Social Action

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Working for justice and peace through community service and by addressing social justice and human rights issues here and around the world.

Program Highlights


Can for Cans—Beth El's year round food drive. Although we sponsor a major food drive during the High Holy Days, we recognize that hunger doesn't follow a calendar. Our Can for Cans is located outside the kitchen for year-round food collection. Shopping lists are available on the east foyer bulletin board and outside the kitchen by the can. Collection calendar: United Community Ministries (Fall), ALIVE! (Winter), Alexandria Domestic Violence Shelter (Spring), and Carpenter's Shelter (Summer).

Shopping List - Canned meat/tuna, canned soup, canned fruit, peanut butter, jelly, cereal/oatmeal,

1 LB bag of rice.  (Regular sized and no glass please.)

Inova Blood Drive—Give blood, the gift of life. Beth El sponsors a blood drive each January.

Oral Rehydration Therapy Project (ORT)—Each year Beth El hosts a day when we, along with our co-sponsor Immanuel Church-on-the-Hill and volunteers from across the metropolitan area, assemble packets of life-saving rehydration powder to be sent to areas that need it to prevent deaths from dehydration. In 2010 we assembled a record breaking 20,389 packets which found their way to cholera-stricken Haiti. Read about our ORT project in Reform Judaism Magazine.  Please contact Bobbie Gershman for further information or to volunteer.

Mother's Day Diapers & Wipes Drive—Bring diapers and wipes for the mothers at the Alexandria Domestic Violence Shelter to the Brotherhood Mother's Day Brunch.

For more information or to be placed on the Beth El Social Action Committee mailing list, contact Social Action Chair Janet Garber.

ALIVE!—ALexandrians InVolved Ecumenically. For over 40 years ALIVE! is the largest private social service safety net for those in need in Alexandria. It is primarily staffed and managed by volunteers representing 41 congregations, including Beth El. We collect food for the Family Emergency and Last Saturday food programs. We help deliver furniture, collect tzedakah and housewares, and are a sponsor of the Step ALIVE! Walkathon to benefit the ALIVE! Child Development Center held the first Sunday in May. For more information contact Deborah Schaffer, Beth El's ALIVE! congregational rep.  

Asset Campaign—The Alliance to Stop Slavery and End Trafficking. Educate yourself and help put and end to slavery and human trafficking in the US and around the world. Contact retailers and manufacturers at and ask them to fill out a survey about what they are doing to be sure their products and merchandise are slave-free.

Carpenter's Shelter—We support the Carpenter's Shelter through the Can for Cans food collection. They need volunteers at the front desk on weekends and for children's activities. Contact the Carpenter's Shelter to find out about these and other volunteer opportunities.  Carpenter's Shelter.

The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism (RAC)—Visit to learn about legislative and social concerns that are important to us as Jews and as citizens of the United States and the world.

Bailey's Community Shelter—provides its short term residents three meals a day, case management, and access to Fairfax Country services. It also has an outreach program for those needing assistance on a drop-in basis. Beth El members prepare and serve lunches at Bailey's Shelter on the first Sunday of each month. Contact Julienne Mueller to volunteer your help.

COEJL—Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life. COEJL seeks to expand the contemporary understanding of such Jewish values as tikkun olam (repairing the world) and tzedek (justice) to include the protection of both people and other species from environmental degradation.  COEJL

Nothing But Nets—Buy a net; save a life. The Union for Reform Judaism is partnering in an effort to eradicate malaria. This disease infects nearly 500 million people each year, kills more than one million of those who become infected and is the leading killer of children in Africa. One bed net can keep an entire family safe from malaria for up to four years for only $10. Social Action sells Nothing But Nets certificates at the WRJ Chanukah Boutique. If you need a birthday or URJ tribute certificate any time throughout the year, make a contribution online at URJ and contact Deborah Schaffer.

American World Jewish Service—AJWS is an independent not-for-profit organization founded in 1985 to help alleviate poverty, hunger and disease among the people of the world regardless of race, religion or nationality.  AWJS.

Mazon: A Jewish Response to Hunger—MAZON uses donations from the Jewish community to prevent and alleviate hunger among people of all faiths and backgrounds. It funds emergency food providers, food banks, multi-service organizations, and advocacy groups both in this country and abroad.  MAZON


Did You Know...?

MAJYK 2017 is coming to Beth El?  

The Mid-Atlantic Jr. Youth Kallah will be hosted by Beth El on December 15-17 to experience a taste of NFTY and learn about its traditions and lingo.  In order to make this a success we need to find host families for 150-200 middle schoolers.  Please contact our Youth Advisors, Nori and Marissa, to become a host family!


Beth El is raising funds for a new playground?

With seed money from Cantor Jason Kaufman's concert, the JCCNV was able to start a fund with all proceeds going towards a new playground for the preschool.  If you would like to donate towards this very worthy project, simply send your donations to Beth El Hebrew Congregation and notate "Playground."  If you donate on line, the playground fund is first on the list!


Lifelong Learning

Wednesdays during the school year
@ 7:00 PM
See calendar for exact dates and subjects



For more information about ALIVE! go to


Beth El House

For more information go to

Beth El House enables formerly homeless families to work toward self-sufficiency and confidence.


Upcoming Events



TONIGHT, December 6 at 7:00 PM

"The Israeli Intelligence Community"

Who is the intelligence community; what are its areas of activity, how was it established,
and what were the defining events in its history.
You do NOT want to miss this exciting speaker.



December 15 - 17




December 19, 20, 21 

10:00 AM - 3:00 PM

***December 20 will also sort during religious school

6:00 PM - 8:00 PM***







There are activities, meetings, services and seminars at Beth El each week, ranging from service opportunities to Jewish learning and education, drawing members and guests from throughout the Washington, D.C. area.

the full calendar