Social Justice is essential to Judaism. Congregation Children of Israel has a long history of raising our voices to protect the dignity and human rights of all people. Whether it is a local, national or international issue, we find ways to get involved and fulfill our obligation to repair the world through Mitzvot, education and advocacy.
CCI has taken an active role in local interfaith endeavors, such as the Abraham Alliance, a coalition of members from CCI, Milledge Avenue Baptist Church, and the Al Huda Islamic Center. The AA improves our understanding of each other's religious beliefs and practices. We work together on a variety of social action activities, improving relations, communication and fellowship among members of the Baptist, Muslim and Jewish faiths in the Athens Area. The tri-faith group worked side by side to fundraise and build several Habitat Homes in the Athens area. In addition, the Abraham Alliance presented tri-faith programs focusing on our varied sacred books and religious practices.
Currently CCI participates in the Interfaith Hospitality Network - IHN arranges for temporary housing, transportation, and meal services on weekends for select homeless families through coordinated volunteer efforts of a coalition of area churches on a rotating basis. IHN is currently seeking Temple members to volunteer and be trained for a support role to help the families on-site at designated churches for several weekends per year. IHN also requests basic donations of cash or household cleaning supplies, diapers and personal hygiene items.
Other Ongoing Social Action projects:
Operation Isaiah - This project gives us the opportunity to take our fast and turn it into someone's feast. Taking place during the High Holy Days, Temple youth distributes grocery bags following Rosh Hashana services for members to fill with non-perishable food items upon their return to Kol Nidre services. The bags are delivered to the Northeast Georgia Emergency Food Bank.
Athens Homeless Shelter - Congregants sign up to prepare and serve a dinner on the third Sunday of the month for 18-25 women and children. Family members often serve together. Donations of diapers, paper towels and garbage bags are welcome.
Our Daily Bread - This meal service program is coordinated through Action Ministries and the Oconee Street United Methodist Church in Athens. CCI members buy food and then prepare and serve lunches to approximately 150 homeless twice a year.
Safe-shelter for battered women and children - Donations of cleaning supplies, personal hygiene items, and gas cards are needed. Items can be brought to the Thrift Store on Hawthorne Avenue.
Food-2-Kids - This program originated with the Junior League of Athens. The purpose is to provide needy school-age children in Athens-Clarke and neighboring counties with food and snack items. There is a publicized food item of the month, and we request that item from congregants and Religious School students. Items can be dropped off in the wooden bin in the front hall of the Temple.
Holiday Benevolence Market - This activity takes place close to the winter holidays each year. It consists of congregants' purchasing a wide variety of items from community social service agency wish lists. These purchases help needy individuals in our community. The main activity takes place before the Chanukah/Christmas holidays at a holiday fair. Each of the social service agencies has booths at the December fair. CCI volunteers are needed for planning and distributing publicity items at CCI for the fair. Temple-wide participation for donations at the fair is requested.