Social Action

The Social Action Committee has organized a number of very worthwhile activities, and we need your help! We know that you each have so much to offer those who are less fortunate. We are looking for volunteers for the following:


PDX Vigil for the Freedom to Marry

Tuesday, April 22, 5:30-6:30 PM
Terry Schrunk Plaza (1200 block of SW 3rd Avenue)

Next Wednesday at this time, the hearing will be underway in the historic federal case challenging Oregon’s discriminatory ban on marriage for same-sex couples.

The night before oral arguments, join hundreds of Oregonians who will stand together to support the freedom to marry. Please join with other congregants to show that we at Congregation Beth Israel support the the right of all people to have the respect and protections we all deserve.

We will show that we stand united by wearing shirts identifying ourselves as part of CBI. If you will join the vigil, please RSVP to Tracy in the CBI office at (503) 222-1069 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we will have a shirt waiting for you. Special thanks to Steven Cassell for the design and printing of the shirts. You can proudly wear the shirts again at Mitzvah Day on May 4th.



Sunday, May 4, 8:30 am
Blumauer Auditorium

Mitzvah Day 2014 logoIt’s always time for a Mitzvah, that selfless, kind act we Jews believe to be a moral obligation. However you look at it (giving back, being a mensch, doing something your mother would tell her friends about), please join us on Sunday, May 4, for CBI’s annual Mitzvah Day – because every day is Mitzvah Day.

Click here for complete details, schedule of the day, project descriptions and Mitzvah Day wish list.




Every Wednesday, 4:30 pm - 5:30 pm

Please help us help the children at the Northwest Tower Annex, our neighbors next door to CBI. Our volunteers started an after school enrichment/tutoring program each Wednesday from 4:30 until 5:30. Volunteers do not have to commit to coming weekly, but we hope you will try to come at least once a month.

Please email us for more information and to volunteer.


Lift UP has volunteer opportunities with its new Wellness program which will be providing nutrition and fitness programs at the 4 Adopt-A-Highrise buildings. It is looking for volunteers to be trained (for free!) in the following two evidence based fitness programs:

Walk With Ease – training is online and then volunteers pair up to lead a walking group either 3 times a week for 6 weeks or 2 times a week for 9 weeks.

Matter of Balance (fall prevention and physical activity promotion) – training will be in person with a certified Master Trainer (8 hr training) and classes will be 2 times a week for 8 weeks.

Volunteers with a passion for cooking, nutrition or fitness who would like to learn more about other opportunities to get involved are welcome as well! Contact: Bethany Wofford, Program Director at 503-221-1224 ext. 105 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Thank You For Supporting the Community Warehouse

Not only did we all enjoy the Purim Schpiel, but we came together to contribute needed pots, pans and other kitchen supplies for families who are benefitted by the Community Warehouse. These are families who don't have the money to furnish their homes, even at thrift store prices. Thanks to each of you, this was our most successful Pots and Pans for Purim Drive. Special thanks to Marge Congress and Joanie Rosenbaum for their tremendous efforts to make this happen.


Thanks to everyone who participated in our Good Deeds Day!

Many thanks to those of you who joined us to participate in our Soup Sac program as part of Good Deeds Day, sponsored by the Portland Mitzvah Network, a program of the Jewish Federation of Greater Portland. It was a great day as we made 400 meals to distribute to those in need.

To the soup makers, bakers, sandwich makers, packagers and delivery folks - you are the best! We thank Jewish Federation of Greater Portland for coordinating this event. Special thanks to Grand Central Bakery at 1444 NE Weidler Street for its very generous donation of bread and pastries. Please patronize this store to support its efforts to do such good for others.

Thanks for your commitment to Tikkun Olam.


We want and need your help on these projects. Please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  for more information and to volunteer.


In the spirit of Tikkun Olam, our last programming year was filled with CBI congregants participating in numerous acts of loving kindness - gemilut chasadim:

Our annual High Holiday Food Drive was a great success. Recognizing the benefit of providing funding to our recipient organizations, Lift Urban Portland and the Sunshine Pantry, we provided our congregants with the opportunity to make cash donations, as well as food donations. 

Implementing the vision of Solomon and Andrew Olshin, the Social Action Committee ran three successful SoupSac programs.

The Committee also continued its support of the NW Tower and Annex as part of the Lift Urban Portland Adopt-a-Highrise Program. With your generous contributions and the shopping expertise of Joanie Rosenbaum, we expanded the back to school supply drive for the children of the NW Tower Annex to purchase the items on the children’s class lists.

Lynn Tobias, Sarah Epstein, and Joanie Rosenbaum are working with Urban Gleaners seeking new food donors.

Committee members provided a Christmas Eve dinner and gifts for the residents of Stepping Stones and their children.

Daphna Stadig and Kate Royston organized the Pots and Pans for Purim for the Community Warehouse.

With the support of the Religious School, the Committee also provided gift bags for the guests at the Trinity Episcopal Church Easter dinner.

We ended the program year with a well-attended Mitzvah Day, led by James Anchell, Janet Morgan, Mary Scalone and Julia Waldinger.

