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North Shore Temple Emanuel

a Progressive Jewish Congregation

Jews for Social Action

Jews for Social Action (JSA) offers the opportunity to embody the Jewish value of Tikkun Olam (repairing the world) by helping others and getting involved in social action.  We take a hands-on approach to working towards social justice. 

You are invited to join us in our projects, which are outlined below.

We meet once each month currently on Zoom.  Please contact for more details.

Read the 2019 Annual Report HERE.

View the recording of the webinar HERE

Kids in the Outback Beanies

NSTE’s Jew for Social Action (JSA) has been sending Australian Geographic magazines and knitted dolls to remote outback Indigenous schools for many years. The schools love the magazines and the dolls. One of the teachers at a school in the central desert said that it is very cold in the winter and that the kids would love to get hand-knitted woollen beanies. The teacher said that they could be in a variety of sizes.  
This could be a great project for knitters who want a worthwhile project during this time of social isolation caused by Covid-19. The pattern provided has varied size options and is an easy one, however you can use any other pattern that you might have. If you are using a thicker ply wool, then adjust your pattern accordingly. 
Your contribution to this project would be much appreciated. If you want any help with the pattern, or need wool or can donate wool, please email: Vicki Israel.

When you have knitted your beanies, please send photos so we can share these. 

Download the beanie pattern  HERE.

JSA End-of-Year Wrap-up, 2019

NSTE’s Jews for Social Action (JSA) had another very inspiring worthwhile year with all our various projects, and we thank all the volunteers who make lunches for asylum seekers, tutor Indigenous students, help with bush regeneration for CreekCare and contribute to the Kiva project.

The Biala Hostel tutoring group led by Keren Cox-Witton took the students paddle-boarding on Narrabeen Lake, which was a lot of fun for both tutors and students, and a nice end to the year.


This year we received a number of awards and accolades from appreciative organisations: 

  • Our lunch team was nominated by the Asylum Seekers Centre for the team category in the 2019 NSW Volunteer awards.
  • Our indigenous literacy program and the tutors were acknowledged by the Northern Beaches Regional Aboriginal Education Consultative Group.
  • Our CreekCare leader John Balint (pictured) was recently honoured by Willoughby Council, receiving the Golden Trowel award for 2019.

We look forward to 2020 being another year of continuing all our projects working with wonderful volunteers.

Aboriginal Support Group

JSA's Aboriginal Support Group runs several projects centred on education and literacy.  Learn about the Early Support Aboriginal Literacy Project, the Biala Hostel Homework Program, the Remote Outback Reading Project, and the Aboriginal Experience here.

Asylum Seeker Support

We honour the Jewish value of welcoming strangers by supporting the Asylum Seekers Centre, Settlement Services International, and Music for Refugees.  Learn about these projects here.

Read a recent Thank You letter received from the Asylum Seekers Centre

Scotts Creek Creekcare

Scotts Creek Creekcare is the environmental group of NSTE, and is part of the Willoughby Council Bushcare volunteer program. We meet once a month on a Sunday morning working along the banks of Scotts Creek,  which flows past NSTE into Middle Harbour. Find out more here.

Kiva Micro-Credit Lending Team

JSA supports Kiva, a  micro-credit initiative,  that helps to put lenders in touch with people in the developing world who can benefit from small loans. JSA formed a Kiva  ‘lending team’ as a way of connecting with other people who are interested in doing something to fight poverty.  Our team currently has over 30 members and has made over 850 loans, totaling around $30,000.  Join the JSA lending team via the Kiva website.

Click here for instructions

"I Speak My Mind" Talks

JSA also runs a series of talks at NSTE where prominent people speak on social justice issues. Past speakers have included Julian Burnside, Bill Crews, Kerryn Phelps, Frank Brennan, Cate Faehrmann, and Lisa Jackson-Pulver. Themes have included racism, depression, Aboriginal disadvantage, population growth and refugees. The series includes an annual “The Aboriginal Experience”,  which is part of the Guringai Festival. 

Livracha - An NSTE Initiative

Facilitated by JSA, NSTE has a social action initiative called Livracha (pronounced Leev-ra-KHAH) - meaning “for a blessing”. In conjunction with, and inspired by, each of the Jewish festivals we celebrate throughout the year, we collect items at NSTE for people in need.  If you have an idea for a collection in association with a certain festival, please let us know, so we can try to work it into the Livracha cycle.

Please think of our Livracha collections when you come to shul for services, committee meetings, Hebrew School, b’nei mitzvah lessons, Israeli dancing, or other reasons.

