Temple Jeremiah is a community of people known for our commitment to healing the world through social justice initiatives and award-winning programs. We have become a sought-after resource by other organizations for help on how to be successful with social justice efforts.

We have created a number of highly engaging Social Justice Programs, often in partnership with social service agencies, government departments, schools and more. There are interesting, educational, spiritual and rewarding opportunities for Temple Jeremiah families to get involved with our Social Justice programs. It’s easy to volunteer! Just sign up with the Sign Up Genius links noted below or reach out to the program contact.


Temple Jeremiah is proud to participate in Backpack Blessings, a program that helps children stay nourished outside of the walls of a school building!

Imagine being hungry and not having enough to eat. Backpack Blessings feeds children who are never sure where they will get their next meal. We help children stay nourished over weekends by sending them home from school on Fridays with a bag full of food. Each backpack contains enough food for two breakfasts, two lunches/dinners, and two snacks.

Backpack Blessings is dependent on volunteers who give their time once a month to pack and deliver food. Members and guests are welcome.

Sign up to help pack and deliver the bags here!

For the Feed the Hungry program, we pack hundreds of bag lunches to donate to those in need. It takes place the first Sunday of every month. You can help us make lunches at Temple, make lunches at home, deliver the lunches, grocery shop and more! Learn more and volunteer for Feed the Hungry:

Feed the Hungry Sign-Up Genius

To help our children experience Tikkun Olam, our Religious School gets involved with making the Feed the Hungry lunches during class.

The Eat and Be Well program is a hospital-based food pantry that provides fresh produce and lean meats to food insecure outpatients. We purchase and distribute 1,600 pounds of food a month for the EABW Medical Food Pantry. With the healthy food we donate and the recipes we provide, patients have lost weight and some were even able to go off diabetes medication.

Volunteers are needed for the first and third Tuesday of each month, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. to pack and distribute food at West Suburban Hospital in Oak Park. Learn more and volunteer for Eat and Be Well:

Eat and be well sign-up genius

Questions? Contact Laurie Mahler at Mahlerfamily@sbcglobal.net or 847-815-7225.

Temple Jeremiah is a participating member of Family Promise, a national organization that helps families experiencing housing insecurity to achieve sustainable independence. These families are like ours, but circumstances have brought them to a point of financial crisis. Temple Jeremiah is a founding member of Family Promise Chicago North Shore, a coalition of interfaith houses of worship that host these families on a rotating basis.

Temple Jeremiah will be serving as a host for Family Promise from December 25th – January 1st.

Are you looking for a meaningful volunteer opportunity to do with your family and/or friends over winter break? Volunteering for Family Promise gives you the opportunity to bring food and share dinner with families experiencing housing insecurity while they stay at Temple Jeremiah.

We need your help in three key ways!

Please use the link below to sign up to:

  1. Bring and share a meal
  2. Stay overnight
  3. Shop for groceries

Family Promise Sign-Up Genius

Questions? Contact Beth Wechsler at bethwechsler@gmail.com.

Thanks for your help!

Temple Jeremiah has partnered with Whittier to develop a needs-driven action plan to support this K-5 school, serving over 650 students in one of the lowest income school districts in Northern Illinois. Our Temple community generously gives time, school supplies, school uniforms, winter coats, Box Tops for Education and other donations to help these wonderful kids throughout the year.

Could you imagine a child you know not having clothes for school, school supplies, help with homework or a winter coat?

  • Not having appropriate clothing for school?
  • Starting school without a pencil, crayons or a folder?
  • Having no one at home to help with reading or homework?
  • Going into the cold, winter months without a warm coat, mittens, or hat?

These are everyday challenges for the Whittier Elementary School children that Temple Jeremiah helps remedy. Each week our congregants volunteer or “coach” Whittier children in need with our 3R’s Coaches Program. The 3R’s program is a win-win! The kids love getting coached and the volunteers love getting to coach them.

Interested in becoming a “coach” at Whittier? Contact Lori Kash at lorikash12@gmail.com or 847.612.4998.

Box Tops for Education
Consumer product companies sponsor this donation program for schools by placing a Box Tops for Education emblem on the packaging of select items. The emblems can be cut from the packaging and redeemed for a $.10 each donation for a school, such as Whittier Elementary. Visit Box Tops for Education to learn more and find the selected products. Temple Jeremiah has a collection box in the office for your Box Tops.

Temple Jeremiah is committed to being accessible and inclusive for all of its members and for the community within a Jewish context. Temple offers a welcoming environment and advocates for those of all ages with special needs by providing worship, educational and social experiences.

The special programs and holiday services are designed to be interactive, multi-sensory experiences that can be enjoyed by those of different ages and abilities. All family members and their friends and supporters are welcome to attend these programs.

Questions? Ideas for new programs? please contact Caren Brown at ceb994@gmail.com.

Each year Temple Jeremiah and the Center for Enriched Living partner to present a vibrant art fair showcasing and selling beautiful multimedia works of art created by the Center’s many talented artists. The Center for Enriched Living(CEL) exists so that people with developmental disabilities can be fully included in the community, achieve personal success and enjoy a good quality of life.

Watch the Temple calendar for the next CEL Art Fair.

Temple Jeremiah partners with Jewish Child and Family Services to provide support to congregants in the areas of mental health and social services.

Contact Temple Liaison Dawn Levin at 847.745.5450 for more information.

The Social Justice Committee is pleased to announce the formation of a new partnership with A Safe Place, the leading organization in Lake County dedicated to addressing domestic violence and human trafficking.

Why did we start this partnership?
Sadly, domestic abuse is prevalent: one in three women is affected by domestic violence, and one in seven men. Domestic abuse can include physical, emotional, psychological, verbal, economic, and sexual abuse. And it does not discriminate – all races, religions and demographics are affected.

Additionally, and unfortunately, human trafficking is on the rise. In Lake County alone, A Safe Place served fifty human trafficking victims from July 2020 – present.

Why did we select A Safe Place as a partner?
A Safe Place celebrated its 42nd year in service, with fifteen locations across Lake County. In the past twelve months alone, A Safe Place has served 31,000 clients in Lake County. According to their research, 94% of clients leaving their emergency shelter did not return to their abuser, and 91% of children in A Safe Place therapy showed reduction in trauma related to witnessing or experiencing abuse.

Services include a 24-hour crisis hotline, emergency shelter, transitional and permanent housing, individual and group therapy, legal advocacy, case management, art therapy, and education for teens on healthy relationships. To learn more, visit asafeplaceforhelp.org.

How can we, as temple members committed to Tikkun Olam, help support A Safe Place?

We are beginning our partnership with a few programs: a continuing education workshop for A Safe Place clients, the donation and construction of an outdoor shed, the donation and construction of a garden for the clients, and the donation of Thanksgiving baskets.

We are actively seeking volunteers to help with these projects. If you would like to get involved, please contact Dana Garbarski at dana.garbarski@gmail.com.

“You must love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.” Deuteronomy 10:19

As Jews, welcoming the stranger speaks to the core of who we are as a people. In 2017, the Social Justice Committee of Temple Jeremiah partnered with HIAS Immigration and Citizenship (part of JCFS-Chicago’s family of services) to resettle two sisters from the Democratic Republic of Congo. A bond was formed, and we now consider them “our sisters.” In 2021, we supported an Afghan family of five: a mother; a father; and three boys, ages two, five, and seven. Currently, we are sharing opportunities for one-on-one mentoring of refugees and asylees recently settled in the Chicago area with HIAS.

If you have questions, please reach out to Barb Miller.