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 SOCIAL JUSTICE PROGRAMS

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. Our efforts help 40-50 students-in-need at two schools in Highland Park.

Backpack Blessings is dependent on volunteers who give of their time once a month to pack and deliver food. Members and guests are welcome. Learn more and volunteer for Backpack Blessings:

Backpack Blessings Sign-Up Genius

Donations are a great way to help too! $5 feeds one child for one weekend. $25 feeds five children for one weekend. $140 feeds one child for the entire school year. To make a donation directly to Backpack Blessings, choose Backpack Blessings as your donation fund.

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 homelessness 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.

Questions? Contact Dana Garbarski at dana.garbarski@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 CEL Art Fair in April.

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 two programs: continuing educational workshops for A Safe Place clients, and the donation and construction of an outdoor shed, and we are actively seeking volunteers.

Why is continuing education for clients a need?
Many clients are consumed with their trauma and fleeing their abuser, so consequently some of their educational needs fall by the wayside. Staff at A Safe Place have identified budgeting, opening a bank account, and understanding special education and IEPs as high priority education topics for their clients. We will be developing curriculum and creating workshops surrounding these topics.

Specifically, we are seeking out a speech therapist, occupational therapist, and physical therapist to educate the clients on developmental milestones and when to seek help. We are also actively seeking a teacher, school administrators or even a temple member who just understands this area, based on personally navigating the special education system. And for the topics on budgeting and opening a bank account, we are seeking a temple member who works for a bank or financial institution, or someone with good communication skills and an interest in giving a talk in this area.

Why are we building a shed?
The existing shed at A Safe Place is old, run down, in a poor location, and currently not being used. By building a new shed in a new location, the clients and staff can store tools, salt for winter and other seasonal items. The Social Justice Committee in partnership with the Brotherhood plans to build the shed, and we are seeking 4-6 additional volunteers.

To learn more, and if you would like to get involved in either project, please contact Ariel Silver at 312-882-7950 or arielsilver13@gmail.com.