Sherry Fishman coordinated activities as our representative to the JFGP Community Relations Committee. Members of the Committee agreed to form a team for the Village Support Network. The Allocations Subcommittee chaired by Lynn Tobias voted to provide contributions to: Janus Youth Programs in honor of Beth Israel Sisterhood’s receipt of the Gold Or Ami “Light of My People” Award, the Israel Religious Action Center’s Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism - Women of the Wall, the Lone Soldier Center in Memory of Michael Levin, Camp Rosenbaum, Jewish Family and Child Service, Community Warehouse, Lift Urban Portland for its annual Christmas Dinner and food programs (including $2,000 as the first contribution to the newly named Eve and Alan Rosenfeld Food Fund), the Meals on Wheels People, the Village Support Network, Sisters of the Road Cafe, Urban Gleaners, and programs for the residents of the NW Tower and Annex.

Our work would not be possible without the expert guidance from Rabbi Joseph, Rabbi Cahana, Cantor Cahana, and Sydney Baer and the unstinting support from Jemi Mansfield, Tracy Alifanz, Jim Baldwin, Vicki Greif, Dara Docherty, and Craig Paton and his team.


Mitzvah Day

Sunday, May 5, 2013

View Photos from Mitzvah Day 2013

Mitzvah DayThanks to the efforts of our dedicated clergy and staff, as well as our co-chairs James Anchell, Janet Morgan, Mary Scalone and Julia Waldinger, we enjoyed another very special Mitzvah Day. Special thanks go to Rabbi Joseph for her leadership in bringing a new dimension to the day. We also want to thank our team leaders who brought energy and commitment to making each project a success.

With projects for every age, over 300 people brought meaning to Tikkun Olam:

  • we sang to the residents of the Robison Home
  • beautified the CBI Cemetery
  • did a neighborhood clean-up
  • gave a birthday party for the residents of the Northwest Tower and Annex
  • gave blood to the Red Cross
  • donated to the Community Warehouse
  • cleaned and polished at Janus House and delivered hand-made blankets  and baked for 500 guests at Potluck in the Park
  • sorted, stacked and cleaned at the ReBuilding Center
  • donated food and sorted it for the Sunshine Pantry
  • held a bake sale to help a child in need
  • improved the library at Northwest Tower and Annex
  • made placemats for Loaves and Fishes recipients
  • created gardens for the guests of Ronald McDonald House
  • made and distributed over 300 Soupsacs to those in need

Many of us even joined the Gift of Life Registry for bone marrow and blood stem transplants.

We hope that, by working together, we learned every day can be a Mitzvah Day and that each of us can make a positive difference in the world. As Jews we are taught that every human is created "b’tselem elohim," in God’s image. Every person is imbued with the divine spark, infinite in value and unique. Whether it’s working on a CBI project, working at one of our partner organizations, visiting a shut-in, or just smiling at someone who might otherwise feel invisible, it is both our duty and gift to respect and improve the lives of others.

If there is a project you would like to continue or a new one you would like to begin, please contact the CBI office at 503 222-1069 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .


In addition to the projects sponsored by Congregational Beth Israel's Social Action Committee, we partner with the following 503(c) (1) nonprofit organizations:

Lift Urban Portland provides in Northwest and Downtown Portland. They help our neighbors through food programs (including in partnership with the Wheels on Meals People), the Neighbors Helping Neighbors program and the Adopt-A-Highrise program. Through the Adopt-A- Highrise program, CBI adopted the Northwest Tower, which is adjacent to CBI. Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you are interested in working with the residents of Northwest Tower.

Janus is licensed to provide group residential and shelter care and a certified drug and alcohol program. Janus' alternative education school is approved for learning disabled and emotionally disturbed students.

Community Warehouse collects donated household goods and furnishings and redistributes them to our neighbors in need.

Every Sunday, Potluck in the Park volunteers prepare and serve a hot wholesome meal to hundreds of needy people and provide a welcoming community gathering place.

The ReBuilding Center, a project of Our United Villages, provides resources that make home repairs affordable to everyone, with the goal of promoting the reuse of salvaged and reclaimed materials.

The Ronald McDonald House Charities provide a “home away from home” for families with seriously ill children and support initiatives to improve pediatric health.

Sunshine Pantry offers food, clothing, household items, toys and toiletries to families in need in Beaverton.

Urban Gleaners mission is to help alleviate hunger by collecting edible, surplus food that would be thrown away and distributing it to agencies that feed the hungry.


Questions about how you can get involved with the Social Action Committee?  
Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  to learn how you can make a difference!




Social Action Committee Meetings

Wednesday, April 9
7:00 pm
Semler Board Room 

This is an important meeting as we finish off this year and plan our activities for next year. We have exciting plans and look forward to hearing from you and what you would like to see our Social Action Committee to do in the coming year. Everyone is welcome!

Social Action Links & More

Questions about Social Action?

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



Seeking Peace, Pursuing Justice
The Reform movement's campaign to educate, encourage, and mobilize North American Jewry to support peace efforts and social justice causes in Israel.

Religious Action Center

Union for Reform Judaism

ARZA/World Union for Progressive Judaism

Basic Rights Oregon


Rabbi Rose Tikkun Olam Award Recipients:

2013: Sanny Snell

2012: Women of Reform Judaism/Beth Israel Sisterhood

2010: Tracy Oseran and Dr. Gregg Coodley

2009: BINA

2007: Dr. Jill Ginsberg

2006: Rabbi Rose