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Tikkun Olam/Social Action

Tikkun Olam / Social Action

Current & Upcoming Events | Can you Help? | Our Partners | Photo Gallery | Our Teams

Click here for a running list of concrete actions you can take to help out populations most affected by covid-19: COVID-19-RELATED VOLUNTEERING/DONATIONS RESOURCE GUIDE

Adas Israel’s Social Action Committee is made up of teams focused on some of the issues facing us today:  Poverty/Homelessness/Housing TeamClimate Action TeamLev B’Lev (“Heart to Heart,” which works against hate), Gun Violence Prevention Team (GVP)Kehilah Multiracial Engagement Project (KMEP), and the Refugee Response Team. The SAC is committed to the essential Jewish value of tikkun olam, and guided by the Pirkei Avot 2:21: “You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to desist from it.” Please join us! Contact SAC Chair Brad Brooks-Rubin or SAC Communications Chair Liz Scheier with questions or to figure out which initiative interests you most.

Our Work In The Moment Continues

Dear Beloved Adas Community,

When we wrote our initial letter to the congregation a few weeks ago (which admittedly feels like a year), we said: “Our tradition, our history, our values, and our collective Jewish conscience calls upon us to not remain silent while racism continues to pervade our society.” 

We are proud of the ways so many in this community have stood forward, been present, listened intently to the pain of others, and begun the hard work of asking difficult questions previously avoided. And, we also know this work is just beginning. As a community we are committed to being part of the transformation happening before our very eyes. As always, we’d love for you to join us.  Here are a few of the ways we are, and will be, engaging in the coming weeks and months. 

  1. Adas Israel is a member organization of the Washington Interfaith Network ( Alongside over 40 other faith-based D.C. organizations of many religious traditions, we participate in the long-term organizing work of helping to create a D.C. that is equitable & just for its residents in all 8 Wards. The work is picking up steam as small groups (including members of our SAC/Clergy) are now meeting with City Elected Officials to lay the groundwork. 

 You can read the WIN budget proposal HERE.

You can watch the kick-off press conference HERE.

On the evening of July 2 over 1,000 residents will join together virtually from every Ward in the city to lay out the path for reaching these goals. Adas Israel has committed 100 participants. Showing up matters. Showing our elected officials a large and diverse city matters. So let’s do our best to represent our values by joining this movement.  

Register for July 2nd, HERE.

Contact Jamie Butler for questions and/or more information.

  1. Adas Clergy & SAC leaders have been consistently submitting testimony to the City Council and Mayor Bowser advocating for more budget dollars allocated to Violence Prevention in this city that prioritizes "comprehensive, community-based, trauma-informed, evidence based practices.” The SAC signed on to this letter organized by Moms Demand - DC to the Mayor and City Council which lays out these priorities. We encourage you to make your individual voice heard as well.

    • You can see the letter and signatories, HERE.

    • You can be in touch with your Council Member, and Members-At-Large to make your voice heard by accessing this page.

  2. We are also planning to continue our communal reflection on these critical issues. This is necessary work in which we must engage with honesty, openness, and transparency.  

  • On July 21, we will hold a communal book presentation & discussion of Just Mercy, by Bryan Stevenson ( The event will be sponsored by leaders of our (postponed) Racial Justice trip to Alabama. Zoom link will be provided closer to the date. For more information contact Susan Bayles (

  • In August we plan to continue the discussion, layered with the themes of the month of Elul, with a communal read of How to Be An Anti-Rcacist, led by clergy and guests. (Date TBD)

  1. For the last two Fridays at 5:00pm, and the next two Fridays at 5:00pm, Adas community members have joined the 16th Street (physically distanced) Vigils with a satellite Connecticut location. More information here. (Adas congregants have been leading the Connecticut Avenue @ Quebec Street NW location.) 

Friends, we are in this work for the long haul. It won’t be easy. We’ll need to listen to the leaders of the movement who are most impacted by the system as it is. We will learn how to do this together, in strength and vulnerability.  Thank you for being on this journey with us. 

- Rabbis Alexander, Holtzblatt & Krinsky
- Liz Scheier & Brad Brooks Rubin, SAC Chairs

The epidemic of racism within the pandemic

Dear friends,

Once again, sadly, we are in a defining moment for this country. The deep pain of our African American brothers and sisters is all too real and too long endured. We as a religious community rooted in the primacy of human dignity for all of God’s creations cannot watch from the sidelines, though we remain physically distanced by the global pandemic. But as Dr. Rashawn taught us on Tuesday night, there is an epidemic amidst the pandemic, and it is the continued and systemic racism that plagues some more than others.

