For Every Season There is a Time for Social Justice

To ensure a coordinated volunteer effort, a proactive committee was formed encompassing representatives from Brotherhood, WRJ-Sisterhood, Youth Group, and the congregation as a whole. This clearing house identifies community needs, organizes and coordinates activities and involves as many congregants as possible in social action projects.

Temple Israel

1376 E. Massey Rd.

Memphis, TN 38120-3299


Goal: To ensure a coordinated volunteer effort with the congregation.

Synagogue members engage in many mitzvah projects through Sisterhood, Brotherhood, Religious School, etc. In some cases, these programs were organized and implemented independently from one another. In order to achieve the optimum results and to avoid duplication of efforts, a synagogue's Social Action Committee has evolved. This committee is a clearing house for ideas and activities of all the auxiliaries and groups in the congregation. As a result, opportunities are publicized to the entire congregation throughout the year.

Today, the committee consists of almost 50 congregants, representing every age and demographic of the synagogue family. They create a variety of opportunities for fellow congregants, heighten awareness of the various needs in the community and foster a broad base of participation in social action activities. After identifying potential projects for Temple volunteers, members of the committee do research to determine which will be targeted.

Tools utilized:

  • Expansion of committee to include a larger number of congregants
  • Listing of mitzvah projects in synagogue newsletter
  • Periodic mailings from the Social Action Committee
  • Use of website to provide up-to-date information on projects
  • “Social Justice Hotline” for Mitzvah Day (with a voice mail message on which potential volunteers can leave information or questions)
  • Thank you postcard sent to all volunteers immediately after their participation
  • Committee built strong partnerships with community organizations

The Committee and the total program have brought together members of diverse ages, interests, and backgrounds, and have provided opportunities for new members to become an immediate part of a Temple activity. In one year there were a total of 863 volunteers and 2,400 volunteers hours clocked.