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Social Action Programs - Details

The Social Action activities below are organized in these broad categories (click to jump to section):


Rosh Hashanah Projects:

Annual Food Delivery
TI members participate in the annual food package delivery to less fortunate members of the Jewish community, run by the Jewish Social Service Agency, typically on the Sunday prior to Rosh Hashanah. 
To volunteer, contact 
Larry Baizer or Gene Herman.

“Empty Your Pocket” Donations
The worthy recipient for 2020 was the Emory Beacon of Light food pantry and homeless shelter, which serves meals to needy families in Ward Four (where TI is located).  Donations are still being accepted, and will help Emory provide food assistance to upwards of 1,600 recipients per week. 
here to donate.
-->Questions? Contact
Gene Herman.

Food Drive for the Capital Kosher Pantry, a Project of Yad Yehuda
In September 2020, TI joined with nine other Jewish community organizations in this special kosher food drive.
Note: Capital Kosher Pantry food and supplies are available to any TI member in need; home delivery can be arranged.

Long-Term Ward 4 Neighborhood Project:

Ward 4 Mutual Aid
Ward 4 Mutual Aid (W4MA) was formed in spring 2020 to support neighbors during the coronavirus pandemic and economic crisis. Beth Davidson (TI member Joe Davidson’s daughter) is seeking volunteers to make phone calls to help coordinate delivery of care packages with food, household supplies, and hygiene and baby products.  Beth says “I love being able to support my community, but the need I've seen is heartbreaking.”
-->Click here to sign up with W4MA or here to sign up via TI. Note: Spanish speakers needed but all are welcome.
-->Questions? Contact Varda Fink or Beth Davidson.


Shepherd Park Tutoring

2020-2021 will be the 19th year adults and teenagers from TI and the neighborhood have tutored students from our local public elementary school. Each tutor is paired with a 2nd to 6th grader for the school year. The pair meets for one hour, normally on Sundays, to read, practice math skills, or review homework. This hour can make a tremendous difference in academic performance by reinforcing skills learned in school.

NOTE: Tutoring was previously done in person at the synagogue, but this year we will attempt to arrange it via Zoom in order to provide greater flexibility in scheduling tutoring sessions. Adults, high school students and
pre-Bar/Bat Mitzvah students can participate.
-->Sign up to volunteer
-->Questions? Contact Bruce Heppen or Tobi McFarland.

Mutual Support Tutoring for School Age Children

New this fall for TI families with children at home! Volunteers can listen to children read over the phone and discuss the text; assist with reading or practice math skills, review science or social sciences homework, and provide appropriate informal advice. Adults and high school student tutors work with students of any age, while pre-b'nai mitzvah tutors will work with students in primary school, always with adult supervision.
-->Sign up to volunteer
Questions? Contact Lynn Golub-Rofrano or Bob Feron.

Immigrant Support Tutoring for Children of Immigrant Families

Since 2018, a dedicated team of TI adults and adolescents have provided homework tutoring to the school-age children of three immigrant Syrian families. Sessions are fun and rewarding, since these sweet kids really appreciate our support, and so do their parents. It’s inspiring to see how strongly they want to learn reading, writing, math, and basic science skills and how our help can significantly improve their performance and grades.

NOTE: Tutoring was previously done in person but is now being done remotely. The normal schedule is one or two sessions of 60-90 minutes per week. Adults are welcome, as are exceptionally mature high school students.
-->Sign up to volunteer
-->Questions? Contact Bob Feron or Janet Nesse.

Entertaining Children so Parents Can Work: A Great Volunteer Project for Older Children

This is a new TI Social Action program, through which TI families can offer to support one another by:

  • Playing games or participating in online activities (e.g., educational programs, podcasts, etc.) with children, so that their parents can work with fewer interruptions.
  • Starting a children’s story hour for a certain age group and running it once a week for 2-3 months. One activity might be to create a craft project with the children based on the story you read.

The timing, content and circumstances of activities will need to be coordinated with the parents of the children involved. Adult supervision and coordination will be provided.
-->Sign up to volunteer
-->Questions? Contact Lynn Golub-Rofrano or Varda Fink.


Due to the coronavirus pandemic, most of us have had our lives disrupted in many respects. The Social Action Committee would like to organize new online activities to keep TI members connected. We'd also like to facilitate mechanisms through which TI members could volunteer to provide day-to-day practical support to one another. Please join us by volunteering to provide support through activities such as:

  • Teaching technical information to older congregants, such as how to access and use Zoom, FaceTime, WhatsApp, etc.

  • Sharing online resources to assist people who cannot leave their homes.

  • Sharing computer skills – a great opportunity for older teens to increase the computer skills and literacy of other TI members.

  • Volunteering to host a regular online afternoon gathering for a general group of TI members, or a specific age or interest group.

  • Creating connections between older and younger members. For example, young adults and teens could make regular phone calls to check in with the older members and help emphasize their importance to TI.


