Social Action

Supporting Social Action
Temple Israel Quilts and Coordinators

Making the world a better place through acts of kindness

We strive through social action to fulfill the Mitzvot of caring for others (GimilutChasadim) and repairing the world (Tikun Olam).

Human Rights Shabbat
Irwin Cotler

December 12, 2020

Giving Committee

“Kindness, I’ve discovered, is everything in life.” ― Isaac Bashevis Singer

We would like to warmly welcome members of Temple to join us. The purpose of the Giving Committee is to foster a culture of giving and philanthropy at Temple Israel:

  • that empowers our community to care for one another and others (Gimilut Chasadim)
  • expresses our value for an inclusive and welcoming congregation (Kehilah)
  • is integral to how we work together as a sacred community
  • strengthens and sustains our community for now and future generations

We have a number of projects we would like to launch and we hope that you will help us. Our focus is on developing and leading projects with the  idea that we can give of ourselves in many ways. If you like to write and edit funding requests; are interested in designing and look for funding for projects to support Temple’s community; or would like to be an active volunteer at specific events we would love to have you. The two Co-Chairs of the Giving Committee are Deidre Butler and Kim Doran.

The Oneg Project

The Giving Committee launched the Oneg Project at the High Holidays services in 2019. This project aims to ensure that all onegs are provided for throughout the year. 

Truth and Reconciliation Task Force (TFTR)

We are pleased to report that a new Prayer for Canada that includes Land Acknowledgement is quickly becoming an organic part of our Shabbat Ritual (minhag). Its third paragraph states that:We acknowledge that the land on which Temple Israel gathers is situated on the unceded, unsurrendered Territory of the Anishinabe Algonquin Nation whose presence here reaches back to time immemorial. We are grateful to have the opportunity to freely worship on this territory, and we ask your blessings upon it, and upon us – and let us say: Amen.

We recognize, honour and respect this Nation and their right to this land. We are grateful to have the opportunity to live and work in their community on this territory.

As a Jewish community, may we always strive to fulfill our value of Tzedek Tirdof – the pursuit of justice in our society. Thus we commit to working and learning more about the history of the Algonquin people and take responsibility for building a life-long relationship. We also welcome your thoughts on this statement and its use.

The Reform Jewish Community of Canada has issued a Statement of Solidarity and a Call for Action and posted it on their website. Read this statement, Re: Discovery of Unmarked Graves of Indigenous Children at Kamloops Indian Res

June 2021 Update

June is National Indigenous History Month and June 21 is National Indigenous Peoples Day. See this Government of Canada resource page.

On June 7th, 2021 we were very pleased to host a unique opportunity for Temple Israel and Or Hanashamah members to learn more about Indigenous issues in the form of a Virtual Kairos Blanket Exercise. This 3.5 hour activity included 15 Temple congregants, Rabbis Mikelberg and Lithwick, and 9 members of Or Hanashamah. The feedback received indicates that it was a very insightful and enriching experience for those who participated.

The KAIROS Blanket Exercise program is a unique, participatory history lesson – developed in collaboration with Indig- enous Elders, knowledge keepers and educators – that fosters truth, understanding, respect and reconciliation among Indigenous and non-indigenous peoples.

For more information, go to: Blanket Exercise Workshop

A debriefing session for Temple participants as a follow-up to the event was an equally enriching opportunity for reflection and exploration of ‘next steps’. The meeting generated exciting program ideas explicitly about Jewish- Indigenous relations that will be at the centre of Task Force programming for the foreseeable future (watch for updates in the weekly e-bulletin).

There are many opportunities during this month to participate in virtual activities to increase our understanding of the history, heritage and diversity of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples in Canada.
Canadian Museum of History has a variety of activities, workshops and exhibitions.

The Summer Solstice Indigenous Festival is hosting several events on line.

McGill University School of Continuing Studies is offering a series of events including talks and presentations from indigenous speaker, educators and professions from across the country.

About the Task Force on Truth and Reconciliation at Temple Israel – In July 2018 Temple Israel formed a Task Force on Truth and Reconciliation to respond to Recommendation #49 of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission that calls on “all religious denominations and faith groups who have not already done so to repudiate concepts used to justify European sovereignty over Indigenous lands and peoples such as the Doctrine of Discovery and terra nullius” with the goal of doing this through a Jewish lens. In 2018 and 2019 the Task Force organized events at Temple to educate our congregation and deepen our understand- ing of our shared history with Indigenous peoples and their cultures. In March 2020 in-person activities were suspended due to the COVID pandemic.


A good source of titles of books by indigenous authors can be found on the CBC website.

More information

Contact us for more information on the Task Force or to express interest in joining as part of a group attending an event of Indigenous interest or discussion of a book. Get in touch with Anne Alper, Fran Klodawsky or Joyce Pagurek.

The Baby-Quilt-to-Israel Project

* We are not meeting due to COVID-19.

Read online

Babies and toddlers in Nunavut snuggle in quilts from Temple Israel

By Louise Rachlis for Temple Israel, featured in the Ottawa Jewish Bulletin

For many years, the Temple Israel quilters have been making baby quilts and crocheted blankets for hospitals and daycare centres in Israel.

However, during the COVID-19 pandemic, few visitors are travelling to Israel so the quilts and blankets have piled up in the quilters’ workroom next to the Temple. Read more…

Baby quilt, 2016