The Social Action Committee, which includes 13 members, is ready for action. Several projects are in the works to fulfill our motto of “Deed Before Creed” and our mission to “work to make this world (and planet) a better place to live.” To participate in any of the following activities, or if you have questions, please contact Social Action Chair Lisa Schwartz at [email protected], or send a text or call her at 201-694-6323.
Here’s what we have planned:
Direct Charitable Service
We will have volunteer opportunities for our members, including our youngsters ages 10 and over, to prepare lunches for mostly single women taking classes at a non-profit organization, OASIS in Paterson. Volunteers (four to eight are needed) will carpool to work on a Saturday (date will be determined) from 9 am to 12:30 pm. The Social Action Committee is looking for intergenerational, community-building activities to involve our members of all ages in direct-service projects.
Another non-profit organization in Paterson, CUMAC, has a large and busy warehouse with an intake area for eligible clients arriving to pick up free food. They have a regular supermarket where clients do their own shopping, or clients can call ahead and have their groceries packed and ready for pick-up at a designated time. Volunteers are needed during the week for two-hour shifts: 9 to 11 am, 11 am to 1 pm, and 1 to 3 pm. Training is provided.
Lisa is also meeting with the founder of a local non-profit organization on North Street in Teaneck, Never Alone Again, to seek volunteer opportunities for our members to serve families in need in our own neighborhood.
Please contact Lisa if interested in volunteering.
Our democracy is on the line! What can WE do? How can WE help to Get Out the Vote and educate voters? We will address those questions with a monthly postcard-writing campaign, beginning on Sunday, Sept. 24, at 12:30 pm on the front lawn of the meetinghouse. (In case of inclement weather, we will be indoors.) Come prepared to write short statements (script provided) to voters in Ohio informing them about how to vote by mail. This is crucial for Get Out the Vote’s efforts to protect reproductive freedom for all Ohioans. We intend to do this monthly through Election Day 2024. Contact Lisa for more information or just show up on Sept. 24.
In the 1990s, former Leader Joseph Chuman began an interfaith coalition consisting of several groups (churches, synagogues, a mosque, Unitarians, and, of course, Ethical Culture). The mission of the coalition was to provide sanctuary to asylum-seekers who are escaping torture in their native countries. At that time, asylum-seekers faced detainment at the Elizabeth Detention Center, where they were (and still are) treated as criminals. This Coalition began with our members visiting asylum-seekers at the detention center to establish one-on-one relationships with them. Housing was needed, as well as case-management services. The coalition provided these services for several asylum-seekers and one family. As Dr. Chuman and our active member stepped back from this project, others took charge, and it has grown into the Northern New Jersey Sanctuary Coalition, carrying on the work that the Ethical Culture Society of Bergen County began.
On Sunday, Oct. 1, from 4 to 7 pm, Coalition Founder Joe Chuman is being honored at the Coalition’s fundraiser at Temple Emeth in Teaneck. The $75 cost includes food, speakers, and entertainment. To register for the dinner and to receive payment information, please contact Lisa. By Sept. 10, fliers in the meetinghouse lobby will also provide registration and payment information. Please, let’s have a good showing from our Ethical Culture community to honor Joe for the work he has done to create a safe environment for asylum-seeking immigrants most in need. Please contact Lisa for more information about how to register.
On Sunday, Sept. 17, we will join the March to End Fossil Fuels, which will take place in New York City, starting at 1 pm. The Social Action Committee is organizing a group of Society members and friends to attend this march, sponsored by Food & Water Watch in advance of the UN Climate Ambition Summit. Social Action Committee members will meet at 10:15 am at the Anderson Street train station, Hackensack, and will take a subway to the march site, 53rd Street and Broadway. Those who want to attend both that Sunday’s Gathering at the Society and the march could use NJ Transit or drive into the city and park. Contact Social Action Chair Lisa Schwartz at [email protected] for more information, including bus schedules and parking lots in the area. If you plan to participate, please contact Lisa.
Lisa Schwartz, chair, Social Action Committee