Social Justice Issue

55% of 4th graders read below grade level. 43% of SF public high school students do NOT graduate. The nation-wide average for high school graduation is 70.6%. 75% of those on welfare and 68% of those arrested are illiterate. 54% of all teachers have limited English proficient (LEP) students in their classrooms, yet only 1/5 feel adequately prepared to teach them.


Jewish Response to Literacy

"Do not let him slip until he falls completely, for then it will be difficult to raise him; rather, strengthen him as he begins to fall." (Rashi, Leviticus 25:35 Cf. Torat Kohanim, Sifre Behar, Chapter 5)

"For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will fill you with joy." (Proverbs 2:10)


Tutor with Back on Track

An interfaith collaborative effort between Third Baptist Church and Congregation Emanu-El. Provide long-term tutoring and mentoring to underserved youth in San Francisco at Third Baptist Church, 1399 McAllister Street, Monday – Thursday 3:30 – 5:30 pm or Tuesday – Thursday 6:00 – 8:00 pm. Email Regina Herbert, Membership Coordinator, or call (415) 346-9316.

Jewish Coalition for Literacy (JCL)

JCL tutors provide one-on-one reading support for struggling readers (grades K-3) from low-income homes. To become a JCL tutor, you must attend an initial three-hour training and orientation session (see sign-up schedule below). No previous tutoring experience is necessary!

Volunteers typically work one-on-one with a child or provide read-aloud sessions for small groups. JCL tutors are asked to make a commitment of one-hour per week for the duration of the school year, but many find they wish to do much more!

To sign up or ask questions, contact, Bay Area Director and Emanu-El Congregant Randi Dodick Fields (415) 369-9978 x102,

Upcoming Volunteer Training Sessions:

San Francisco:
December 11, 2014 – Sherith Israel, 1-4pm
January 8, 2015 – JCCSF – 5:30-8:30 

January 19, 2015 – Oshman Family JCC, 10a-1pm 


  • Are you a lifelong learner? If you are not a professional teacher, what can your role be to teach your skills and knowledge to those in our community?
  • How does participating in this type of service reflect the values of Judaism, social justice, and human rights?
  • How are you evaluating or processing your experiences in order to grow, or at least understand them better?
  • Do you recall a specific occurrence from your service that involved some degree of conflict/difficulty? How did you deal with that?
  • Did your service empower the recipient to become more self-sufficient?
  • In today's world there are millions of people slipping and millions more who have already fallen completely. Knowing this, and keeping Rashi's commentary in mind, how can we help those in recovery or prevent more people from struggling? How does this idea connect with Tikkun Olam?
    For inquiries regarding any of the above, please contact Community Engagement Director Sandy Rechtschaffen at (415) 751-2541 x 177

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Phone: (415) 751-2535
Fax: (415) 751-2511