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236 Kane Street / Brooklyn, NY 11231 / 718 875-1550

Social Justice


The Social Justice Committee is dedicated to tikkun olam, repair of the world. The committee facilitates Kane Street’s participation in community service. We organize and provide short and long-term volunteer opportunities for members to support change in our community and beyond. Our goal is to deepen our social justice efforts through a congregation-based community organizing model and join a local interfaith network. To get involved with tikkun olam at Kane Street contact Social Justice Committee Chair Bronwen Haskel.

Current Projects

Family Action in Brooklyn (FAB)
FAB is a monthly service learning social action project for families with kids age 4-9. The program is supported by an engagement grant from PJ Library of NYC. For more information, please contact Rabbi Val.
Download the FAB October Flyer The October project addresses the Jewish value of Shmirat Hateva – tending nature. We will care for our Gowanus watershed by planting bulbs in the synagogue yard and learning why it is important

Refugee Welcome Campaign
Kane Street Synagogue, with over 200 other Congregations across the US, is part of a HIAS (Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society) project to welcome, and advocate for refugees. Following a large and successful Campaign kickoff during Sukkot, over fifty Synagogue members have signed up for various volunteer activities, including the following opportunities:

  • Drivers and Translators: The Brooklyn Synagogue Coalition Refugee Task Force is looking to compile lists of volunteer drivers and foreign language speakers – Arabic, Spanish and others. Drivers would help with a variety of tasks, based on needs (renting and driving vans or small trucks, picking up donations etc.) and availability. Translators might be asked to come along to an apartment set up or to assist with a phone call or chat.If you would like to volunteer your time and skills in this capacity, please email CBE Direct Assistance to be added to the list for volunteers.
  • Tell President Trump You Stand with Refugees: The President plans to slam America’s doors to refugees from war-torn countries including Syria, Sudan and Somalia. Send a message to the White House with HIAS to let the Trump Administration know that these policies contradict American values and history.
  • English literacy tutoring. HIAS partners with the Andrew Romay New Immigrant Center (ARNIC) at the English-Speaking Union (ESU). Volunteers are first interviewed and then trained by ESU staff to tutor refugees, asylum seekers and new immigrants. If you are accepted as a tutor and decide to participate, you will meet once a week for a two-hour session of English language conversation practice with your student. There is a 4-6 month commitment required. All meetings will take place at the ESU headquarters at 144 East 39th Street in Manhattan. Potential volunteers must attend an orientation session for the ESU’s “English in Action” program. Please be a native English speaker. Please contact Janna Diamond, [email protected] and cc [email protected] to indicate your interest and find out about the next orientation.
  • Pen Pal with an asylum seeker in a detention center. HIAS organizes this project with CIVIC, a partner organization which seeks to end isolation and abuse in U.S. immigration detention. Volunteers are matched with an asylum seeker in a center which does not have an in-person visitation program. Volunteers attend monthly program sessions where they explore Jewish perspectives on refugee and asylum issues and hand write letters to their pen pals. All letters are sent from and received at HIAS, so volunteers are not asked to provide personal addresses. Please contact Janna Diamond, [email protected] and cc [email protected] to indicate your interest and find out about the next scheduled program.
  • Brooklyn Synagogue Coalition Refugee Task Force. As part of the HIAS Refugee Welcome Campaign we are part of a coalition which includes several synagogues throughout Brooklyn. The Coalition is working on political advocacy steps to take locally. We have two synagogue members currently leading the Kane St representation in the coalition. Please email [email protected] if you are interested in helping assist them in organizing these advocacy efforts for the greater synagogue.

Contact campaign co-chairs Flora Margolis or Bronwen Haskel at [email protected] for more information.

Cobble Hill Health Center Visits

For over twenty-five years, Kane Street has made monthly Shabbat visits to the Cobble Hill Health Center. Join us as we spend an hour with Center residents of all ages schmoozing, conversing about current events, telling stories, saying kiddush and singing songs. Our young family minyanin often join the visits as well. Meet at the Center, 380 Henry Street, in the Recreation Room. All ages welcome.

Meets one Shabbat morning a month from 10:30 – 11:30, on the following 2020 dates: January 11, February 22, March 21, April 18, May 9 and June 20.

It’s an opportunity for residents to talk. get some one-on-one attention and eat gefilte fish. For congregants, the rewards are getting to feel a kinship with the residents and a special glow each time one of them gives you a big smile. – Barbara Zahler-Gringer

Brooklyn Heights Synagogue Homeless Shelter
For three weeks around the secular holidays at the turn of each year, volunteers from Kane Street staff the Brooklyn Heights Synagogue Shelter, preparing meals and staying overnight in pairs with approximately 10 male guests. Without our help, the shelter could not stay open on these nights. If staying over, volunteers can come with a friend or we can schedule your stay with another Kane Street volunteer. We have repeat volunteers every year, and they report it is a safe and rewarding experience.

This is a great opportunity to perform the Mitzvot of M’a’chil R’ei’vim, feeding the hungry, and Hachnasat Orchim, hospitality, and to represent the Kane Street community.

Concact Bronwen Haskel at [email protected] for more information.

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Website photography: Paul Bernstein | Hank Gans | Rich Pomerantz | Harvey Wang