Location: Lese Lobby
From: Thursdays & Fridays, 6:00-7:30am
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.
Location: Community House
From: Thursdays, 10:30am-12:30pm
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. This program is put on in coordination with the English-Speaking Union, which helps foreigners in New York City feel at home with our language and culture. If you are interested in learning more, please email Hallie Isquith at email@example.com and she’ll put you in touch with the program’s lay leaders. English in Action is not currently accepting new volunteers, but they are always happy to talk to people about the program and add to their list of prospective volunteers.
Location: Announced upon registration
From: Thursdays, September 27 – December 20, 6:00 pm
“The Ethical Life” is about you. Your uniqueness, your choices, your community, your informed inclinations, your personal imperatives and the questions you choose to ask. We will use the JTS Curriculum as a spring board to explore various ethical issues, from conceptual issues like; do you need God or religion to be ethical, and filtering down to contemporary and practical ethical issues. We will primarily discuss “Jewish Ethics” and what our thinkers, texts and practices have to say about issues old and new, but we will also explore the philosophical and procedural issues that undergird ethical development including the foundational questions of “what is my responsibility to improve myself and the world around me”, “what if my ethical principles and religious understanding are at odds”, “how does one infuse Judaism, a traditional system that draws from text and precedent, with contemporary knowledge and practices” and “in what ways is my uniqueness as a human being an ethical imperative for me to contribute”? Our goal will be to learn from our texts and one another, and to grow as Jews, in our knowledge, our hearts and our hands and feet.