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Values in Action

A “mitzvah is where God and humanity meet.” – Abraham Joshua Heschel

Through direct services, community organizing and advocacy, we want to make a difference in the lives of others: our own members at their time of need, the under served in our communities, and the common good. From one-time opportunities to long term volunteering, from working with Temple members to engaging in larger coalitions, we believe we can begin Tikun Olam, to repair a broken world. 

Join Temple Isaiah in our mission to engage in acts of Tikun Olam throughout the year by making a positive impact on hunger, homelessness, education and more. These are just a sample of the opportunities to help those in need in our community and our neighborhood.

Your Values in Action Leadership,

Volunteer Chairs:
Jamie Gracer, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Leslie Shafton, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Rabbi LeVine, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)


Education and Youth Programs at Temple Isaiah
Social action and social justice are an integral part of our education and youth programs at Temple Isaiah.

The youngest members of our community learn about and practice being part of a caring community through the Angel Network, Adopt-A-Preschool, Mitzvah days, and more at Gan Ilan preschool.

Our Kulanu families with children in grades K-6, Camp Kefli campers in grades K-8 and youth groups (Anachnu, Simcha and LAFTY) participate in local ViA Isaiah opportunities, such as The Urban Farmers and Winter Nights Shelter, and initiatives with a broader scope through NFTY - The North American Federation of Temple Youth.

Our JQuest program for kids Pre-K-7th grade is rich with social action and social justice education and engagement. Please click here to learn more about Tikkun Olam at JQuest. Each JQuest class also helps our Temple Isaiah community directly through the Angel Network, Buildings and Grounds Committee, and more.

7th graders are immersed in social action throughout the year with innovative Mitzvah Corp opportunities including; Save The Bay, Glide Memorial Church, JFCS, a 7th grade fund grant making curriculum, and more.

Our b’nai mitzvah teens work closely with our clergy on a meaningful mitzvah project, as an important part of of their right of passage into adulthood.

10th graders go to Washington D.C. each year as part of the Religious Action Center.

11th and 12th graders now have the opportunity to participate in a Tzedek (Justice) internship to enhance their leadership skills learned during the 7th grade Mitzvah Corp program.

For more information, please contact .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) and .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Jewish Coalition for Literacy
Can you read this? That means you can help a child who can’t. In just one hour a week you can help a student learn to love reading. Take part in this rewarding tikkun olam program and help a child succeed. Join the Jewish Coalition for Literacy as a volunteer reading tutor and make a difference in a child’s life.

Register for our next free tutor training workshop at on Monday, December 4, 2017 from 1:00 - 4:00 pm in the Adult Lounge

Tutors Needed in Pleasant Hill, Concord, Richmond and El Cerrito . Tutoring is usually for classes K thru 3rd between 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. However, tutoring may be requested after school hours. 
Contact: Judy Pam Bycel at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)


High Holy Day Food Drive for Hunger in Contra Costa County:
Each year our High Holy Day food drive helps to provide over 5,000 pounds!  Donations needed are nutrient-rich, shelf-stable foods in cans, plastic containers and boxes within labeled expiration dates.
Contact: Nadav Rave at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Contra Costa Food Bank
Please check your mailbox for the annual Turkey Drive mailing each year to feed the hungry in our county during the holidays. Each year our congregations combined help raise over $100,000!

Loaves and Fishes
Loaves and Fishes of Contra Costa operates five dining rooms from Martinez to Oakley where it serves free hot lunch Monday-Friday. Its free food pantry distributes over a ton of groceries each week.
• Help Serve Meals - Join fellow TI congregants to prepare food for approx. 2 hours the 3rd Thursday of every month from 9:00-11:00 a.m. Work takes place at the catering kitchen at Loaves and Fishes in Pittsburg. 
Contact:  Phyllis Ceaser at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Contra Costa Emergency Shelter lunches
The 1 hour Mitzvah that feeds 65 people! JQuest sponsors a project that reaches out to the hungry in our own community. On several Sundays throughout the school year our JQuest families have the opportunity to work together in Temple Isaiah ‘s kitchen preparing lunches for an adult transitional shelter in Concord. This is a shelter where the lunch meal is not usually provided. We are the only agency providing lunch and our efforts are greatly appreciated. In addition, toiletry donations are always welcome and can be brought to the Temple Kitchen on the dates of the shelter lunch program. 

