Social Action


Our Principles:

  • Community building within Temple Emanuel as well as throughout the South Hills and beyond
  • Promote Temple Emanuel and community events that champion the poor, the needy and the stranger in our midst
  • Advocate for social justice in an inclusive, non-political way
  • Engage new members in social action and social advocacy activities.

Upcoming Events:

2018 Family Promise 

Temple Emanuel is excited to support Bower Hill Community Church (BHCC) in helping Family Promise of Southwestern Pennsylvania for our third year!

Family Promise connects homeless children and their families with a network of local congregations and dedicated staff who provide shelter, meals, hospitality and support until they are able to return to sustainable independent lives in their own homes. Over 40% of the homeless population is made up of families. Many shelters do not accept entire families and they have few options.

This community based program has a Day Center in Crafton which is their address of residence and base of operations for finding employment and permanent housing. Families have access to shower, laundry facilities, as well as childcare at the center. A fulltime caseworker is also there to provide assistance. The average stay for a family is 48 days and roughly 70% of them successfully return to sustainable housing.

The evening shelter and meals are provided by a network of host congregations.  Each host congregation is assigned up to five weeks throughout the year. These host congregations are assisted by the support congregations. All events take place at Bower Hill Community Church.

BHCC is responsible for four weeks during the year and Temple Emanuel has the following days: March 27, June 19-20, September 4 and November 27.

The volunteer opportunities are:

  • Afternoon Van Driver (4:30 pm – 6:00 pm)

  • Dinner Hosts (5:00 pm– 7:00 pm)

  • Evening Hosts (7:00 pm – 9:00 pm)

  • Overnight Hosts (9:00 pm – 6:30 am)

  • Morning Van Driver (5:00 am- 7:00 am). The van is a 14 passenger van.

If you are interested in helping, please contact Marty Altschul at

SHIM Vegetable Garden

Look to the right front quadrant, when facing temple’s front doors.  You’ll see the new South Hills Interfaith Ministry (SHIM) garden, spearheaded by Social Action members! Summer 2017’s first crop yielded a bounty of leafy vegetables and squash, plus late-harvest tomatoes. Anyone with a green thumb, arms to carry the hose over to water, or green ideas is welcome to participate in Spring-Summer 2018!

High Holiday Food Drive

Every year, Social Action along with Temple and preschool families collect food for the high holidays, delivered by Torah Center families after Sukkot.

Fall Coat Drive

Each year in October-November, look for boxes downstairs for clean, gently used or new coats/jackets that Social Action members deliver to SHIM. SHIM bundles the coats for Goodwill stores, and Goodwill issues SHIM clients gift cards to pick out their own coats. [SHIM also has a free clothes room – limited to in-season, clean clothes in good condition. Iris Harlan, ECDC’s director and Temple preschool families also organize a gift card drive for the winter holidays to benefit SHIM clients.

5th Grade Family Day Lunchmaking for Miryam’s Place

Every December, Social Action partners with Torah Center 5th graders on Family Day to assemble lunches and holiday warming gift sacks for Miryam’s Place, a homeless women’s shelter in downtown Pittsburgh. Eighty-ninety sandwiches and sides are prepared for the 40-45 residents, along with personal care gift sacks and hand decorated cards.

Knitting and Crocheting Circle of Friends

This subgroup, formed under Social Action, meets monthly at the Galleria on Sundays. All are welcome to join in (or leave handcrafted contributions in the temple office for pickup). Concordia crafters have joined in, and donated bountifully! In Spring 2017, members crafted pink and colorful caps for chemo patients. In Fall 2017, the focus was on scarves and winter hats for adults and children. Year-round in 2018, baby caps, soft hats/lap blankets/shawls are being crafted to bring cheer to the local community.

Contact Us

We need you to help make our initiatives a success. Please contact us if you’re interested or have any questions.