Social Action

Award Winning Social Action Goes to the Movies Returns for 2018!

Spotlights Women’s March, Money Bail Trap, Single Payer Health Care

Democracy is NOT a Spectator Sport is the theme of the sixth annual film series sponsored by Congregation Shomrei Torah’s Social Action Committee. The primary goal of the series is to inform the audience of critical issues and empower people to take action for positive change.

The program will include a panel of experts and information about volunteer opportunities with community organizations. All events are on Saturdays and begin at 7 pm in the sanctuary at Congregation Shomrei Torah, 2600 Bennett Valley Road in Santa Rosa. Free to all; donations accepted.

January 27 • “Women’s March”

February 24 • “The Bail Trap” – The inability to pay bail is one of the main causes of America’s mass incarceration system – and yet something most Americans know little

about. The money bail system is broken: private companies achieve exorbitant profits by exploiting people (primarily of color) in poor communities. Many low-income Americans sit in jails for days, months, and even years, accused, but not convicted, of minor misdemeanors simply because they can’t afford to pay a bail amount that often is excessively high. Find out about the devastation caused by money bail and how we can fix the system.

March 17 • “Fix It” – This documentary reaches across the political and ideological divide to look in depth at how our dysfunctional health care system damages our economy, suffocates our businesses, discourages physicians, and negatively impacts the nation’s health, all the while remaining unaffordable for a third of our citizens. Learn about the advantages and challenges of a single payer health care system and how California can lead the nation by creating one.


RAC Wash. DC - Larry, Asher & IsaacCST’s Social Action Committee’s Film Series Wins RAC Award

Presented by the Religious Action Center of the Union for Reform Judaism at its annual Conference, “Consultation on Conscience.”  In the photo at left, SAC’s Asher Sheppard, right, and Larry Carlin, center, are pictured with Isaac Nuell, manager of the Congregational Social Action for RAC in Washington, D.C.

Click here to read a recent article in the Press Democrat about this year’s Film Series

Join the Soup Brigade to Help Feed Local Homeless

Image result for soup kitchen

The Social Action Committee is mobilizing in support of Sonoma County’s homeless, partnering with Catholic Charities to provide to provide soup for about 40 people on Thursday nights during the cold winter months. There are two ways to help: make soup and deliver it to the shelter, and help serve. For more information or to sign up contact Peter Copen at



Message from the Social Action Committee Co-chairs

Ellen and BruceA large and lively committee, we express our Jewish identity through tikkun olam, actions to heal the world. Our passion for social justice leads us to be social activists. From clothes-sorting pizza parties to film-screening sessions, SAC members have a strong camaraderie. We welcome interested CST members to attend a SAC meeting or join the committee!

SAC meets the first Monday of the month from 7-8:30 pm, Please see our Calendar.

For more information, contact SAC Co-chairs Ellen Van den Berg or Bruce Berkowitz.



 Speak Out About Sensible Gun Control

In response to the December 14th school massacre in Connecticut, some congregants may want to send a message to Congress regarding sensible gun control laws. The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism has made it easy to send an email message:

To contact President Obama, you can submit comments online: or phone 202-456-1111.

The Jewish Council for Public Affairs is circulating a petition about gun control:


Movie Group ShotOngoing and Annual SAC Projects

Elisha’s Pantry: In partnership with Christ Church United Methodist Church and Bethlehem Lutheran Church, distribute food to residents in need in Rincon Valley and Bennett Valley. Every week 70 bags of food are handed out to feed approximately 200 men, women and children, roughly 10,000 people each year. The pantry is open on Thursday afternoons at 1717 Yulupa Ave, Santa Rosa. To volunteer, contact Stephen Harper,

Giffen House: Preparation of dinner meal for women and children living in transitional housing (most were formerly homeless). Once a month on Tuesdays. To volunteer, contact Flo Hoffenberg,

Winter Warm Clothing Drive: Winter Clothing Drive Sorting Party 2012Warm clothing and blankets are donated by CST members and friends in the community. SAC distributes these at Elisha’s Pantry November-December. To volunteer, contact Ann Sterin, annandpaolo@

Annual Posada Toy Drive: Annual toy drive that results in hundreds of toys collected and handed out in December at Sheppard Elementary School in Roseland at a big community event. SAC members work with the Committee for Immigrant Rights Sonoma County (CIRSC) to give away the toys. To volunteer, contact Ann Sterin, annandpaolo@

Yom Hashoah: Every spring SAC hosts an observance of the Holocaust Day of Remembrance and invites the public to attend. A candle lighting ceremony remembers the six million Jews and others (Gypsy/Roma, LGBT, Righteous Gentiles, political prisoners, the disabled) who were killed by the Nazi regime. SAC also remembers victims of genocides in America, Armenia, Cambodia, Rwanda and Darfur, with candle lighters and speakers.

Walk to End Genocide:  This annual community event is spearheaded by a CST teen, Gabe Ferrick. The Walk raises money for an international charity, Jewish World Watch, fighting to end genocide around the world. Last year, over 300 people participated in the Walk, including CST members, SSU students and faculty, and local politicians. Visit the website here.

Rabbi Michael Robinson Memorial Lecture: This annual lecture honors CST’s founding rabbi, Michael Robinson. In honor of his inspirational social activism, we present speakers who share Rabbi Michael’s passion for human rights and social justice.

Social Action Goes to the Movies: Last year, we debuted a very successful film and discussion series on social justice. This year we have selected another three compelling films, which will be followed by panel discussions with activists on the front lines. See Upcoming Events.

Immigrant Rights: Several SAC members are active in the Committee for Immigrant Rights Sonoma County (CIRSC) and are involved with the North Bay Organizing Project. We have worked with these groups to find ways to reduce deportations, which tear apart families and the community. SAC was an early supporter of the Trust Act, legislation that would limit detentions and deportations to immigrants who have committed serious felonies.

Muslim Jewish Dialogue Group:
In 2009 SAC formed an alliance with a group of North Bay Muslims led by Imam Ali Siddiqui, to learn more about each other’s religions and cultures. We meet in people’s homes and talk about our backgrounds, practices and beliefs. Occasionally, knowledgeable guest speakers present information about relevant topics. Last April, we held our first MJDG seder at CST. SAC has written two articles in the Press Democrat about the group. See:



The Religious Action Center for Reform Judaism (RAC) is a valuable resource with up to date analyses of key social justice topics through a Jewish lens. The RAC also has action guides for urgent social issues.