Below you will find a few ways to be involved in working toward the justice that is so desperately needed. This list is not everything, but it is a start. Use it, share it, commit to it, amend it. We are taking direction from the voices that are most impacted by the injustice, and we will continue to be in touch with our partners and friends to find ways to increase our collective voices.

If you are looking for many more ways to learn more and be active, please see this article with 75 things you can do and a wide-ranging list of books, articles, movies, videos, and podcasts to learn from. The Social Action team and clergy will be working in the coming days and weeks to provide more opportunities for action and engagement. You can also explore this excellent anti-racist reading list.

(From Courtney Ariel’s For Our White Friends Desiring to Be Allies)

"1. Listen more; talk less. You don’t have to post something on social media that points to how liberal/how aware/how cool/how good you are. You have had the microphone for most of the time, for a very long time, and it will be good to give the microphone to someone else who is living a different experience than your own.

2. For one out of every three opinions/insights shared by a person of color in your life, try to resist the need to respond with a better or different insight about something that you read or listened to as it relates to their shared opinion. Try just to listen and sit with someone else’s experience."

3. Being an ally is different than simply wanting not to be racist. Being an ally requires you to educate yourself about systemic racism in this country. Read Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow and Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me and Claudia Rankine’s Citizen and Ibram Kendi's How to be An Anti-Racist so many other great books and articles that illuminate oppression and structures of white supremacy and white privilege.

4. Please try not to say, “I can’t believe that something like this would happen in this day and age!” People of color have been aware of this kind of hatred and violence in America for centuries.

5. Ask when you don’t know. Some marginalized/disenfranchised folks will tell you not to ask them anything; don’t be offended by that. In a nutshell, don’t expect for people to educate you. Do the work to educate yourself. Ask questions within relationships that feel safe, and do so respectfully."

In love, pain, commitment and solidarity,

-         Rabbi Aaron Alexander
-         Rabbi Sarah Krinsky
-         Brad Brooks-Rubin and Liz Scheier, SAC co-chairs

Understanding Racial Disparities in Health and COVID-19 Deaths

Click Here to Watch and Download the Session

If you missed the May 26th powerful and disturbing conversation on racial disparities in health and COVID-19 with Dr. Rashawn Ray from Brookings and University of Maryland and Ryane Nickens of The TraRon Center, here’s your opportunity to view the video. (Note you must click download to watch the full video. If you stream directly from the link, it will only show you a 15 minute preview).


Anne Frank House Update

Dear friends,

We hope that the summer will be a time of some normalcy for you. Coping with the COVID-19 pandemic has been difficult for all of us, including the residents of Anne Frank House, several of them already challenged by a number of health-related issues. Fortunately, they have stayed well, and remain grateful to have a place to call home, which is in part thanks to the support of many of you.

Here a few “fast facts”:

  • Anne Frank House provides apartments in NW Washington to formerly homeless people who suffer from mental illness.
  • Anne Frank House makes the difference between a degrading, difficult existence on the streets and a secure, stable, dignified, and independent home life.
  • Anne Frank House is an all-volunteer organization.
  • Over 90% of income goes directly to serving clients.
  • Through a partnership with Friendship Place, Anne Frank House pays for clients to receive psychiatric, medical, and case management services.

There are several ways to contribute:

  • On the website
  • Mail a check directly at P.O. Box 73275, Washington, DC 20056-3275
  • On the Adas website, choose to direct your contribution and select the “social action and special needs funds” dropdown
  • Send a check, made out to Anne Frank House, to Adas Israel

If you have any questions about Anne Frank House or want to get involved, contact Sue Ducat at  If you have experience in real estate, or property management, or know anyone who does, that would be especially helpful. But regardless of your experience, your time and your commitment are welcome and needed.

Please have a healthy and safe summer and thank you for considering supporting Anne Frank House.

Joel Fischman and Ed Kopf, co-presidents

Current & Upcoming Events

"Just Mercy" - Community Discussion Led by Benjamin Schaefer from the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI)

July 21 at 7:30 PM
Click Here to Register in Advance
Click Here to Join the Zoom Session

Join us on July 21 at 7:30 PM for a presentation and community discussion of Just Mercy, led by Benjamin Schaefer from the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI). Come hear and share reflections on how EJI's work has evolved, and deepen our education on how we as an Adas community can work to understand and eradicate systemic racism. We recommend reading the Just Mercy book and/or watching the film in advance of this event. This program is a project of the Social Action Committee and the (now postponed) racial justice trip to Montgomery, AL. We plan to hold a companion series in the fall, using the book "How to be an Anti-Racist" as a vehicle for self-reflection in the month of Elul. 

