Co-Chaired by Tzedek Council Member Nancy Levine and Congregant Marissa Wertheimer
The Human Rights Working Group focuses on a variety of issues, including racial justice, refugee resettlement, ending gun violence, and LGBTQ. Keep reading for more information.
To get involved, please fill out the Tzedek Council Volunteer Form.
Questions? Please contact Monica Pevzner at firstname.lastname@example.org (415) 751-2541 x 124
- Resettling Refugees: More than half of all refugees came from Syria, Afghanistan, and Somalia. These three nations were the source of 4.9 million, 2.7 million, and 1.1 million refugees, respectively over the last 18 months.
- Ending Gun Violence: Every day, 89 people die from gun violence with murders and suicides being the main reason (31 murdered, 55 kill themselves, 3 other causes).
- Racial Justice: Between the diminishing numbers of people of color living in San Francisco, the public school system deficits, the ongoing lack of equal opportunities, lack of equal police protection, and mass incarceration for nonviolent offenses– racial justice is an issue that affects all of us in the Bay Area. We Jews know all too well what it feels like not to be protected and treated as equal citizens with equal opportunity. Building on the great Black-Jewish partnership of the civil rights movement, Congregation Emanu-El continues to strive to be a leader in making our community and country a more equitable place for all.
- LGBTQ: Certain LGBTQ rights vary by state. While California and San Francisco have the most progressive laws to protect the rights of the LGBTQ community, there is an opportunity to do advocacy work for other states that do not fully support LGBTQ rights.
Human Rights are an integral part of the faith and tradition of Judaism. Jews have struggled for freedom from oppression and discrimination in the modern era and work to advance the cause of human rights for all persons. We have a long-standing dedication to the advancement and protection of rights and freedoms for all.
The Human Rights group has been partnering with other faith organizations, such as the Presbyterians, Grace Cathedral, and a congregant from a Church of Latter Day Saints Ward in Oakland. We are called “Interfaith Welcome: Bay Area Refugee Support.” Research has shown that cuddly stuffed animals provide solace to children coping with loss. Together we ask for your donation to buy teddy bears for refugee children impacted by the humanitarian crisis in Syria.
Our goal is to deliver 5,000 teddy bears to the refugee camps in Jordan in early 2017, assisted by the Bay Area charity, Caring for Children (www.caringforchildren.org) and the Common Bond Institute ( www.cbiworld.org). If you’d like to give this gift, you can learn more here.
Refugees are mostly in Contra Costa County – Martinez, Concord, and Antioch with JFCS-East Bay
- Provide Foster Families for Catholic Charities “refugee orphans.”
- Provide Housing for LGBTQ refugees in San Francisco (2 -3 months stay) while they get settled.
- Support the effort by tutoring, helping with public transportation, being a friend, shopping, among other activities.
- Job Networking, such as providing refugees with leads into companies that have an opening in which a skilled refugee could get work (via our congregants). JFCS-East Bay can provide us job skills of refugees as well as what type of jobs that are able to do.
Community Engagement Opportunities
- Provide welcome kits for refugee families (includes: soap, shampoo, hand towels, TP, among other things).
- Donate $75 gift cards.
- Package the two together.
- Make a drop off supplies and select a day/time to package it and get it to JFCS-East Bay.
- Potentially include a Teddy Bear for Catholic Charity Foster kids and JFCS-East Bay kids.
- Upcoming: Teddy Bear Campaign for Congregants and Interfaith Partners. The Human Rights group will launch a direct campaign for funding teddy bears for refugees in refugee camps later this year.
Unity Group: Congregation Emanu-El works together with First African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Zion Church to sponsor an African American Jewish Unity Group that meets monthly. The purpose of the group is twofold: First, to create opportunities for members of the African American community and Jewish community to come together and deepen relationships between members of our community. Second, to identify a project or projects to increase racial justice in our Bay Area community. If you are interested in joining the Unity Group as a congregant, please contact Rabbi Beth Singer’s assistant, Saundrah Anjali.
We are excited to have congregants both lead and partner in numerous initiatives in the realm of racial justice. Stay tuned for more opportunities to get involved.
Ending Gun Violence:
- Partnered with the SF Brady Campaign and held a film screening for “Making a Killing” in May 2016.
- Further initiatives are being planned and will be announced later this year.
- Participate annually in the SF Gay Pride Parade in June.