Social Action

Just as we are commanded to be seekers of peace, so too are we commanded to be seekers of justice. When we encounter injustice in New York City, the United States, or the world, CRS responds through education, advocacy, and immediate and direct action. These responses include:

Issue-Based Responses

For information on any of these, please contact Rabbi Rachel Grant Meyer at gro.cynsrcnull@reyemibbar or (646) 454-3025.

One Voice to Save Choice

A broad-based, interfaith coalition founded here at CRS, One Voice works on advocacy, education, and programs to protect a woman’s right to choose on the local, state, and federal levels.

For more information: gro.cynsrcnull@eciohceciov

Green Solutions

This environmental initiative is dedicated to seeking local solutions to global warming by finding ways to educate congregants on how they can reduce greenhouse emissions and their carbon “footprint.”

Soldier’s Project

In an effort to remind our troops that they are not forgotten while they are serving overseas, the Soldiers Project offers support to NY area soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. Card drives, packages, and family support are among the projects we have offered in the past.

Project Kehila

Responds to various natural and worldly disasters which require immediate and ongoing assistance. Project Kehila was originally convened in response to Hurricane Katrina, and continues to work on issues of rebuilding New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. But it also has now responded to Hurricane Sandy and the impact it has made on the greater New York City community, and other disasters in the United States and beyond.

Email: gro.cynsrcnull@alihektcejorp

Israel Mitzvah Projects

Each year, the Israel Committee supports two Mitzvah Projects in Israel; one, connected to the Reform Movement and the other, more broad-based. This year we are proud to be supporting Congregation YOZMA located in Modi’in. This Reform congregation with its own Pre-school, is reimagining what it means to include and educate individuals with special needs in their community. Since we at Rodeph Sholom are on a similar mission, we wanted to support YOZMA in their program for children with Special Needs in its school as well as scholarship assistance for its after-school program.
Our new organization this year is Leket Israel which, in addition to a a food rescue similar to City Harvest, has a gleaning project called Women’s Work Program.  This project currently employs approximately 20 Arab-Israeli women who work as agricultural gleaners and are critical to the rescue of fruits and vegetables throughout Israel.  The workers are provided benefits and a respectful work environment.
The Israel Committee is very proud to be supporting these two worthwhile causes!

Email: gro.cynsrcnull@eettimmoclearsi

Response to Darfur Committee

Continues to find ways to make a meaningful difference in the lives of those suffering from the Darfur crisis. In addition to advocacy efforts, two projects help refugee camp survivors: The Solar Cooker Project, keeping women safe within the camps; and Nothing But Nets, fighting malaria.

Email: gro.cynsrcnull@snrecnocytinummoc

Response to Homophobic Bullying and Intolerance 

We respond with anguish and outrage at the spate of suicides brought on by homophobic bullying and intolerance. CRS and its clergy and educators have signed on to “Do Not Stand Idly By: A Jewish Community Pledge to Save Lives.” We encourage you to sign as well.

Ongoing Programs and Volunteer Opportunities

BackPack Buddies

Pack a backpack full of weekend meals at CRS for children in our greater Upper West Side community who are entitled to free lunches at school but are at risk on the weekend. Other opportunities to volunteer include stocking the shelves and driving the backpacks to their destination at the Lincoln Square Neighborhood Center. Click here to sign up to volunteer.

Congregational Donation Box

Fulfill a mitzvah every time you come to the synagogue. Each month, the CRS community collects items for organizations in NYC and around the world. The box is located in the lobby of the Synagogue.

CRS Food Drive

Rodeph Sholom congregants have responded to the mitzvah of feeding the hungry through our annual food drive. The money collected is distributed to established West Side, local, and city-wide organizations serving the Jewish community as well as the New York community-at-large. In addition, the annual Yom Kippur Food Drive distributes food which has been donated by congregants to emergency food banks and shelters throughout NYC through City Harvest.

St. Xaiver’s Soup Kitchen

Help prepare and serve meals to visitors at the St. Xavier’s Soup Kitchen in Chelsea. Click here to sign up to volunteer.

Project Moving On

In conjunction with Women In Need, this project provides a starter package of necessities to mothers and their children who have finally secured permanent housing after months of living in shelters. The packages include non-perishable foods, dishes, glassware, pots and pans, a letter of welcome and a gift for each child. Volunteers pack the cartons each week for those “moving on.” More than 3,000 families have been helped since 1986.

Sheltering the Homeless

Since 1983, Rodeph Sholom’s Homeless Shelter hosts eight men, five nights a week, from the first Monday in October through the middle of June.  Volunteers come from a broad cross-section of the congregational family, including Clergy, members of the Board, CRuSTY members, and parents, who regularly bring their young children with them. Click here to sign up to volunteer.

Email: moc.liamgnull@jsinark


Working with the Union for Reform Judaism and Jewish Funds for Justice, CRS is beginning to engage in a transformative social justice model based on the principles of community organizing. Through house meetings and one-on-one conversations, issues of shared concern emerge, and leaders conduct significant actions that engage their members in addressing the systemic causes of social justice issues.

Email: gro.cynsrcnull@reyemibbar

Annual Events

The John Kowal/Reverend Preston W. Washington Freedom Seder

Rodeph Sholom has an ongoing relationship with Harlem’s Memorial Baptist Church. This has resulted in exchanges of Clergy and children’s choirs, and a highly successful annual Freedom Seder, now named in memory of two pillars of our respective communities, John Kowal and Reverend Preston Washington. Both communities come together to celebrate their respective liberation from bondage.

Mitzvah Weekend

Each October, we celebrate our commitment to social action with a weekend dedicated to that broad theme. With speakers, programs, and our annual Mitzvah Day, we offer opportunities to engage with issues and needs in the community through education, advocacy—and, of course, direct action.

Email: gro.cynsrcnull@yadhavztim