Benjamin Schaefer is a staff attorney at the Equal Justice Initiative, based in Montgomery, Alabama. Schaefer graduated in 2011 from New York University School of Law, where he participated in the Equal Justice and Capital Defender Clinic and interned at the Orleans Public Defenders in Louisiana. 


IRC Amazon Wish Lists - Show Your Support by Donating

When Mohammad and his family fled to the United States, they thought their struggles were in the past. Due to the rapid spread of COVID-19, Mohammad fears he won’t be able to provide the basic necessities for his family. To support Mohammad and other families affected by COVID-19, the IRC in Silver Spring created Wish Lists on Amazon where individuals can donate items that families requested. Read the full article here.

Show your support by donating to the IRC's Amazon Wish Lists. Please share this message with your family, friends and colleagues. Sign up here to continue to receive updates from the IRC about in-kind donation needs.​​​​​​


Fruit for Friendship Place

Can you help do a nourishing and simple act of tzedakah? Friendship Place’s Welcome Center is in need of fresh whole fruit for the homeless individuals who use its services. Tucked away in a house on Wisconsin Avenue between Tenleytown and Friendship Heights, the Center serves as a drop in site for homeless individuals and as a central place to apply for various services. Meal services rarely include fresh fruit, and if you can pick up an extra two or three dozen apples, clementines, oranges, pears etc. on your next grocery run, it would make a big difference to our neighbors’ diets. Fruit can be dropped off any time the Center is open. Please contact Jamie Butler with any questions, or visit the Friendship Place site for more information.

Address: 4713 Wisconsin Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20016
Hours: Mon: 8:30-11:30 am and 1-4 pm; Wed/Thur: 8:30-11:30 am, 1-3 pm
Phone: 202-364-1419



Plan a Trip to the Border

A team of Adas members, along with Rabbi Alexander and Rabbi Holtzblatt, have traveled to the border to learn, witness, and work with asylum-seekers. For more information on planning a similar trip, click here.


Adas Now Preparing and Serving Dinner at Miriam’s House, an Auxiliary of N Street Village

Second Sunday of Every Month 5:30pm - 7pm

Looking for a meaningful volunteer activity on a Sunday night that you can do with several friends or family? With the closing of N Street Village’s Luther Place Shelter, Adas Israel explored other options to continue with our successful and longstanding meal service to homeless women in our community.  We decided on Miriam’s House, a Housing First model that provides permanent supportive housing for formerly homeless women who are living with HIV and AIDS.  Between 12-15 women live and work together on managing and improving their physical health while addressing self-sufficiency goals, which can include addiction recovery, mental wellness, education, employment, income, and long-term housing.  Our volunteers bring a meal every second Sunday of the month and volunteer between 5:30-7PM.  There are several ways to volunteer.  You can prepare part of a meal (main course, sides and dessert) and drop it off at a central location in NW DC, or you can arrive at 5:30PM to set everything up, serve the meal at 6:00 pm and then clean up.  Our Young Professionals have worked with the Hesed Cooking team to prepare the meal and then take it to Miriam’s Place to serve and clean up.  And one Adas family volunteered for a full Sunday meal. Volunteers have told us that it’s a very satisfying experience.  Future dates are: July 14, and August 11. To volunteer, email coordinator Laura Epstein.


Can You Help?

Volunteer Opportunities with N Street Village!

Clothing Closet Assistant: Volunteers help set up the clothing closet, assist approximately 40 clients in groups of five as they search for clothing, and help restock the closet. Clothing closet assistants are needed Wednesdays and Fridays from 9:30am-11:45am at the Flagship location (1333 N Street NW). This opportunity is ideal for someone who enjoys interacting with the clients and helping them find their perfect look!

Dinner Service at The Patricia Handy Place for Women: Volunteers are needed to serve a meal to 36 - 60 women every day. Volunteers work in pairs to serve a meal delivered to the community by DC Central Kitchen. Dinner service is from 6:45pm-8:00pm. Location of Patricia Handy Place for Women is 810 5th Street NW, Washington, DC 20001.

Breakfast and Lunch Servers Needed at the Flagship Location 1333 N Street NW. Weekend and weekday shifts available. 


The Friendship Place Welcome Center is in need of canned food and nonperishable food donations

Providing meals to those experiencing homelessness is a vital part of our purpose of providing basic necessities to those in need in our community.  Will you please help us out to restock the pantry? We welcome individual donations of canned and nonperishable food items. Or please feel free to organize a community, school or congregation effort for our need.