The Urban Farmers
The Urban Farmers focuses on feeding the hungry local produce harvested from backyard fruit trees and gardens. Donations go to local hunger relief agencies.
• Donate excess fruit by registering your trees on The Urban Farmers website: or call (415) 806-7005. Purchase a fruit tree from The Urban Farmers to feed future generations. Plant the tree on your property or donate it to a needy family.
• Join a harvest team and have fun doing light work outdoors to help Urban Farmers harvest backyard fruit. Help from home with important tasks, such as responding to e-mails or writing articles.
Contact:  Nadav Rave at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)


Contra Costa Interfaith Housing
CCIH’s mission is to provide permanent, affordable housing and vital support services to homeless and at-risk families and individuals in Contra Costa.
• School Supply Drive - Join fellow congregants for next summer’s school supply drive for 25 high school kids who are a part of CCIH.
• Tutoring for Homework Club:  Adult tutors are needed for children of all ages in the after school program.  CCIH Homework Club hours: Mo, Tu & Th. 2:30-5:00 p.m.; Wed. 1:00 -5:00 p.m.
• Quarterly Tenant Dinners: help prepare, deliver and serve dinner to Garden Park Apartment tenants for their tenant meeting. Approx. 25 adults and 10 kids.
• Projects to Repair and Refurbish the Facilities - help the staff of CCIH make minor improvements to the facilities - projects may include a clean up day, painting, a handyman day etc.
• One-time events and projects - garden and work projects; office volunteers for mailings; committee work for fund raising. 
Contact: Amy Faltz at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), (925) 932-4137

Project Hearth
Assists Shelter Inc. primarily by providing emergency funds to pay utility bills and/or short term rent to people at risk from becoming homeless.
Contact: Jill Douglas at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Mt. View Emergency Family Shelter
Serving homeless families with children in need of emergency housing, this shelter supports up to 13 families at any given time. Join the WOI as they provide nourishing dinners for the residents. Dates and details at
Contact: Gail Walden at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or Lynn Harrington-Gold at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

New Friends Refugee Resettlement Program
Temple Isaiah spearheaded the concept of creating Welcome Groups to assist the case managers of the JFCS-East Bay in settling new refugees coming to our community. We now are proud to launch interfaith welcome groups, including congregants from LOPC and the San Ramon Valley Islamic Center. Our mission is to help these individuals and families get through the inevitable culture shock and create an entirely new life here. Many of us have heard family stories of how difficult this process was to our own ancestors. We are so very lucky to be able to offer assistance and comfort
What evolves is a deep and lasting friendship between the Welcome Group and the refugee family. Extending help to strangers and newcomers is a deeply help Jewish value. Please join us. For more information, please email Jamie Gracer at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Multi-faith ACTION (Advocates & Communities Taking Initiative 4 Our Neighbors) Coalition
Multi-faith ACTION Coalition comprised of Contra Costa County residents working together to address the root causes of poverty through advocacy and public policy change.  Our shared values and our experiences as faith groups providing food, shelter and other services make us strong voices for those in need.

We are organized into task forces focused on key areas of poverty: Housing/Shelter, Food Security, Job & Economic Security, Health and Education. We also have committees working on budget, planning, communication, outreach to congregations etc.

Contact: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Details at

Interfaith Council of Contra Costa County Winter Nights Shelter
Temple Isaiah hosts the Winter Nights Shelter for homeless families with children each year during winter break. Hundreds of volunteers are needed for: set up/take down; meals and food; activities for kids; a Christmas celebration, and more. Practice gemilut chasadim, “acts of loving kindness,” by joining Temple members in this rewarding community mitzvah. Sign-ups begin each October at
Contact:Co-chairs Joanne Peterson and Sarah Landes .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Community of Care

Temple Isaiah’s Angel Network
The Angel Network’s mission is to assemble a group of volunteers who offer comfort and support to Temple members and their families in times of need. Volunteers receive the training necessary to engage in acts of loving kindness as they reach out to the Temple Isaiah community with helping hands and caring hearts. When a need arises the Angel Network can respond with: supportive phone calls and notes, providing meals, offering rides for appointments, errands and Temple events, visiting the sick in the hospital or home, ongoing friendly visits and healing circles.
Contact: Ruth Willen at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) and Jill Jacobson at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Neighbor to Neighbor Interfaith Coalition
Neighbor to Neighbor Interfaith Coalition is an on-going interfaith alliance with our neighboring faith communities of Lafayette Orinda Presbyterian Church and the San Ramon Valley Islamic Center and others.  Our focus is on learning about each other’s faith principles and worship, establishing strong connections between our communities, joining together for hands-on, direct-service efforts of social justice and speaking in one voice against incidents of prejudice that arise in Contra Costa County. We welcome your participation in this important and gratifying communal outreach.  If you would like to be part of Temple Isaiah’s Neighbor to Neighbor cohort, please contact Terri Bookbinder at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Reutlinger Community for Jewish Living
A 110,000 square foot multi-services facility in Danville that is home to 180 residents living in the Sukkat Shalom Skilled Nursing unit, the Assisted Living apartments, Tikvah Enhanced Care Center or Traditions Memory Care Center. Their mission is to “add life to years”.
• Join fellow TI members in volunteering your time and interests to run different fun activities with the residents.

Get Inspired. Get Involved. Make A Difference with Values in Action