Social Action

Temple Rodef Shalom dedicates itself…fully, without reservation, boldly…to the work of social justice. We get our hands dirty. Whether it’s breaking down two tons of beans and rice into family-size portions…or sounding the shofar outside the office of a legislator to petition for support…we get it done. Through advocacy and activism, working collaboratively with interfaith partners, and galvanizing a small army of volunteers, we repair the world in tangible, measurable ways.

Do you find yourself asking, “What can I do?” The answer is, “Plenty.” We’ll help you get started. A broken world demands our courage.

For more information or to participate in any advocacy or service programs, please reach out to Social Action.

Advocacy

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Social action has been an integral part of congregational life since the founding of Temple Rodef Shalom in 1962.

Please read our Social Action Blog for the latest updates on our Advocacy efforts.

We advocate for the rights of immigrants, refugees, and asylum-seekers at the local, state, and federal levels in conjunction with HIAS and other Jewish policy organizations

TRS is an active member of Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement. VOICE is a nonpartisan coalition of over 50 faith communities in Northern Virginia working together to build power for social change. VOICE unites people across lines of race, class, religion, and political party to take action on issues like affordable housing, decriminalization of mental health, and immigrant rights.

Channel your passion and take action on climate change by working on national and local policy reforms with other Jews and our interfaith allies in NoVA. We also provide tips on how to reduce your family’s carbon footprint.

TRS congregants join the Jewish Community Relations Council in an annual bus trip to Richmond to lobby for matters important to our Jewish community. We meet with our State Senators and Delegates and share with them the Jewish community’s top concerns.

In honor of the late Rabbi Richard Sternberger and his dedication to and passion for social justice, TRS presents an annual award to an organization in the community that has contributed to social justice. The Committee presents the award at our annual Social Action Shabbat. A few previous recipients include Lazarus At The Gate, Share, Yachad, Falls Church Housing Corporation, Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy, and the Capital Area Immigrants Rights (CAIR) Coalition.

This annual service celebrates the role of social action in our lives and community. The Social Action Committee and Green Team welcome the activist in all of us and representatives of the recipient of the annual Rabbi Sternberger Social Justice Award to a vegetarian potluck dinner. The Shabbat service that follows honors the awardee and the temple’s ongoing social action contributions.

TRS participates in Every Voice, Every Vote: The Reform Movement’s Civic Engagement Campaign and works with other non-partisan civil rights groups to increase voter participation. 

TRS clergy and lay leaders have led and created educational programming including, “Unheard Histories,” about how race has shaped our local neighborhoods as well as “Dialogue on Racial Equity,” an interactive small group conversation on structural racism, bias, and white privilege. We also work with interfaith and civil rights organizations on a variety of racial justice issues, such as criminal system reform.

Service Projects

In addition to Social Action programs, Rodef Shalom also offers social service opportunities: addressing hunger, homelessness, and support for local asylum-seeking immigrant families

Volunteers provide assistance to families resettling locally from Central America, Afghanistan, and the Middle East. Contact refugeesupport@templerodefshalom.org.

Each year, on Yom Kippur, we collect food supplies to stock the shelves at the Share, Inc. McLean location, which serves low-income residents in our area. At this time of year the pantry’s shelves are almost bare, and Share relies heavily on the generosity of TRS congregants to provide the bulk of their food for the next three to four months.

Bi-monthly neighborhood volunteer collection program for a local food pantry of non-perishable items and toiletries.

Each month, we collect food and other items for area food pantries and shelters (and sometimes other groups if we receive a specific request) with our Mitzvah of the Month program. The receiving agency and the types of items are announced in the weekly e-newsletter and monthly Connection publication.

Fifteen TRS volunteers volunteer for a 90 min shift at the Arlington Food Assistance Center warehouse sorting donated items and bagging bulk beans and rice into portions for families in need.

During the month of December, the Social Action Committee offers multiple opportunities for service and charitable activities appropriate for children and adults.

Stream clean-ups, tree plantings, invasive plant pulls, and tending the Temple’s native plant beds are just some of the ways Temple members take care of our beautiful planet!