Gun Violence Prevention
TI is working with the D.C. Area Interfaith Gun Violence Prevention Network. In June 2020, Tifereth Israel was among over 60 organizations that co-signed a
letter to the DC Mayor and DC Council advocating on behalf of specific programs to prevent gun violence. With questions, or to volunteer on the issue of gun violence prevention, contact Claudine Schweber or Mona Berch. Or click here to sign up.

Immigration Reform and Support for Refugees and Asylum Seekers
We are committed to facilitating the integration of refugees and asylum seekers into the local community. To that end, TI members have offered support to three families of legal immigrants (formerly refugees) from Syria, helping them to navigate life’s challenges and ensuring that they proceed on their journey to becoming American citizens. We have also provided to the congregation up-to-date information on the overall refugee situation. If you would like to volunteer to help, please sign up by clicking
here. To learn more, contact Bob Feron.


Other Major Social Issues
We are concerned about preserving the environment, promoting gender equality, protecting voting rights, ensuring healthcare, preventing police violence and promoting racial harmony. We invite congregants to play an advocacy role on one or more of these issues, as well as informing and/or mobilizing congregational attention and support for these efforts. To volunteer for advocacy on these or other major societal issues, together with other members of our congregation, contact Bob Feron or click here to sign up.


Annual Martin Luther King Weekend Shabbaton

Each year, on the anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday, the Social Action team organizes a Social Justice Shabbat program. These programs are dedicated to MLK and his lifelong pursuit of social justice. In January 2021, the theme will be related to Jews from Africa and African American Jews. Click here to learn about the January 2020 shabbaton. To learn about the 2019 Shabbaton, click here.

Topics of previous MLK Shabbatons have included:

  1. Intolerance: It’s consequences for vulnerable and targeted groups.
  2. Welcoming and caring for refugees
  3. TI Social Justice activities after 50 years
  4. Educating underserved minority communities: Julius Rosenwald and the Rosenwald Schools
  5. The current state of intolerance in America
  6. Being a good neighbor: Genesis of Shepherd Park School tutoring program
  7. Health care as a human right: the true story of the Medical Committee for Human Rights and the civil rights movement
  8. Improving the quality of education for all: One person can make a difference
  9. Poverty in the DC metro area: an update 

With questions, contact Gene Herman.


Passover Food Delivery
Help brighten someone’s Passover by helping to deliver dozens of bags of holiday groceries to Jewish seniors, immigrants and others in need as identified by local Jewish agencies. Deliveries are picked up at TI, usually on the Sunday morning before Passover, and drivers are equipped with directions to households that will be expecting a delivery. Click
here to sign up. For more information contact Larry Baizer or Gene Herman.


Several of our traditional Social Action activities have involved direct service to the less fortunate members of the community and therefore present the possibility of relatively close contact. Due to concerns raised by the coronavirus pandemic, most of these efforts have been curtailed during 2020. We hope to resume many of the projects described below after D.C. and Maryland Public Health Authorities believe such activities have become safe. In practice, this is unlikely to occur before a safe and effective vaccine for COVID-19 becomes widely available throughout the general population, when and if that occurs. Therefore, the five traditional Social Action activities listed below have been suspended until further notice.

SOME (So Others Might Eat) – Casseroles *
SOME opened as a small soup kitchen in 1970 and with the help of volunteers now provides a nourishing, hot breakfast and lunch every day of the year. TI participates by creating casseroles for SOME to serve--a great activity for volunteers of all ages.  For casserole drop-off times, contact Stephanie or David Rubin.

Martha's Table - Van Run *
Help support those who are hungry by joining us as we drive a soup-and-sandwich van one Sunday a month, serving dinner to homeless men and women on the streets of downtown DC. Learn more by contacting Gene Herman.

Christmas Meals *
TI members cook and serve over 300 Christmas lunch meals to residents of four local homeless shelters each Christmas. We also give out small gifts, and our children take special pride in helping to wrap these gifts at the locations where the meals are served.  All are invited to help prepare in advance as well as serve food. We also welcome contributions to help defray the cost of the meals. To learn more, contact  Larry Baizer or
Mona Berch.

Juniper Street Collections *
We collect food, clothing, and other items throughout the year for schools, shelters, others in our community. The collection point is in the Juniper Street lobby. To learn more contact 
Jeri Roth Lande

Friendship Place
Friendship Place, in Tenleytown DC, provides a welcome center, job placement, short-term housing, supportive housing, and street outreach for homeless people. Tifereth Israel is represented on Friendship Place’s Congregations Committee, which is a liaison to several DC congregations. The committee works on projects such as collections of winter clothing and school backpacks. Other activities include fundraising friendship walks and concerts and engaging volunteers. To learn more, contact Julie Steinberg.

Wed, September 22 2021 16 Tishrei 5782