At Pesach, we collected items for the Salvation Army’s Oasis Youth Support Network to provide to young people experiencing homelessness and at Shavuot we collect cereals and canned and dried fruit for women’s refuges in our area.  Over the High Holy Days we collect non perishable food items for Mazon to provide to those experiencing hunger.

We welcome donations of non-perishable food items or toiletries in the basket in the foyer at any time for providing to those in need.

For further information, please contact NSTE's Jews for Social Action (JSA).

Read more about the program here

Mitzvah Day 2019

On Sunday 17 November 2019, Mitzvah Day at North Shore Temple Emanuel was full of colour, smiles and good works. It was wonderful to see all different generations working together; wrapping gifts, making jewellery, cooking soup and more! Thanks to all those who donated gifts and gave of their time and energy to help make it a brilliant day!



Busy week with JSA - 27 March 2018

By Julia Selby

Last week was a busy week for tikkun olam at NSTE facilitated by our Jews for Social Action.

In addition to a team serving lunch at the Asylum Seekers Centre on Tuesday, over 50 people came to NSTE on Wednesday to hear an inspiring talk by Dorothy Hoddinott AO, (pictured) Principal of Holroyd High School under the "I Speak My Mind" banner.  

Ms Hoddinott spoke about human rights in the classroom, drawing on her experiences with individual students at her school as well as describing the big picture. 

On Friday, Lewis Klipin arranged for a group of clients from the Asylum Seekers Centre to visit the Australian Maritime Museum.  Gerald and Anne Holder organised lunch and provided ice creams for the children, while Lewis took the adults on a tour of the museum collection.  

On Sunday, as part of JSA’s CreekCare project, a team planted seedlings in the Scotts Creek area of Muston Park.  Stormwater from NSTE flows into this area and the team has been working on regeneration for several years with the support of Willoughby Council.  The livracha basket in the foyer continues to be available for donations of items such as toiletries, underwear and socks to be provided to the homeless through the Salvation Army’s Oasis Youth Support Program, as we share our festival of Pesach with others less fortunate. Thank you to those who have already contributed.

Jews for Social Action has come of age 

By John Balint (November 2017)

Some 16 years ago when we formed the group Jews for Social Action (JSA) to carry out Tikkun Olam at the North Shore Temple Emanuel, we did not envisage the number and scale of successful social justice programs that would eventuate and also how these programs  would assist in transforming the attitude of the congregation in regards to performing Tikkun Olam. 

Interestingly, when JSA was initiated the two key social justice areas that the inaugural members were interested in were Aboriginal issues and asylum seeker issues, issues which now form the backbone of our activities. 

The early intervention Aboriginal Literacy program now supports 18 children in seven primary schools in the northern areas of Sydney with the support of 18 volunteers.  This program aims to ensure that young Aboriginal children do not fall by the wayside in their schooling due to a lack of reading skills. Alongside this we have developed a once a fortnight homework tutoring  program for Aboriginal girls of high school age staying at the Biala hostel in Sydney, and another program that  assists in Aboriginal children’s literacy by sending Australian Geographic magazines to schools in remote outback communities. We currently send these magazines to schools in the Kimberly, the Pilbara, Arnhem land, Central Australia, Torres Strait and northern New South Wales. (Any Australian Geographic magazines would be gratefully accepted as “the children just love them, they are their favourite reading material, reading about all the different animals”)

The asylum seeker support program has for over 10 years been making, taking and serving lunch at the Newtown Asylum Seekers Centre every Tuesday. This now involves some 25 volunteers in seven teams making lunch for over 30 asylum seekers. As well we also conduct outings for asylum seekers from the Centre to places such as the Zoo and the Maritime Museum. We also support refugee services provider SSI.

We decided that we should have an environmental arm as well, so for the last five years we have been running a Creekcare group under the auspices of the Willoughby Council Bushcare program, meeting once a month to rehabilitate the creek banks along Scotts Creek in Chatswood (a creek that commences at the North Shore Temple Emanuel).

More recently, we have introduced bar and bat mitzvah students to the Kiva micro credit loan scheme which helps people in developing countries around the world. This has opened their eyes to a world of people taking advantage of micro credit loans to better themselves, and they have discovered that a loan of just $25 can make a real difference.

But the real success of these programs has been the creation of so many opportunities for volunteers within and outside our NSTE community to get involved in Tikkun Olam, creating a real sense of empowerment and purpose in their lives. JSA has really come of age, but it is the volunteers that made it happen.

For more information, please contact Jews for Social Action.

Mon, 25 January 2021 12 Sh'vat 5781