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Social Action

 

"If I am not for myself, who will be for me?
If I am only for myself, what am I?
And if not now, when?"

                                                                                        - Rabbi Hillel, Pirke Avot 1:14

At Woodlands we believe in social action through participation. Giving one’s time to those causes that make the world a better place is at the very heart of Jewish life. While we find ourselves transformed and provoked by our sacred texts and prayers, we can transform the lives of others through expressions of participation and giving.

Whether you have a day, a few weeks, or just an hour, our Social Action Committee has activities for you. They span the areas of Service, Advocacy, Education, and Partnership, encompassing a wide variety of interests for people of all ages and time commitments. Take a look at our programs and decide what excites you and fits into your life and let the program’s leaders know of your interest. More programs are added throughout the year. All that is needed is a desire to help. And if you have an idea for a new project, let's talk about it. Reach us at socialaction@wct.org. Social Action co-chairs Rabbi Joan Glazer Farber and Roberta Roos are anxious to hear from you.

Opportunities for Engagement
(Click on each title to be taken to a page with more information.)

BACKPACK COLLECTION
Each summer, we collect backpacks and school supplies for the kindergarten/first graders of the Lois Bronz Children’s Center in Greenburgh. Donations are needed, as well as folks to fill the backpacks before delivery to the Center. 
Leader: Rabbi Lisa Izes, socialaction@wct.org 

BLOOD DRIVE
We hold 2 blood drives at WCT annually through the New York Blood Center.  
Leaders: Margie Berman, Jill Garland and Steve Sagner, Blood@wct.org 

BREAKFAST RUN/MIDNIGHT RUN
Several Sundays each year, the Breakfast Run group loads up cars and heads into NYC to provide breakfast, clothing and companionship to folks who are homeless or have low incomes. Each year, our Confirmation Class, along with other congregants and friends, provides food and clothing for its Christmas Eve midnight run. 
Leaders: Mike Silverman and Julie Fischer, midnightrunbreakfasts@wct.org 

BRIDGES TO FAITH & FRIENDSHIP
We at Woodlands firmly believe that making connections with people of other beliefs and backgrounds is a critical part of building peace and understanding in the world. Many of our activities are directed toward this goal.  
Leader: Eric Katz, Bridges@wct.org 

CHILDREN'S VILLAGE GIFTS
Each year our committee provides the kids in a Children’s Village (a local residential community) cottage with a gift from their wish list during the Christmas season. Let the leaders of this task force know that you would like to fill the wish of a teen. 
Leaders: Jeanne Bodin and Natalie Werner, socialaction@wct.org

CIVIC ENGAGEMENT
Following the lead of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism (the RAC), we inform the congregation of national, state and local legislative and social concerns and provide opportunities for action.  
Leaders: Andrea Olstein and Rochelle Stolzenberg, CETF@wct.org 

COACHMAN
This task force works with the Religious School to bring our 8th and 9th graders to White Plains for activities with kids residing in the Coachman Family Center.
Leaders: Julie deWinter Stein and Rabbi Lisa Izes, socialaction@wct.org

DESSERT FOR A WEEK
One week each month, we will be providing desserts (homemade, bought or fresh fruit) for the teens in a shelter in Valhalla. Please volunteer for a week - or to share a week with another family. 
Leaders: Jeanne Bodin and Natalie Werner, socialaction@wct.org

DISASTER RELIEF
Working with local groups, Woodlands provides assistance when disaster strikes. 

