Tikkun Olam

Teens serving dinner at the overflow shelter of Columbus House

Teens serving dinner at the overflow shelter of Columbus House

Tikkun Olam (healing the world), social action, and social justice are important values of the modern Reform movement and a priority at Temple Emanuel. We are typically involved in at least one Tikkun Olam activity every month.  To participate in these activities or to suggest another one of particular interest to you, please email TikkunOlam@TempleEmanuel-GNH.org.

PLANNED ACTIVITIES for 2015-16:  [Details below]

September:  High Holy Day Food Drive, Will Sherman, Coordinator

October 29:  Red Cross Blood Drive at TE, Adam Spiewak, Coordinator

November:   Interfaith Thanksgiving – TE members donate food and help to deliver meals through Downtown Evening Soup Kitchen

December 13:  Hanukkah Baskets Activity – Religious School

January 10:   Social Justice program in the Religious School in honor of Martin Luther King

March 1 – 3, 2016:  Abraham’s Tent

Once again Temple Emanuel is joining Grace and St. Peter’s Church on Dixwell Avenue in Hamden to provide dinner and overnight coverage for homeless men in collaboration with Columbus House.  Volunteers are needed to help in various ways: preparing an entree, spending time eating and socializing; or spending the night – whatever fits your schedule.

TE volunteers will be responsible for food and overnight coverage for the following three days:

Tuesday. March 1st – Dinner and then breakfast and food for our guests to pack their own lunch the next morning.

Wednesday, March 2nd – Dinner and then breakfast and food for our guests to pack their own lunch the next morning.

Thursday, March 3rd – Dinner and then breakfast and food for our guests to pack their own lunch the next morning.

To Get Involved, contact Lee Stolzman

March 4-7: TE Youth Group attends L’Taken Social Justice seminar of the Reform Action Center in Washington, D.C.

May:  (Tentative) CT Food Bank Walk Against Hunger

More information about TE’s Tikkun Olam activities:

  • High Holy Days and other Jewish Holiday Food Drives help stock the shelves at the Jewish Family Service and the Orange Food Bank
  • Interfaith programs: TE families volunteer to contribute – turkeys, pies, driving, and monetary donations to the Downtown Evening Soup Kitchen’s Thanksgiving project.
  • The Environment/Climate Change/Make TE Green: In constructing our new One Campus, we took measures to keep it kind to the environment.
  • TE recycles!
  • Household supplies for veterans: In collaboration with Colombus House, TE’s men’s group collected toiletries; kitchen and bathroom supplies to donate to veterans who were homeless and have now obtained housing.
  • Abraham’s Tent.  Co-sponsored by Columbus House and the Interfaith Cooperative Ministries, faith communities provide overnight shelter and meals for homeless men through the winter months.  TE volunteers partner with another local congregation to cook and eat dinner with the men for one week in the winter.
  • Cook and Care Walk-a-thon, a major fundraiser for Interfaith Volunteer Caregivers, FISH, the Community Soup Kitchen and DESK (the Downtown Evening Soup Kitchen).  TE members of all ages participate in the walk.
  • TE members participate in the Social Justice Shabbat service on the Friday evening before the Martin Luther King holiday.
  • MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger.  For every fund-raising activity of the synagogue, 3% of net profits will be donated to MAZON [http://mazon.org].  MAZON distributes funds to millions of poor and hungry people throughout the world.  Members are also encouraged to donate a portion of the cost of life-cycle celebrations (bar/bat mitzvahs, weddings, anniversaries, and other joyous occasions), a modern interpretation of the ancient rabbinical tradition of not allowing a celebration to begin until the community’s poor and hungry were seated and fed.
  • Youth Education in our Sister City, León, Nicaragua. Temple Emanuel has a long-standing relationship with our Sister City in León, Nicaragua. In 2009, a TE delegation traveled to Leon and donated many children’s books in Spanish to the school library in the rural community of Goyena, where the Sister City Project works.  We lived with host families, baked bread for our Shabbat service on Friday, made candy with local folks, and got to know members of the Environmental Youth Brigade.


Tikkun Olam Activities at TE 2014-15 included:

People’s Climate March:– TE members joined thousands of others for the march in NYC

Food Drives:  for High Holy Days and Purim

Hannukah Baskets:  The religious school conducted a successful Hanukkah basket

collection and wrapping event in December

Joint Social Justice Shabbat Service:  In January, members of Temple Emanuel joined members of Temple Beth David and Congregation Mishkan Israel for a special MLK service at Congregation Mishkan Israel. Rabbi David Saperstein, the Director of the Religious Action Center in Washington, DC. was a featured speaker.

Abraham’s Tent:  TE members cooked and served dinner to homeless men in conjunction with Abraham’s Tent for three nights in February.

Days for Girls:  In March, Sisterhood hosted Mary Ann Stroup RN, head of the CT chapter of Days for Girls, which serves the needs of teenage girls in Kenya –  including the lack of sanitary protection when menstruating. TE’s girls and women assembled kits to send to Kenyan teenage girls.

Blood Drive for the Red Cross:  Held at TE in March, 2015

CT Food Bank Walk Against Hunger – In May 2015, eleven TE members of all ages raised funds for the CT Food Bank while enjoying a 3 mile walk in the East Rock Neighborhood of New Haven.

