Volunteer Opportunities

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.


Featured Opportunity:
Addressing the Refugee Crisis

Learn about our commitment to this sacred work, volunteer opportunities with the International Rescue Committee (IRC) to directly and positively impact the refugee population in New York City, and how you can support our efforts to sponsor and aid in the resettlement of a Syrian refugee family. Learn more »


Upcoming 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.

For more information or to sign up, contact 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.

At this time, we have a full roster of volunteers. We thank you for your interest and encourage you to explore another of our wonderful volunteer opportunities.


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.

For more information or to sign up, contact breakfast@censyn.org.


Why Knot Knit Mondays

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

Monday mornings new and experienced knitters are busy creating beautiful pieces of clothing that are donated to New Yorkers in need. Extra hands are always welcome. Don’t know how to knit? This is also a great way to learn!

Contact knitting@censyn.org for more information.


Lobby Day in Albany for Raise the Age

Tuesday, March 7, 2017 | New York State Capitol in Albany

Join the Central in Action Team in partnership with the Raise the Age Coalition for a Lobby Day focused on age-appropriate treatment of youth in our state’s criminal justice system. We’ll meet with our legislators as a group, witness a meaningful press conference, and spend the day together in Albany. No political experience necessary—we will be fully supported by the coalition leaders! Details to follow.

RSVP for Lobby Day »
Learn more about Raise the Age, one of our Central in Action issues


Passover Package Delivery with DOROT

Sunday, April 2, 2017 at 10:00am - 12:00pm | Central Synagogue & East Side of Manhattan

Brighten the day of a senior by visiting them and deliver a package! Orientation will take place upon arrival with arts & crafts for young children. Learn more about how DOROT’s package delivery program works in the video below.

Adult Regsitration »

Family Regsitration »

For those families volunteering with children under the age of 18.


This Week