Social Action at Temple Aliyah

“In a free society, although each person  may not be guilty, all are responsible"  

(Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel)

Inspired by the Jewish tradition of engaging in mitzvot dedicated to tikkun olam, the Social Action Committee offers opportunities to learn and inspire action, in response to Jewish issues of social justice that occur on local, national and international levels. We invite you and your family to join us in these projects.


2017-18 Programs 


Sukkot Coat Drive                                           Through October 2017
We will be collecting winter coats and thick hooded sweatshirts throughout the month of October, and delivering them to Generic Ministry Inc., a Needham-based charity that provides food and clothing to homeless individuals in the Boston area. 

Immigration and Refugees                             October 29 and January 7, 7 - 9 pm
Rabbi Carl Perkins, Gerry Rovner, J.D., and additional panelists

Immigration and refugees have become some of the hottest topics in our country today.  What are the legal, moral, and ethical issues involved in addressing these important and sensitive subjects?‎  Should we - and if so how can we - become engaged on these issues?  Offered by popular demand, this two-part class addresses the complex and emotional issues relating to immigration and refugees, and allows for open and honest conversation.  Rabbi Perkins will present the ethical Jewish perspective and fellow congregant and immigration attorney Gerry Rovner will brief us on the law.  Additional panelists will offer perspectives on working with refugees and what is involved in sponsoring refugee families.  Sponsored by Social Action Committee.


7 - 7:10 pm Introductions
7:10 - 7:30 pm Gerry Rovner:  Refugee 101 - a brief outline of who a refugee is
7:30 - 7:50 pm Jessica Cirone, Director of Refugee Services, Jewish Vocational Services.  She has worked in a refugee camp in Africa; worked for HIAS poor to joining JVS.  She will talk about what a camp is like; how a person is vetted to come to the US and some services that JVS provides to arriving refugees.
7:50 - 8:10 pm Michael and Diane Gardener, Co-Chairs, Temple Emanuel Social Action Committee.  What is involved in supporting a refugee upon arrival:  the day-to-day activities of supporting the new arrivals, 1:1 support
8:10 - 8:30 pm Rabbi Perkins on the Jewish perspective of welcoming the stranger
8:30 - 8:45 pm Q&A as a panel, with written questions from audience,  moderated by Janet Besser, Social Action co-chair
8:45 - 9:00 pm Closing remarks


Sort food items at the Greater Boston Food Bank (GBFB), the principal source of food for all the local food pantries and soup kitchens in the Commonwealth. We offer opportunities approximately 3-4 times per year. Contact Hal Bryer at [email protected] for more information.

Become a Reading Tutor at the Philbrick Elementary School in Roslindale as part of the Greater Boston Jewish Coalition for Literacy. Participation requires a commitment of one or two hours per week, plus training. Tutor training sessions are held at least twice each school year. Email Judy Varon at [email protected] or call 781-444-3812.

Collect low-sodium vegetable soup and raisins for the JF&CS Family Table food pantry in Waltham. Leave your donations in the boxes in the school lobby. We also help with food distributions around the Boston area on the first Sunday of each month. Contact Marla Simon at [email protected] to join us.

Engage with Temple Aliyah’s adopted unit of children, ages 7-13, at the Walker School on Central Avenue once a month from 4-6 pm. Volunteers must be at least 18. Contact Marty Lipman at [email protected] for more information.

We had an exciting schedule of events in 2016-17:


Kol Nidre Food Drive                                     Erev Yom Kippur 2016
Temple members are asked to bring non-perishable kosher foods to synagogue before the Kol Nidre service on Tuesday, October 11, 2016, which are then delivered to JF&CS Family Table for distribution.

Sukkot Coat Drive                                           Through Sukkot 2016
We will be collecting winter coats and thick hooded sweatshirts from September 18 to October 25, 2016, and delivering them to Generic Ministry Inc., a Needham-based charity that provides food and clothing to homeless individuals in the Boston area. 

Holiday Gift Drive                                                      December 2016
Annual collection of Hanukkah gifts for children served by JF&CS, as well as holiday gifts for children at the Walker School in Needham. If interested, please contact Sheryl Dubin at [email protected]

Project Ezra                          Christmas Eve & Christmas Day 2016
Temple volunteers help serve Christmas dinners at Boston-area homeless shelters. If interested, please contact Judy Lee.