Secondary School Scholarships for Nicaragua:  TE’s Nicaragua delegation (of 2009) raised            $ 2335 for scholarships for secondary school for youth in the Environmental Youth Brigade in the rural community of Goyena, Nicaragua, through the New Haven/León Sister City Project.

Neighbor-to-Neighbor Lifeline (N2N) Poverty Simulations
TE members participated in Poverty Simulations, a community engagement activity that helps people understand first-hand the challenges and stress facing individuals and families living in poverty.

The Religious School students donated children’s books to Reach Out and Read, and made scarves and gloves for Spooner House, an agency that provides food, shelter and services to people in need.

Columbus House Welcome Kits project:   TE’s Men’s Club coordinated the collection of household supplies for recently homeless men who are moving into independent housing.  Max Case coordinated the project.

CONECT: TE hosted Matt McDermott, lead organizer of CONECT (Congregations Organized for a New Connecticut) spoke at TE in December.  CONECT is a non-partisan, multi-faith organization of 27 congregations in Southern CT that fosters a powerful civic moral voice to affect change for the common good.

Reach Out and Read:  TE’s Religious School children collected books that were distributed through Fair Haven Community Health Clinic’s Reach Out and Read program; they also make scarves and gloves that will be distributed by Spooner House, an agency in Shelton that provides food, shelter and services to people in need.


In December 2015, Temple Emanuel helped to form the Jewish Community Alliance for Refugee Resettlement (JCARR), a collaboration of four synagogues working together to co-sponsor refugee families arriving in our area.  Welcoming refugees is intricately connected to our Jewish tradition, our heritage, and to our recent history of being refugees and wishing there had been more people reaching out to help us.  JCARR co-sponsors refugees who come through IRIS, the Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services.  Refugees may come from Iraq, Afghanistan, Congo, Eritrea, Sudan, even Syria.  We will sponsor families from any country and any religion.  TE member Jean Silk […] more

TE members join the Connecticut Food Bank Walk

Fifteen TE members joined the Walk Against Hunger on Sunday, May 17, 2015.  We started out in East Rock Park and walked together with marchers from a diverse range of religious congregations and non-profit organizations for 3 miles through the local neighborhood. TE’s team included members of all ages; we wore our new blue TE t-shirts, and we were proud when observers along the way exclaimed, “wow, that’s a big group!”  We raised about $ 1,000 which was donated to the Connecticut Food Bank.  We had a great time! more

Matt McDermott from CONECT, Sunday Dec 21 , 10AM

Matt McDermott, CONECT’s lead organizer, will return to TE  on Sunday, Dec 21st at 10 am, to engage in a deeper conversation about Tikkun Olam with TE members, following his very engaging talk at TE on Friday, Dec 12. CONECT (Congregations Organized for a New Connecticut) is a non-partisan, multi-faith organization of 27 congregations in Southern CT that through building grass-roots relational culture fosters a powerful civic moral voice to affect change in the areas of social and economic justice and for the common good. more

High Holy Days Food Drive results are in!

We divided the food we collected into two equivalent piles and both places picked up the food during the week following Sukkot. Apparently JFS weighs the donated food and said we gave them a whopping 931 pounds.  That means that we collected a total of close to a ton of food this year!  JFS calculates that the food we gave them is the equivalent of 665 meals and estimates that value to be worth $1,545.  While, of course, we should all be very proud of this mitzvah, let’s not lose sight of the fact that the need is very, very real, […] more

TE JOINS THE PEOPLE’S CLIMATE MARCH Sunday, September 21 in New York City.

On September 21, 2014, heads of state from around the world met at the United Nations in New York to discuss climate change. TE members joined some 400,000 people from businesses, unions, faith groups, schools, social justice groups, and environmental groups in the People’s Climate March in New York City to demonstrate our belief that the world we want is within our reach: a world safe from the ravages of climate change. more

TE & the 38th Annual 2014 Greater New Haven Walk Against Hunger

The Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) called upon area synagogues to send teams to the 38th Annual 2014 Greater New Haven Walk Against Hunger on Sunday, May 4 in East Rock Park, New Haven. TE members answered the call and joined folks from many congregations from the greater New Haven area to amplify what we all do as individual congregations to help those in need around us.  Walk Against Hunger events are a non-competitive 2.5 to 3 mile walk.  Participants enjoy the camaraderie, the exercise in the outdoors, and the sense of solidarity with others who share a concern about feeding the hungry […] more

TE social action – in action!

Twelve intrepid TE members spent part of a Sunday afternoon meandering around the St. Ronan’s St. and East Rock neighborhoods in New Haven enjoying a lovely fall day (and each others’ company) as participants of the annual Cook and Care Walk-a-thon. TE members have supported the Walk-a-thon for many years. Proceeds from the Walk-a-thon support four programs for the hungry: FISH, Downtown Evening Soup Kitchen, the Community Soup Kitchen and Interfaith Volunteer Caregivers. This intergenerational/interfaith event happens every October; please consider joining us in 2015. more

TE’s SACS Supports Youth Literacy in our Sister City, León, Nicaragua

Following on the 2009 Temple Emanuel delegation to New Haven’s Sister City of León, Nicaragua, TE members continue to support our Sister City and its youth reading group.  This project involves teenagers in the rural village of Goyena, a community that was created on the outskirts of León for people who lost their homes due to the destruction of Hurricane Mitch in 1998.   Reading is not a common activity in this community, but this group of youth has become enthusiastic readers! more