training session on June 18.

Please contact Judy to sign up by calling 585.442.5111 or emailing her at  judyschwartz179@gmail.com. Sign up for as many shifts as you wish over the summer. The more, the merrier!

Sign-up will be available at the RVA website as of June 1, 2024: Rochester Voter Alliance

connect

Much of the work of our large and vibrant Social Action Committee is carried out through working groups. These working groups are open to the congregation at large, and designed to enable our members to focus their work around their interests, experiences and passions. While our current working groups are focused on the areas below, congregants are encouraged to take the lead on creating new working groups to address additional social justice issues.

 

Reclaim Democracy

In 2021, out of increasing concern for the trajectory of our precious democracy, a subcommittee was formed to address the threats to our democracy. In 2022 we developed a Speaker Series on Threats to Democracy and were blessed to learn from eminent national figures, David Cay Johnston, Cherie Brown, Robert Lieberman, Jennifer Leonard, and Simeon Bannister. Over the past 2 years, the Democracy subcommittee has turned their focus from Learning to Action. We have joined together with our Voting Rights Advocacy subcommittee to register voters in the city of Rochester and have supported the Religious Action Center-endorsed non-partisan work of Common Ground’s postcard writing campaign encouraging voter participation and providing information re: voter registration and early voting. Postcards are mailed to minorities in states where voter suppression is of increasing concern. Currently we are in the process of planning an event for this September to address the harms of political toxic polarization using a mediation methodology developed by Resetting the Table to help participants discuss contentious issues. The Democracy subcommittee welcomes new members and new voices.  Contact Sandra Mitzner for more information.

Voting Rights and Advocacy

Currently we work in collaboration with the Rochester Voter Alliance (see above), and also doing postcarding (see above). Recently the working group presented a history of voting, along with its Jewish background, to high school students at Temple Sinai, and also helped those 16 years and above register to vote. This working group will offer a similar presentation to incoming college students during the summer.  Contact Judy Schwartz for more information.

Immigrant/Afghan Resettlement Support

Sinai members volunteer to teach English, welcome newly arrived families, host a donation drive, help a family member with job networking, and provide a ride to a doctor's appointment.  Some of the organizations we work with are: Keeping Our Promise(resettlement of Afghan refugees), Saint’s Place (offers clothing and housing setups to refugees), Refugees Helping Refugees(volunteer to teach English, share a special skill, teach yoga, exercise, mindfulness or computer skills) and Catholic Charities Family & Community Services. Contact Sharon Silvio or Jill Stanger for more information.

LGBTQIA+/Pride Parade

Temple Sinai is proud to participate in the Rochester Pride Parade every year in July. The working group also honors the LGBTQIA+ community with a yearly Pride Shabbat service. The social action committee is one of the few religious communities sponsoring the ImageOut Film Festival this year.  Thanks to the creative team of Susan Stanger and Roy Berns, our special logo will be displayed during this year’s series. Contact Judy Schwartz for more information about the film festival, and Susan Stanger for information about the Shabbat service and Pride parade.

Reproductive Rights

Building upon our successful half-day symposium in October 2022, “Navigating our Post Roe World: Developing a Jewish Response,” SAC prioritizes reproductive justice work. Our work this year has included a powerful Repro Shabbat service featuring Temple member Dr. Kate Greenberg, an adolescent medicine physician working in family planning and gender-affirming healthcare; two “Repro Care Kit Assembly Sessions” to support people seeking abortions in New York; and a postcard writing session for teens and their parents (in Kesher and Confirmation classes) to support RAC Ohio. We are currently gearing up to advocate for the NY ERA Amendment on the November 2024 ballot. Contact Leslie Newman to get involved!

Makers Not Takers Club

Experience the satisfaction of creating something with your hands in an inter-generational environment! Learn a new skill, practice it in a community of like-minded people, and help folks who need your contributions – all at the same time! Help us launch the "Makers Not Takers". Together we will identify a project that fulfills a community need. To that end we'll create handmade items – sewn, knitted, crocheted, or otherwise constructed.  Instructors will assist members in completing their work - taking pressure off and building confidence along with skills! 

Fun, satisfying, and worthwhile – let's literally MAKE a difference in the world! Contact Jane Beck for further information.

Abundance Bridge- Addressing Food Insecurity

In the past few years, Sinai members have noticed the abundance of leftover food from Temple events and dinners and donated them individually. Now, it is time for us to organize our efforts!

We have partnered with the YWCA of Rochester & Monroe County to simplify the process and give as much excess food to hungry people as possible. Every weekend that Temple Sinai has food to share, the leftover food will be put in the refrigerator on a shelf labeled “YWCA”. A volunteer then calls the YWCA to give them a heads-up before driving the food to the agreed location. Volunteers are needed to transport the food to the YWCA. You can sign up for one weekend or more. Full instructions are available once you register to assist.

Even if you can’t drive, you can help during Temple events by spreading the word and reminding the hosts of the shelf in the fridge. Together we can take a small step towards tackling food scarcity and acknowledging our food waste footprint. Contact Laura Chekow for more information or use our Sign-Up Portal!

 

Prior and Potential Working Groups

- Environmental Justice and Climate Advocacy

- Food Insecurity

- Interfaith Partnerships

- Anti-Racism Initiative

- Through an Indigenous Lens

- Affordable Housing

- Healthcare Disparities

- Gun Violence

learn

Current Affiliations

RAC-NY | Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism

Many of our initiatives are coordinated with the Religious Action Center for Reform Judaism at both the state and national levels.

Current Support

The Social Action Committee has invested in these community groups/organizations:

Freedom Scholars Learning Center image ImageOut Logo

 

Past Programs

Mon, June 17 2024 11 Sivan 5784