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Response to Homelessness

This congregation worked in partnership with Na Me Res (A First Nations organization) to commit itself to respond to homelessness.

Temple Sinai Congregation
210 Wilson Avenue
Toronto, Ontario M5M 3B1
(416) 787-0585

Target Groups: Adults, Multi-generational Social Action Program

So many of our large cities have enormous populations of homeless people. Temple Sinai, in partnership with Na Me Res (a First Nations/Native Canadian organization that has reached out to literally thousands of Toronto’s homeless and saved many lives) has committed itself to respond to the plight of the homeless in a meaningful way. Their goal is to administer to and to sustain lives of those people who live on Toronto’s streets in all seasons from the frigid winters to the hot summers – and also to educate their congregants to be aware of their responsibilities to heal the world, one person at a time. In this way the program seeks both to encourage congregants to be more knowledgeable, sensitive and articulate in their understanding of the tragedy and complexity of the homeless situation in Toronto and to nurture the relationship and understanding between the Jewish and the First Nations (Native Canadian) communities in Toronto.

Temple Sinai congregants support and staff a Street Help Van from 6:30 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. one night a week. The program attempts to teach life skills, where possible, restore dignity and offer a hand of friendship and caring to the many people who live with out shelter or permanent accommodation. This is accomplished under the guidance of an experienced counselor/driver. Each volunteer is educated by his/her experience, more sensitive and articulate about the tragedy and complexity of the homeless situation in Toronto and is enriched by their continuing personal relationship with the First Nations/Native Canadian Community.

Reciprocally, the Na Me Res group has reached out to the Jewish community as well. Last year when one of the cemeteries in Toronto was desecrated, this organization came forward to assist in the repair and clean up. As a result of their collaboration, the two communities are learning to trust and respect one another.

In Deuteromony 21:1-9 we are commanded to be accountable and be responsible for that which we may not have caused. This is what Temple Sinai is doing. This is a powerful social action undertaking on so many levels.