Social Action

Reform Judaism places a high value on participation in working to make the world a better place.  Tikkun Olam or “repairing the world” is considered a part of the soul of Temple Israel.  The Social Action Committee undertakes and promotes opportunities founded on Tikkun Olam.  They plan activities to carry out the mitzvot and charitable actions that assist those in need in our community.  We urge every member to participate in some aspect of Tikkun Olam.  If you would like to participate or have an idea you would like to share, please contact Judy Tenenbaum, Chairperson, or 330-493-8134.

Current Projects:

Interfaith Gan Bracha Garden – Stan Rosenblatt

Stan Rosenblatt organizes the planting and upkeep of the Interfaith Gan Bracha Garden.  A Garden volunteer schedule is set up and runs mid-May through September.  Chop ins are also organized with New Vision Church to cut up and process the vegetables to feed the hungry in the Canton area.

Urban Ark Dinners – Diana Collum

Three times a year, we provide an Urban Ark dinner at First Lutheran Church to feed the needy in the Canton area.  Times include Easter, Christmas, and a date in the summer.  Volunteers help to prepare and serve the meal.

Thanksgiving Baskets Downtown – Shelley Jurkiewicz

This is a charitable organization that unites faith communities and civic organizations in Canton, Ohio, to support the under-served population with food at Thanksgiving.  We provide volunteers to help with sorting, bagging, and distributing food on the Saturday before Thanksgiving.  See their website for more information:

Family Living Center – Joan Ortman

The Family Living Center provides up to 90 days of emergency housing for Stark County homeless families and single women.  We have adopted Room #317 since 2018, and have provided donations of many needed items.  We will continue to support this project with donations throughout the year.

Calvary Mission Dinner – Linda Smuckler

We sponsored a Saturday night dinner on March 9, 2019, at the Canton Calvary Mission located at 1345 Gibbs Ave. NE, Canton.    We had 19 volunteers who helped organize, set up, and serve 65 men, women, and children a delicious meal.

Habitat for Humanity

This is the fourth summer that members of Temple Israel’s Habitat Crew have gone into new homes being built for just one day and worked hard.  Our next work day is at a different home. During the first two years, beginning in 2016, we did a variety of jobs from installing baseboard to hanging doors to punch list items such as installing door hardware or putting up towel racks, etc.  The last two years, the Temple Habitat Crew has primarily focused on hanging doors, door trim, window trim, floor registers, and closet doors. We have gotten quite proficient at our job, so much so that in August we finished our work in a three-bedroom home by noon.  Though a few people have come once or twice, the main crew consists of Mike Abrams, Mark Atleson, Ron Gelb, Steve Manello, Shelley Schweitzer, Vito Sinopoli and Rabbi Spitzer.  I coordinate the effort by getting people to sign up for the various dates—there are 7 working dates that are all on Thursdays from 8:30 AM to 2:30 PM unless we finish early—and sending out email reminders.  The homes are mostly in Canton, though we’ve worked on a few homes in Massillon.

This is a great Social Action project.  You don’t have to have any skills in woodworking or carpentry.  We will teach you what to do, and by the end of the day, you will be “proficient” in that skill.  The only thing you need to bring to the effort is the willingness to learn and work.