DOMESTIC ABUSE TASK FORCE
This task force helps support the needs of women and children in, and about to leave, Hope's Door shelter, as well as educates our congregation and community about domestic abuse. Ask the leaders to put your name on the list of those to be contacted when needs arise. 
Leaders: Judy Stiefel, Jennifer Trevor-Hochman and Bill Woolis, domesticabuse@wct.org

ENVIRONMENTAL TASK FORCE
As we respond to the biblical commandment to till and tend our planet, this year we are increasing our efforts to become a "zero waste" community in both our temple and our homes. Get involved in any of our Reduce, Recycle, Reuse efforts. 
Leader: Kirsten Kleinman, etf@wct.org

GUN VIOLENCE
This task force screens related films, and offers speakers and panel discussions with interconnected issues, such as domestic violence, suicide, school safety, etc. We also get involved in advocacy and work to support and elect candidates who propose and create legislation that will prevent gun violence. We welcome your interest and ideas.  
Leader: Shelli Katz, socialaction@wct.org

HIGH HOLY DAYS AND ON-GOING HUNGER PROJECTS
Each year the Yom Kippur Food Truck rolls into the Woodlands parking lot to collect healthy, non-perishable food. Congregants are asked to bring a box or bag of newly purchased healthy food on our list to contribute to Woodlands’ biggest food collection of the year. Volunteers help at the van as well as help deliver the food to the food pantries on the morning after Yom Kippur. When the request comes (via daf and congregational email), please volunteer to work the food van and/or deliver the collected food. Throughout the year, feeding the hungry is a major part of our work. We urge you to bring a donation to our Mensch of the Month food cart whenever you come to the temple. 
Leaders: Sandi Lieb and Val Fox, Socialaction@wct.org 

IMMIGRANT FRIENDS AT WOODLANDS
Undocumented immigrants live in constant fear of apprehension and deportation by ICE. We advocate for laws and policies that will benefit and protect these immigrants, joining with other organizations in lobbying, petitioning and demonstrating to put pressure on our elected officials. We have developed an ongoing relationship with Neighbors Link (NL), an immigrant service center in Mt. Kisco, Ossining and, in the future, Yonkers. We provide direct support for NL with various drives (e.g., diapers, baby wipes) as well as cooking food for their Family Nights twice a year.
Leader: Steve Glusker, Immigrantfriends@wct.org

KNITTING & CROCHETING
We meet regularly to help and inspire each other as we complete projects such as blankets for babies in Israel, afghans and holiday presents for domestic abuse victims, and other projects.  
Leaders: Angela Adler and Elizabeth Barnhard, knitting @wct.org

PROJECT EZRA
We are proud of our 40+ year involvement with these elderly Jews of the Lower East Side. In the fall/winter, they are our guests at a luncheon in the winter and, in the spring, we provide them with food for their Passover celebration. Get involved in either or both!  
Leaders: Harriet Kohn, Elise Wagner Ballan and Janet Weinstein, Projectezra@wct.org

RACIAL JUSTICE TASK FORCE 
This relatively new task force provides opportunities for congregants to learn about racial justice as a Jewish mandate. We join the Religious Action Center’s campaign to address systemic racism by demanding policy change on both a state and federal level and push members of our community to do essential Racial Equity, Diversity and Inclusion and antiracism work within our communities and ourselves. 
Leaders: Linda Einfrank and Rebecca Mazin, RJTF@wct.org 

REFUGEE RESETTLEMENT
Our refugee resettlement team worked with Bet Am Shalom to successfully help an Afghani family build a life in the US. We are now focusing on working with Neighbors for Refugees to resettle refugees.  
Leaders: Marge Glusker and Melanie Roher Schwartz, Refugees@wct.org  

SPECIAL PROJECTS AND COLLECTIONS 
As needs arise, we run special projects and collection to meet these needs – diaper collections for food pantries, emergency supplies for hurricane victims, small appliance collections for those rebuilding after floods, toiletries for folks in shelters, etc. Please watch for the call – and answer it. 

TEEN SHELTER DINNERS
Woodlands provides home-cooked dinners to support teens in temporary shelter at the Sanctuary in Valhalla.  We do this four times a year as part of a Greenburgh Interfaith Caring Community project.  You can choose to make a main or side dish, salad or dessert.  Please volunteer and we will put you on our notification list.  
Leader: Val Fox, Shelterdinner@wct.org 

Sat, May 21 2022 20 Iyar 5782