Social Justice


Tzedek Council

The Congregation Emanu-El Tzedek Council is a congregant, board, and clergy run committee charged with the task of raising our participation and impact in the social justice arena.

This Council will work toward:

- Formalizing a social justice/social action mechanism that allows for multiple methods of engagement (e.g.,   direct service, education, advocacy efforts, financial contributions, etc.).           

- Ensuring that social justice/social action is a pillar of our Temple, on par with Education and Worship, and seamlessly integrated with ongoing education, worship, and congregational activities.

Tzedek Council Members
Pictured Above, Left to Right, First Row: Gail Nebenzahl, Rabbi Beth Singer, Susan Cole, Alana Zavett Green, Lara Ettenson (Committee Chair) Julie Levine, Sandy Rechtchaffen. Second Row: Nancy Levine, Laura Mosson, Stacey Scott, Rabbi Jason Rodich, Corey Smith, Michelle Green, Laura Gross, Paul Zarefsky. Left to Right, Back Row: Ben Gold-Matejka, Melissa Koeingsberg, Alan Ovson, Michael Colvin, David Shostak. Not Pictured: Anthony Witte, Margeaux Wolberg, Stuart Oppenheim, David Levine.

Social Justice Request Form

Emanu-El and its congregants have a long history of Tikkun Olam, Repairing the World. We wish to share your good works with others. If you know of a congregant using their free time to make the world a better place, please fill out our form. This congregant could be one of our upcoming spotlights.

Volunteer Opportunities


Donate Toothbrushes and Toothpaste

September 30 - December 31, Temple Foyer

Next time you visit your dentist, please ask for a donation of supplies to help the homeless with their daily hygiene. Drop off donations in the bin in the Temple foyer.

All donations will be distributed during the Homeless Interfaith Shelter Dinners in January. Ask your dentist, orthodontist and periodontist to donate today!

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 2015 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 Tiffini Jones, Executive Director, at or call (415) 346-9316.

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

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.

Search Site:

Rabbi Beth Singer's Kol Nidre Sermon on Socail Justice and Racial Inequality


Rabbi Ryan Bauer's Yom Kippur Sermon on the Refugee Crisis


Hear From our Congregants 



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