Food donations can be dropped off directly at The Friendship Place Welcome Center which is located at 4713 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington, DC 20016. To organize drop off dates and times please contact


Anne Frank House Is Looking For Volunteers To Serve as Client Liaisons

One of the ways Anne Frank House supports its residents is to provide each of them with his or her own volunteer liaison.  If you have a few hours a month to give, we hope you will contact us.  We are about to take on two new clients and are in need of two client liaisons. As a liaison, you would be in regular contact with your resident; assist with daily problem-solving; and alert us of any changes you notice in the client’s mental condition.  Being a liaison offers the opportunity to develop a very special relationship and make a difference in someone’s life.  Most liaisons find it a most gratifying experience.  For more information and to volunteer, contact Ed Kopf:


Donate to the TraRon Center Click Here

Donate to the TraRon Center's After-School Program: The From Tragedy to Triumph after-school program provides a safe, supportive space for elementary school children affected by gun violence. Read about their work in this recent piece on WAMU.


Adas Israel Refugee Response Team Seeking Volunteers to Help with Cultural Orientations

Lutheran Social Services (LSS) runs cultural orientations for the refugee families it resettles and is in need of people to volunteer as babysitters during these orientations in Hyattsville, Maryland. Volunteers spend time with the children in a playroom located next to the orientation room. Adults are needed to interact/play with the children and make a small donation towards a pizza lunch. This is an incredibly valuable way to assist the refugee community in our area. The orientations are from 10 am - 2pm and run various dates; the next one is February 27th. To hear about our experiences volunteering, email Adas members Nancy Cutler ( or Allison Turner ( To get involved, please email Mira Mendick ( who is the Community Resource Coordinator, Refugee & Immigrant Services for LSS.

Lev B’Lev Letter-Writing Team joins Interfaith Action for Human Rights (IAHR): Pen Pal Program for Prisoners

In addition to writing letters of solidarity to those who have experienced hate crimes, the Lev B’Lev Letter Writing Team has joined with IAHR, an interfaith organization representing people of different faiths in the Washington, DC, region to write letters to DC residents who are incarcerated in the Bureau of Prisons. IAHR Executive Director Rabbi Charles Feinberg’s new effort addresses the isolation that incarcerated DC residents experience in prisons located far away from home. More than 4,600 DC residents are sent to 122 Bureau of Prisons facilities around the country, making it particularly difficult for them to maintain supportive relationships and reintegrate into their communities upon their release. IAHR’S Pen Pal Program asks volunteers to correspond with one imprisoned DC resident at least once a month for one year. For more information about this rewarding and enlightening experience or to join us, contact Ruth Kleinrock.

Adas Israel IRC Refugee Team Seeks New Family Mentors

The Adas Israel Refugee Response Team has opportunities to mentor newly arrived refugees. Partnering with the International Rescue Committee (IRC) in Silver Spring, a new group of Adas members are being trained to mentor recently arrived refugee families. Moving to a new place is always challenging and language/cultural barriers, along with none or minimal family support, make this transition even more difficult. Mentors help ease this transition by offering friendship, tutoring, help with job searches, transportation support, and other services as they come up. This is an incredible opportunity to work with other Adas members to make a genuine impact on refugees' lives. So far, Adas has mentored 5 refugee families from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Congo, and we are forming new teams now to assist even more newly settled families. In order to create a dependable support system for these families, the IRC model asks volunteers to commit to 6 months of mentorship. Working in teams of 2-5 people, someone from the team is expected to visit the family every week (which means 1-2 individual visits per month depending on how large the team is). If you are interested in being a part of this rewarding and important work or would like more information, please contact Alex Levy or Katy Gingles.

We Need Your Help, Support Refugee Families

Please make your contribution here

The Social Action Committee’s Refugee Response Team is currently sponsoring a refugee family of 5, through Lutheran Social Services, and we also are mentoring families with the International Rescue committee, and we need your help! For more information about our efforts to respond to the refugee crisis or to make a contribution to support this work, please email Amy Golen. The Social Action Committee’s Refugee Response Team has already furnished three apartments for newly settled refugee families in our area.


Your Spare SmarTrip Card Can Help DC’s Refugees Start Anew

Do you have SmarTrip cards with remaining value that you will not be using? Your spare card can help local refugees rebuild their life in the DC area.  With as little as $25 on a SmarTrip card, a refugee will be able to attend a cultural orientation class, enroll children in school, travel to a job interview, and go to an initial health screening.

