Social Action

SAC Community in Conversation a Big Hit

Over 90 people attended this event on Thursday August 16, 2018, a record turnout.

It was an opportunity for members of the CST community to make new friends and discuss their fears and frustrations with our current political climate. Several of our community partners provided information about opportunities to get involved in making real change.

Our wonderful Rabbi’s made appropriate comments opening and closing the evening as well as providing a delicious dinner.

We would like to thank our presenters from Organizing for Action (OFA) Swing Left, Indivisible Sonoma County and the North Bay Organizing Project(NBOP). We remind people that these organizations can definitely use your help at whatever level you can commit.

We thank all of you that attended and hope you found the evening worthwhile. SAC will continue to present events that support our goals of voter engagement, education and turnout at the elections.

The third and final film in the 2018 series “Fix It- Healthcare At The Tipping Point” was shown to a deeply engaged audience of almost 200 people. This film clearly explained the advantages of a single payer health care system and how the United States is lagging far behind much of the rest of first world countries in providing affordable quality healthcare for all.

The panel that followed the screening was highly informed and enthusiastic about the possibility of getting single payer healthcare in California through Senate Bill 562. The panel included health care professionals and a representative from the business community who made a very strong case for California to lead the nation in health care reform.

Pilar Schiavo one of the panelists from “Healthy California” commented on the great turnout and how enthusiastic the audience was. “Shomrei Torah’s Social Action Committee clearly knows how to promote and present a quality event” she said.

The theme for the series was “Democracy Is Not A Spectator Sport” and clearly the audience took that message to heart. Many commented on how the film series was inspiring and motivated them to get more involved in addressing the issues presented.

A big thanks to our audiences, the panelists, our co-sponsors and especially to the hard working members of the Social Action Film Committee for making the 2018 Social Action Goes to the Movies film series so successful.

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

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.