April 23, 2014   23 Nisan 5774
Temple Emanuel -- Sarasota, FL
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As a tenet of faith, we are committed to social action. We serve God by serving our fellow human beings. Our Torah commands us to provide food for the hungry, and seek justice for the oppressed. Our Prophets compel us to look beyond ourselves and care for the community. This is our sacred duty.

Throughout the year, our temple members come together for acts of righteousness. The Social Action Committee organizes a wide variety of programs. Please see this passage for a sampling of what we do. And then come join us.

This is a day of community service with a dozen different projects at temple and around the city. It is the largest gathering of the year of temple members outside of the High Holidays. All generations participate and the spirit is high!

On this one day, teams of members will visit the elderly, clean the environment, repair a cemetery, collect clothing and other goods, write letters for soldiers, make sandwiches for the women’s shelter, and organize a carnival for homeless families with children. Even our youngest tots get involved by decorating cookies and delivering them to firefighters. It is the most wonderful day of the year.


We host several speakers each year on matters of political interest. Recent topics have included Israel, the environment, and a discussion of the proposed new baseball stadium with the mayor of Sarasota. The temple has a long history of candidate forums prior to elections.

 

Our annual Yom Kippur food drive is a tremendous undertaking. We collect over 3000 pounds of food and generous monetary donations for the All Faiths Food Bank. The children distribute bags at the end of services on Rosh Hashanah, and people respond. The collections fill our lobby and social hall.

With this year’s economic downturn, we have instituted an ongoing food drive to support Jewish Family and Children’s Service to help meet the growing need.

 
 


Our temple started the Save Darfur movement in Sarasota. Members of our Social Action Committee organized the first rally in 2007 by creating a coalition of dozens of churches and civic groups. The coalition now exists as its own entity, and we are grateful to be part of a larger movement.


 

The Social Action committee maintains the tzedakah box in the lobby and makes quarterly distributions to local charities, most often the food bank.


Each year our rabbi and members participate in the Feast of Abraham with members of the local Islamic Society and St. Martha Catholic Church. This is an evening of dining and dialogue, with a shared goal of peace and tolerance.

The temple also welcomes the members of St. Martha to join us for a Friendship Luncheon. This day features more dining and chatting, plus a speaker on a pertinent topic that varies each year. Recent topics have included interfaith marriage and the environment.

 

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