Adas Israel is collecting spare or new SmarTrip cards for refugees in need. We are also accepting cash or checks to purchase SmarTrip cards.  All donations will be given to the International Rescue Committee to help struggling refugees make a new life for themselves. Please drop off your SmarTrip cards, cash or checks in the Adas coatroom or mail to:
Adas Israel Congregation c/o Marcy Spiro
2850 Quebec Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20008

For more information please contact Beth Simon.

Our Partners

Anne Frank House

Click here for the Anne Frank House Website!
Anne Frank House is an independent non-profit with its own Board of Directors, providing permanent housing to individuals in 12 fully-furnished units owned or rented by Anne Frank House. Anne Frank House activities are financed by individual donations and grants, with in-kind support from Adas Israel.  Every year in November, the Anne Frank House mini walk helps raise needed funds.

Viewpoint: Anne Frank House is sterling local example
By Current News Staff Writer, Mary Cheh, June 21, 2017

Anne Frank House Recognized for 30 Years of Service
Written by Sue Ducat on 22 June 2017, Kol HaBirah

D.C. Council honors Anne Frank House for its 30th anniversary
June 29, 2017 By Justin Katz, Washington Jewish Week

Sukkot In Spring & Other Yachad Projects

Adas Israel Proudly partners with Yachad DC!
View Photos From Past Events Here
Each year, we assemble teams to renovate homes of area residents who are elderly and frail, disabled, or financially unable to tackle needed repairs on their own. Sukkot In Spring volunteers paint, do yard work; fix windows, leaking roofs, and rotting floors; and tend to inadequate bathrooms and faulty electrical systems. Contact: Lisa Kaneff,


SOME & Ezra Pantry

Click here for the SOME, INC (So Others Might Eat) Website!

View Photos of Adas Volunteers at SOME, July 29
View Photos From SOME Memorial Day 2016

Throughout the year, Adas Israel collects non-perishable food for distribution to SOME, INC (So Others Might Eat), a nonprofit, interfaith organization. Throughout the year, we also sponsor and serve meals at SOME's dining room as well as collect new and gently used winter coats from November through February. SOME volunteers contact: Sharon Burka,, Ezra Food Pantry contact: Healey Sutton,


N Street Village

Click here for the N Street Village Website!
View Photos From Past Events Here

For more than 30 years, Adas Israel has been involved with N Street Village. Adas volunteers prepare monthly meals for 30 women at the shelter. We also help prepare and serve Christmas dinner to the women who participate in N Street Village's programs and we sing holiday songs with them. Contact: Ruth Kleinrock,


Friendship Place

Friendship Place's mission is to empower people experiencing or at risk of homelessness to attain stable housing and rebuild their lives. Their goal is to end homelessness in Washington, DC, and to establish a sustainable model which can be replicated across the nation. Adas Israel has a longstanding partnership with Friendship Place. For the past several years we have been the largest contributor to the annual backpack campaign, and a participant in the Winter Warmth clothing drive. We are proud to partner with Friendship Place. For more information, contact Joel Fischman.

Peoples Congregational United Church of Christ (Peoples Church)

View Photos From Past Events Here.

For 11 years, Adas Israel and Peoples Church have been partnering and “joining hands across the park.”  Each year, we honor the memory and spirit of Martin Luther King with a weekend that features social action partners as guests. We also help members of their Food Pantry with their annual Thanksgiving & Christmas project, packing food bags for distribution to low income residents of DC. Holiday Food Packing contact: Jamie Butler,


Reading Partners

Click here for the Reading Partners Website!

Adas Israel participates with Reading Partners, a nationwide literacy empowerment program that trains volunteers to provide one-on-one tutoring to children attending under-resourced schools who are struggling with reading.  Please consider joining 25 other Adas members to become a Reading Partners tutor! It only takes an hour of your week (or more if you choose!) to make a difference in the life of a child struggling to read. To learn more about the organization and to sign up to volunteer here. Please email Lois Fingerhut with any and all questions.


Patricia Handy Place for Women

3rd Sundays from 6:30 – 8pm Register Here

Join YP@AI as we give back to the DC community! Every 3rd Sunday, 8 – 10 volunteers will serve dinner at The Patricia Handy Place for Women, run by N Street Village. N Street Village is one of the top organizations in the District that works with women who have been homeless. Oprah Winfrey recently gave a surprise $1 million to the organization. Contact: Aviva Weinstein, or Amanda Deane Sass,


Photo Gallery

Thu, July 9 2020 17 Tammuz 5780