Volunteer Opportunities

At Central Synagogue

Make Personal Connections through Central’s Congregant-to-Congregant Visiting Program.

This expanded initiative, which is overseen by Central’s Caring Committee, matches Central Synagogue members with those who may be home bound, recovering from illness, or simply interested in meeting new people. Participants meet on a monthly basis and connect in each other’s homes, over coffee or lunch, or a mutually enjoyable activity. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) to learn more about this program.

Volunteer for Dorot's Rosh HaShanah Package Delivery

Sunday, September 22, 10:00 am-12:00 pm, Community House

Bring warmth and companionship to an older neighbor. Sign up for orientation, package pick-up, and a home visit assignment.

Register »

Mentors Matter: Helping Under-served High School Seniors with Central Congregants

400 high school seniors and only 1 college advisor. That’s what these wonderful, talented students are facing just a couple blocks away from our synagogue, at the High School of Art & Design, an extraordinary, state-of-the-art middle school/high school for kids with artistic talents who major in architecture, painting, drawing, cartooning, film, fashion, graphic design, set design.

Alumni include Art Spiegelman, Calvin Klein, Tony Bennett, and artist Lorna Simpson.

Most of these kids are from immigrant families. Several are DACA Dreamers. Few of their parents have gone to college. Most have few resources and little-to-no parental support or college-literacy when it comes to applications — how to fill them out, apply for financial aid, think about a college essay, meet deadlines, etc.

Central Synagogue is now partnering with HSAD to fill the gap on mentorship for these seniors — committing to helping at least 2-3 classes next year. If you are a Central Synagogue member or on the waitlist, we hope you’ll considering being one of these mentors. Click here to learn what’s involved and read our FAQ.

If you have questions, would like to get involved, or know of someone in particular whom you think might be a good fit for this program, please contact us at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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.

Sign up is required in advance to volunteer. For more information or to sign up, contact breakfast@censyn.org.

Lobby Day in Albany for TAP Campaign

Tuesday, March 17, 2020 - Day Trip | Albany, New York

Join us for an urgent and meaningful day in Albany to raise our voices as a Jewish community to advocate for the passage of the Turn on the TAP campaign in this NYS legislative session. In partnership with other organizations, including College & Community Fellowship, and college-in-prison graduates and teachers, we’ll be attending a press conference and meeting with elected officials and/or their staffs to discuss the moral urgency of restoring college financial aid to qualified low income New Yorkers who would be eligible were they not in state prison.

We’ll travel together to Albany by bus with Central congregants and other lobby day participants. No previous lobbying or justice experience necessary. Expect to spend a full day in Albany, leaving early morning and arriving back in Manhattan about 7 PM. This is a great way to meet other Central congregants and clergy, see our government at work, and have an impact. Friends from other congregations and faith groups, particularly in Westchester, Long Island, Brooklyn, and Queens, are also welcome. A full schedule and more info will be emailed to participants. Register here by Wednesday, March 11. Your contact info will be shared with College & Community Fellowship.

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Celebrate “National Refugee Shabbat” With Emma’s Torch

Friday, March 20, 2020, 7:30 - 9:30 pm | Lindenbaum Pavilion

In the spirit of “welcoming the stranger,” we invite you to join our community for a special Shabbat dinner catered and hosted by training chefs from the organization Emma’s Torch, which provides refugees with culinary training, ESL classes, and job interview preparation. During the dinner we will not only eat a delicious Shabbat meal together, but we will also hear from alumni of the program and other speakers about important issues relating to refugees in the United States.

Adults: $25; Children under 18: Free

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“The College Behind Bars” Film Screening and Discussion with the Bard Prison Initiative

Tuesday, April 28, 2020 | Beir Chapel

Join Rabbis Nicole Auerbach and Hilly Haber to learn more about the Bard Prison Initiative (BPI), a groundbreaking program that gives men and women in New York State Prisons an opportunity to earn a college degree. Together with graduates of the BPI program, we will watch parts of the documentary “The College Behind Bars”, which highlights the radical transformation of criminal punishment into access and opportunity for higher learning. After the film, Max Kenner, BPI’s Founder/Executive Director, and graduates of the program will lead a discussion and Q&A.

Open to all; Cost: Free

Register »