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Social Action

SVAJ stands out as a leader within the community in the realm of social action, engaging members and others in the wider community. Our activities include:

  • Education: To raise awareness in the congregation about issues of social justice such as homelessness, hunger, poverty and disability, with emphasis on how we, as Jews, can help to address these problems.
  • Direct Action: To involve congregants of all ages in helping those less fortunate than ourselves through gemilut chasadim, acts of loving kindness.
  • Community engagement: To partner with other congregations and groups in the community, both Jewish and non-Jewish, to increase interfaith/interracial understanding and acceptance.
  • Advocacy: To inform members of opportunities to advocate for social justice.

When the Light is Hidden: Responding to Hate

Read Rabbi Hart's recent D'var Torah, in response to events in Charlottesville, here.

Vigil Against Hate

On August 14, Skokie Valley Agudath Jacob organized and hosted a rally against racism, anti-Semitism, bigotry, and hate following the Nazi violence in Charlottesville.

Speakers included: Rabbi Hart; Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky; State Reps. Lou Lang and Laura Fine; Skokie Mayor George Van Dusen; and Dilnaz Waraich, interfaith and outreach committee co-chair for the Muslim Community Center.

Here is a video compilation from the event (courtesy of Nina Kavin/Dear Evanston):

Clips from NBC and ABC News are posted below.



Tisha B'Av -- Family Service Project

Tisha B'Av is a day when we focus on the brokenness in our past and the brokenness that exists today. With the recent terror attacks in Israel and continuing gun violence in nearby Chicago, it is not hard, unfortunately, to connect to its themes. We keep in mind these famous words of Rav Kook: “If we were destroyed, and the world with us, due to baseless hatred, then we shall rebuild ourselves, and the world with us, with baseless love — ahavat chinam." 

This year's program for Tisha B'Av at Skokie Valley Agudath Jacob included an opportunity to practice ahavat chinam by addressing gun violence, one of the greatest tragedies in our own city of Chicago.  On Leil Tisha B'Av, after Eicha and kinot, we heard from Tamar Manasseh of Mothers & Men Against Senseless Killings (MASK) in a conversation about gun violence and the Jewish community. The next day, while fasting, we prepared supplies and joy to support MASK's successful efforts to reduce gun violence by having daily BBQ's and youth activities for the Englewood community.

Sat, January 18 2020 21 Tevet 5780