Social Justice

"It's never too late, too early, or too often to give back and make the world a better place."
                                                                                                                           - Helen Diller z"l

We invite you to explore ways you can enrich your life and deepen your connection to Judaism and the Emanu-El community through the mitzvah of helping others.

Social Justice Request Form

Volunteer Opportunities


Volunteer Shoppers Needed at San Francisco Food Bank

 Each Friday morning Emanu-El congregants select and purchase food at the San Francisco Food Bank to be distributed on Mondays at the ONLY Healthy Children Pantry in the Richmond District at Roosevelt Middle School. Emanu-El’s pantry would not exist without this committed group of volunteers. Because shoppers never fill a shift by themselves, we are seeking to enlarge our volunteer pool and need your help!


  • Shop 1 time every 4-6 weeks on Friday morning between 8:00-9:00 am
  • Volunteer for a minimum of 6 months
  • Stay within the weekly budget
  • Only purchase healthy foods that you would eat yourself

To find out more contact Lead shopper, Donna Neumark at

Donate a Book for an Exhibition at CJM

February 24 - March 9, 2015, Temple Emanu-El Foyer

Have a book that you think others would enjoy? Share your favorite read with someone else by donating it to The Library of Particular Significance, a project of the Contemporary Jewish Museum. These donations will be used to create a lending library that will exist within the museum throughout the run of the show. Museumgoers will be able to checkout the books. Following the exhibition, all of the books in the library’s collection will be donated to the Friends of the San Francisco Public Library Readers Bookstore.

Would-be book donors can write brief inscriptions in the books they donate, as well as fill out a donor information card. The biographical details you provide will be used to categorize and organize the library’s collection. The cards will be placed in the library’s card catalogue. 

Learn more about this Contemporary Jewish Museum Exhibit

One Warm Coat - Donate a Coat this Winter

January 11 - March 11, 2015, Temple Emanu-El Foyer

It looks like there's a cold winter ahead! The Farmers' Almanac forecast for this winter predicts below-normal temperatures for three-quarters of the country. That means that too many children and adults will be facing Fall and Winter without a warm coat. Of course, you can help change that. Youth and Family Education is organizing our own One Warm Coat drive for the second year in a row and St Anthony's will be our designated recipient.

Learn more

Volunteer for Project Homeless Connect 58

Wednesday, March 11, 6:30 am - 6:00 pm, Bill Graham Civic, 99 Grove Street

Come lend a hand where you are needed most! Volunteers are still needed for PHC 58 and you can volunteer at many times during the day. Please consider one of the following shifts:

Volunteer Central from 7:30 am - 11:00 am
Street Outreach from 8:30 am - 1:00 pm
Morning Set Up from 6:30 am - 10:00 am
Afternoon Break Down from 3:30 pm - 6:00 pm

Sign up now

Volunteer to serve on the SF Civil Grand Jury

Application deadline, May 22, 2015

San Francisco Superior Court is seeking volunteers for the Civil Grand Jury. The Civil Grand Jury is the "watchdog" for the City and Country of San Francisco. The Civil Grand Jury investigates the operations of City government, including officials, departments and agencies. Each year, the Civil Grand Jury issues reports based on its findings. Those reports are heard before the Board of Supervisors. 

The Civil Grand Jury will serve from July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2016.

Learn more

World Zionist Organization Elections

Right now, Israel and the Jewish people are at a crucial moment in history. Our political and spiritual leaders in Israel need our help to determine the future of the Jewish State and the soul of the Jewish people.  Stand for a better Israel by casting your vote!

Voting in the WZO elections is now OPEN, and you can make your voice heard by voting right now! We need all the ARZA votes we can get. Want to know more? 

Learn more! 

JCRC Seeks Pro-Bono Attorneys and Translators

We have seen harrowing news about thousands of unaccompanied minors fleeing gang violence in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. Children of all ages, including toddlers,  who endure horrific experiences on their journey to the United States. They come in hopes of finding their families and searching for a life without fear and violence. Once in the United States they need legal assistance as they go through the scary and confusing process of trying to get refugee status in order to stay in the United States.

As Jews, our own legacy as immigrants, frequently as refugees, coupled with our values of tikkun olam and welcoming the stranger propel us to take action. Hundreds of kids right here in the Bay Area need our help as they await deportation hearings in court.

Our partners at Legal Services for Children need pro bono attorneys and translators. Please email for more details.

Provide Respite Care at the Star Community Home in the Richmond District!

Tuesdays 7:00-8:00 pm

The Star Community Home is an 18-month project to address the critical community need of providing housing and services to homeless single mothers with children at the former convent at Star of the Sea Parish in San Francisco. Spend quality time with the Children of Star Community Home while allowing mothers some time for themselves. If you are experienced and willing to work with infants, toddlers and young children, then this is the volunteer opportunity you’ve been waiting for! Contact Diana Contreras at (415) 379-8690.

Learn More

back on trackTutor with Back on Track

Monday – Thursday 3:30 – 5:30 pm OR Tuesday – Thursday 6:00 – 8:00 pm
Third Baptist Church, 1399 McAllister Street


The year 2014 marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of Back on Track, a partnership that originated when Rabbi Robert Kirschner of Congregation Emanu-El and Rev. Amos C. Brown of Third Baptist Church, met during a 1987 civil rights march in Alabama against racial violence and the Klu Klux Klan.  Inspired by the march, they agreed to form a unique partnership and build bridges of opportunity and academic enrichment for students in San Francisco. Brown and Kirschner recognized that a disproportionate number of African American students were performing below grade level in San Francisco's public schools.  The partnership they created was the genesis of the first pulpit exchange and of Back On Track, a tutoring program that promotes both academic achievement on a one‐on‐one basis for students who are otherwise not well served and a mentoring relationship.

The unique partnership has crossed religious and cultural differences to build bridges of opportunity for K-12 students. As a non-denominational community based program, Back on Track has served over 3,000 young people from diverse multicultural populations throughout San Francisco.

Email Regina Herbert, Membership Coordinator, at or call (415) 346-9316.

Learn More

Volunteer to Cook Sunday Dinners at G-House 

Sundays, 5:00 – 7:00 pm

This Larkin Street Youth Services site in the Richmond District, helps former foster youth and homeless youth between the ages of 18 and 24 to make successful transitions into adulthood and into living independently. Each Sunday, congregants from Emanu-El plan, cook, serve, and eat dinner for and with the G-House residents. 

Contact Sandy Rechtschaffen to sign up.

Hebrew Free Loan

Need a little help? Hebrew Free Loan provides interest-free loans to Jewish residents in Northern California needing assistance or pursuing life-long dreams. Loan categories include: student, adoption, business, first-time home buyer, unemployment, emergency, debt consolidation, and more. Since 1897, Hebrew Free Loan has provided vital assistance to more than 100,000 people. By offering loans rather than charity, Hebrew Free Loan helps people become, and remain, self-sufficient.

Learn More  


© 2012 Congregation Emanu-El 2 Lake Street, San Francisco, CA 94118
Phone: (415) 751-2535
Fax: (415) 751-2511