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Tikkun Olam/Social Action

Tikkun Olam / Social Action

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

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.

Current & Upcoming Highlights

Homelessness: A Panel Discussion

Tenley-Friendship Library, 4450 Wisconsin Avenue NW

Tuesday, January 28th at 7PM

Join the Friends of the Tenley-Friendship Library and the DC Public Library for a panel discussion on homelessness.

Panelists will discuss causes and solutions to homelessness, the critical role outreach workers play in supporting people experiencing homelessness and ending homelessness for individuals, and how community members can be involved in advocacy efforts to end homelessness in the District.

Panelists include:

  • Jean Badalamenti, MSW, Health and Human Services Manager, DC Public Library
  • Alan Banks, Community Engagement Associate, Friendship Place
  • Antwan Gillis, Project Coordinator, Street Outreach Services, Friendship Place
  • Lara Pukatch, MA, Director of Advocacy, Miriam's Kitchen

Sponsored by the Friends of Tenley-Friendship Library and the DC Public Library


Capitol Area Immigrants' Rights (CAIR) Training

Sunday, February 9th from 1-2:30
Adas Israel

Interested in volunteering your time with immigrants in detention? Adas Israel is hosting a training session to prepare volunteers to visit immigrants in nearby detention centers. The training will be conducted by the CAIR  Coalition, which conducts regular visits at ICE detention facilities in Maryland and Virginia. CAIR needs volunteers to conduct intakes with detained adults to help them understand their legal options, to read messages to folks containing legal information, and to assist staff in conducting workshops and presentations. All new volunteers must attend a training session before volunteering on a jail visit.


When: Jail visits are full-day commitments. Volunteers may need to leave to DC between 5:30-7:30AM, depending on the facility, and should plan to return by 8PM. Visits take place Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays each month.

Where: Detention facilities in Virginia and Maryland, between 1 and 3.5 hrs from DC

Who: Volunteers must be over age 18, and have a valid visa, green card, or citizenship in the US. Spanish speakers are highly desired, but non-Spanish speakers are needed too. Volunteers who can go on multiple visits are preferred. No members of the media or government are permitted. No knowledge of immigration law is required.

If you are interested, please RSVP to Jackie Hoffenberg ( and complete a volunteer sign-up form and confidentiality agreement here.  


Tzedek DC Legal Help for People in Debt: Volunteer Training Opportunity 

Tuesday, February 18th at 12-1:15PM
Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, 1050 Connecticut Ave NW 

 Tzedek DC is a legal services nonprofit headquartered at the UDC David A. Clarke School of Law and focused on safeguarding the legal rights of low and moderate-income DC families facing debt-related difficulties. Tzedek DC believes these are civil rights issues because predatory lending and debt collection lawsuits have been concentrated in our communities of color and against immigrant families with ruinous consequences.   

Volunteers are being trained to represent clients from start to finish on issues involving, for example, medical debt, credit card debt, bank or car loans, credit history repair, identity theft and housing- related consumer cases. Volunteer attorneys help clients achieve sustainable solutions to debt and present loss of much-needed income.No charge to attend but an RSVP is required. RSVP to Tzedek DC’s Avodah Service Corps member, Rachel Sass, by Friday, February 14. Volunteers are required to complete one training session before taking cases. 


Spend President's Day with Adas at SOME

Monday, February 17 Register Here
Breakfast and Games: 6:30am - 10:15am
Lunch Shift: 10:30am - 1:15pm

Adas Israel volunteers will be returning to SOME on Monday February 17 for a full day of service. Please join us as we cook, prep, serve, chat and play games with SOME guests.  The breakfast and games shift is from 6:30 am to 10:15 am;  the lunch shift is from 10:30 to 1:15.  This is a great family activity and anyone 13 or older can participate.  The sign up is on the Adas web.  For questions, contact Sharon Burka at


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 mor 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?

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 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

Fri, January 24 2020 27 Tevet 5780