Social Justice

At Central Synagogue

Nearly two thousand years ago Rabbi Tarfon said, "You are not required to complete the work, but neither are you free to absent yourself from it."

There is so much brokenness in our world that the task of repairing it seems nearly overwhelming. Nonetheless, we are called to take responsibility for the society in which we live. Though the task is great, the opportunity to make an impact is limitless. One need only take the first step.

Social justice is a core value of Judaism. Our community’s commitment to social justice in the world is an integral part of who we are at Central Synagogue. It is truly a way of life for our community and throughout the year we pursue justice in all its forms.

Upcoming Events & Opportunities

Breakfast Program

Thursdays & Fridays, 6:00-7:30am | Lese Lobby

The Breakfast Program, formerly known as the Caring Committee Feeding Program, is among Central Synagogue’s longest ongoing social justice projects. Originally conceived and implemented by longtime congregant Nat Shapiro in 1983, the Breakfast Program was started in response to Mayor Koch’s outcry for New York City’s religious institutions to respond to an exploding homeless and hungry problem. Today, many clients of the Breakfast Program are working poor who greatly appreciate and regularly rely on the warm, nutritious start to their day. Volunteers assemble every Thursday and Friday morning in Lese Lobby (Community House) to prepare and serve the most important meal of the day. A bag lunch is also handed out to clients. These lunches are prepared the prior evening as part of Central Synagogue’s Sandwich Making Program. Volunteers must be in the 6th grade or older; those under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult.

RSVP to Alan Herman: breakfast@censyn.org


English in Action

Thursdays, 10:30am-12:30pm | Community House

Volunteer tutors meet one-on-one each week with their assigned student for two hours of self-directed conversation. Those who are tutored may be students here for graduate studies, or spouses of UN or corporate employees, as well as immigrants hoping to obtain American citizenship. The tutors learn as much about their students’ countries and cultures as the students learn about the US. Lasting bonds are often formed between tutors and students. Long-time congregant Ros Harber, the daughter of a Hungarian immigrant who struggled to learn English as a teenager, has coordinated this program at Central for the last three decades in coordination with the English-Speaking Union, which helps foreigners in New York City feel at home with our language and culture.

Contact Ros Harber at eia@censyn.org


Sandwich Making

Wednesdays, Time varies | Atrium

Make sandwiches for the Breakfast Program, where along with serving a hot meal, clients are also offered a freshly prepared bag lunch. Please RSVP to volunteer. All ages welcome to participate; children must be accompanied by an adult.

Interested? For more information and to RSVP, contact Alan Herman at breakfast@censyn.org.


St. Xavier Soup Kitchen

Sunday, May 15, 2016 at 11:45am - 3:30pm | St. Francis Xavier Mission on 16th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues

Come join Central Volunteers as we prepare and serve meals together at the St. Francis Xavier Mission Soup Kitchen in Chelsea. Each month we will meet on a Sunday from 11:45 a.m. to 3:30 p.m and do vital work for the soup kitchen. All volunteers must be at least 14 years old, and groups of teenagers under 17 must be accompanied by an adult. To RSVP, e-mail us at soupkitchen@censyn.org.


Why Knot Knit Mondays

Alternate Mondays, 10:00am-12:00pm | Community House

Central’s knitters are busy creating beautiful pieces of clothing for New Yorkers in need. Extra hands are always welcome. Not sure how to knit? This is also a great way to learn!

Contact Michele Klausner at knitting@censyn.org for more information.


Central Volunteers at PS 140

3:30-5:30pm, See Below for Dates | Lower East Side

Join us on Tuesdays, twice a month at the after school program of PS 140 on the Lower East Side. Accessible by public transportation. During their after school homework help hours Central Volunteers work one on one with students between Kindergarten and Fifth Grade. Central Volunteers work with students from 3:30-4:30pm and from 4:30-5:30pm. Come join us for one hour, or for two. You do not need to have prior teaching experience; anyone can make a big difference through their participation. By joining the Central Volunteers at PS140 you will make an impact upon the students and certainly they will impact us and our community. Volunteers 15+ welcome.

RSVPs are required. To RSVP, please email afterschool@censyn.org.

Spring/Summer 2016 Dates:

April 12, 19
May 3, 31
June 7


Central Volunteers at Head Start

10:00-11:30am, See Below for Dates | PS 142, Lower East Side

Head Start offers educational programs for children of low-income households age 3 to 5, and a wide variety of opportunities and support services for their families. On site we work with the classroom teachers to provide extra attention and care for the students. Come ready to sit on the floor, read stories, work on puzzles, play, and build relationships with the children and teachers in the classrooms we serve. Come connect with the Central and greater New York Community.

Sign up for one or both monthly visits. Accessible by public transportation. Volunteers 15+ welcome.

RSVP’s are required. To RSVP, please email headstart@censyn.org.

Spring/Summer 2016 Dates:

March 23
April 6, 20
May 4, 18
June 1, 15


Social Justice

Email: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Phone: 212-838-5122, ext. 5009

Central Synagogue CSA

We've been proud to partner with Free Bird Farm for the past five years in hosting a CSA program. Our leaders have had to make choices about where to focus our efforts and have decided to discontinue the CSA program this year. We encourage members to continue supporting the Free Bird Farm's CSA program through one of their local New York sites. Learn more »

Opportunities This Week