Mitzvah Day                                              Sunday, January 22, 2017                             
Mitzvah Day is a Sunday morning that provides opportunities to engage in Mitzvot that benefit others as well as offer education about a relevant social issue. Mitzvah Day will be integrated with our religious school program and will provide activities for adults, pre-school and school-age children and teenagers.   

Movie Morning                                                            April 30, 2017
An opportunity to view a movie/documentary at the synagogue that explores in some depth a relevant social issue. Sunday movie morning has become an annual Social Action tradition. Previous movies have dealt with issues of poverty, food insecurity, homelessness, and service.

Walk for Hunger                                                            May 7, 2017
Join Team Aliyah for the Project Bread Walk for Hunger held on the first Sunday in May. Our team raised over $9,000 last year and will be looking to top that amount this year. You can participate by walking, fundraising, or pledging yourself. Please contact Rachel Weinstock at [email protected] to get involved.

Monthly meetings begin at 8 pm on Wednesdays. Check the TA calendar and the Social Action webpage for updated information, or contact Co-Chairs Janet Besser at [email protected] and Rachel Weinstock at [email protected].  



Related Resources

Mitzvah Centerpiece booklet
The social action committee developed this resource to provide information on what “mitzvah centerpieces” are, why people choose them, and how one can begin and execute the process. Mitzvah centerpieces may be used in lieu of other more expensive table centerpieces, such as flowers, to decorate tables at your special simcha. These centerpieces often contain goods (e.g., food pantry items, animal shelter necessities) that are then donated after your event to the charity of your choice. They demonstrate your awareness and commitment to social justice issues, decorate your tables, AND help others. Get the booklet here.

Donating Leftover Food
If you have leftover food and/or paper products from your simcha, and you are interested in donating them for immediate use by our hungry and homeless neighbors in the Boston area, please consider donating to Bristol Lodge Soup Kitchen. Large quantities of food (i.e., food that will feed at least 15-20 people) will be picked up by Bristol Lodge staff; otherwise, leftovers may be dropped off at their facility in Waltham. Please find all the details on the flyer in the temple kitchen or download it here

Other social action activities at Temple Aliyah, which are described on their own webpages:

  • Strengthen our bond with Israel: Kesher Committee
  • Provide caring support to Temple members in times of need, including knitting healing shawls for those who are ill and/or undergoing some form of treatment: Hesed Committee 


Temple Aliyah Welcomes You!

Temple Aliyah is an egalitarian Conservative congregation in Needham, Massachusetts, with a warm and inviting atmosphere. We are a dynamic and diverse community that embraces people of all ages, backgrounds and lifestyles. With the guidance of Rabbi Carl Perkins, we encourage our members to enrich their Jewish lives, to enhance their Jewish identities, and to engage in lifelong learning.

Join us for Shabbat services and schmooze during kiddush following services. Check out the exciting Temple Tots programming for our youngest members. Attend the Rabbi's Adult Education classes. Participate in one of our many Social Action projects. Become a member of our Sisterhood or Men's Club.    

Not a member? We invite your family to join our family!

Join Us

Did you know...?

Did you know that Temple Aliyah is a member of Mayyim Hayyim, a beautiful mikveh in Newton? Did you know this entitles a limited number of congregants to a free immersion gift certificate? To learn more about the benefits and reasons behind an immersion, please visit the Mayyim Hayyim website. To schedule an immersion 1) request your immersion appointment online  2) wait 24 hours for a response, 3) show up at the designated time, and 4) let them know you are a member of Temple Aliyah.

Want to learn more fun facts about Aliyah? Click here!

Shabbat and Weekday Services


Shabbat Morning Services  9:15 am
Sunday Morning Minyan* 9:00 am
Monday Morning Minyan   7:00 am
Weekday Evening Minyan 7:30 pm

* During the summer, minyan meets on Monday morning and on Tuesday and Thursday evenings.


Under the direction of our Adult Education Committee and as part of our commitment to lifelong learning, Temple Aliyah offers a wide range of opportunities for our members and others to enrich their Jewish lives throughout education.  Click here to see all of our current Adult Education offerings.

Sisterhood welcomes all women of our community, sharing our passion for Judaism, our families and ourselves. We invite you to learn more about becoming part of our amazing community. Whether you're looking for camaraderie, spiritual connection, social action, or the opportunity to get involved, Sisterhood is here for you.