Overall Social Action Program

The Temple seeked "to strip away all the excuses people have for not participating in social action" by offering its members an unusally wide array of social action opportunities.

Temple Emanu-El
6229 Capri Drive
San Diego, California 92120
(619) 286-2555

Target Groups: Adults, Multi-Generational Social Action Program

Temple Emanu-El, which seeks "to strip away all the excuses people have for not participating in social action," offers its members an unusually wide array of social action opportunities.

The HIV/AIDS Food Pantry Project, is a program through which congregants once each month collect food in front of a local grocery store for the Something Special Food Pantry, which supplies food and hygiene items to people with HIV/AIDS. As they enter the store, grocery store shoppers are provided a flyer listing items the pantry needs; those shoppers who so choose leave the items they have purchased with volunteers as they exit the store. On an average Sunday, between $1,800 and $3,000 worth of groceries are thereby contributed.

Emanu-El is the only Jewish congregation to take part in the Interfaith Rotational Shelter, a shelter for temporarily displaced people. The congregation hosts the shelter for the last two weeks of the year (thereby giving the host Christian churches a welcome break during the Christmas holiday season). Guests are housed in school rooms, take their meals in the social hall, and relax in the youth lounge. The congregation provides clothing, laundry, and other goods and services, and volunteer congregants also spend the night with the guests.

After considerable debate, the congregation chose to participate in the San Diego Gay Pride Parade, a decision that spawned considerable discussion and education regarding gay/lesbian issues and has provided the San Diego gay/lesbian Jewish community a presence and a place.

Smart Vote Sunday is a pre-election brunch and forum that includes a presentation on ballot propositions as well as a presentation by Congressional candidates.

Mitzvah Project Shabbat is a Friday night service honoring all those who have completed monthly mitzvah projects as well as those who have done special social action mitzvot during the year. Honorees are given certificates of appreciation, and project leaders and others who have been especially active are tendered a dinner at which a beneficiary agency makes a presentation.

In addition, Temple-Emanu-El staffs San Diego's largest shelter (serving between 600 and 900 meals) once each month; staffs a teenage shelter (preparing and serving dinner) for runaway or displaced teens, also once a month; hosts a blood drive three times a year; collects blankets and clothing for people who live in the poorest section of Tijuana and Tecate, just across the border with Mexico; holds an annual Mitzvah Day; holds a High Holiday food drive; visits and sings, every three months, at the Jacob Health Center, a home for elderly Jews.

The Fain Award is presented to Temple Emanu-El in recognition of the expansive array of social action projects its congregants have undertaken.