Volunteer Opportunities

Cooking for SOME

Temple Emanuel hosts many opportunities to serve our community and the wider world. Initiatives are coordinated by different groups including our ECC, Religious School, and many different committees and affiliates. We also help connect Temple members with other worthy activities in the wider community. Each of our b’nei mitzvah selects a Mitzvah Project to participate in during the year prior to their Bar/Bat/Brit Mitzvah.

Please reach out to the Temple Office at office@templeemanuelmd.org or 301.942.2000 to be connected with any of these volunteer opportunities.

  • Caring for Our TE Community
  • Caring for Our Neighborhood and Our World
  • Links to other Temple Emanuel Committees / Affiliates

Caring for our TE Community

The Meal of Comfort Committee is always looking for volunteers to continue the Temple tradition of providing meals to bereaved families returning from the cemetery. There are several ways to help, each requiring only an infrequent, small commitment of time. But in order to provide this service to families, we need a large number of volunteers so that, on short notice, we can be certain to have sufficient volunteers available. If you would be interested in joining with others in performing this mitzvah and/or would like more information, please contact the Temple office to be connected with the committee organizers.

The Brotherhood Sunshine Committee sends cards and prepares meals when members are in the hospital, home recuperating, getting married, having a baby, or if there is a death in the family.

Brotherhood undertakes an annual clean-up of the grounds every August before religious school convenes.

Caring for our Neighborhood and our World

Addressing Local Food Insecurity

Every Sunday in the spring-fall volunteers for the Community Social Action Council (CSAC) Community Vegetable Garden meet at 9am in the back of the Temple Emanuel parking lot for two hours of work in our vegetable garden. Mid-week watering is provided by volunteers as needed. These vegetables are donated to the Shepherd’s Table homeless shelter in Silver Spring.

Each year on the High Holy Days, Temple Emanuel collects food for the Manna Food Center. Last year we collected over 4000 pounds of food. You may not be aware, but food insecurity is a continuing and serious problem in Montgomery County. The 4,000 pounds we donated only lasted a few weeks. So, Manna needs our help all year round. There is a bin in the lobby in front of Hamakom where you can bring non-perishable food items any time you come to Temple. Volunteers deliver it year round. Members bring pasta boxes to use as groggers at our Purim Shpiel that are then donated.

We have monthly collections of sandwiches and other food for Martha’s Table, for distribution to the homeless throughout D.C.

WRJ coordinates efforts to make meals for families staying at NIH Children’s Inn and providing two weeks of food for immigrant families resettling through Kind Works.

Many TE members volunteer to cook and/or serve at So Others Might Eat (SOME) on Christmas Day.

Social Justice Initiatives

The Temple Community Social Action Council (CSAC) promotes and helps organize activities locally that allow opportunities to perform mitzvot, supports related activities throughout the congregation, and strengthens the ability of all Temple volunteers to make a difference in our community.

CSAC encourages members to engage in social action and social justice, in Montgomery County, statewide and nationally. We participate in programs from the Union for Reform Judaism and the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism. CSAC and WRJ both support vital Get Out the Vote activities.

The Global Mitzvah Project (GMP) plans and conducts fund-raising, educational and global advocacy activities to inspire active involvement of Temple Emanuel youth and adults in tikkun olam. In partnership with reputable international organizations like Innovation:Africa, Engineers Without Borders, Tevel b’Tzedek, Amigos de Santa Cruz, and Free the Slaves, the GMP has pinpointed critical areas of need in many countries (e.g., Guatemala, Kenya, El Salvador, Uganda, Tanzania, Burkina Faso, Cambodia). Funds have been raised to improve health, education, safety, food security, and self-determination for women and children in these countries. The project has demonstrated a strong commitment to social justice while involving a majority of the congregation in multi-faceted, community wide activities.

To date, 30 different projects have been supported in 18 countries. The total amount of funds donated to these projects has exceeded $50,000 thanks to the generosity of our congregation and friends. GMP celebrated its 13th Year in 2021, and has completed two milestone products: (1) booklet featuring 10 of the GMT’s successful projects; (2) team video describing the work of the GMP. To review significant project activities and accomplishments visit their website.

Kiva.org is a site for disadvantaged people all over the world seeking small loans to start their own businesses. Join the Global Mitzvah Project Lending Team by making a donation for as little as $25, and help a borrower of your choice to improve the life and well being of their family.

Congregants are invited to join the Global Mitzvah Team and attend our meetings. Please contact the office to be put in touch with the co-chairs.

Monthly Tzedakah Program
Every month we select recipient organization(s), provide education to our community about their mission, and ask that everyone donates generously. This information is included in weekly emails to our community and featured on a tzedakah box in our lobby.

March Mitzvah Madness
We organize a variety of collection drives and at our Purim Carnival children make “Thoughtful Treasures” for the Children’s Inn at NIH.

Collection Drives for A Wider Circle
Religious School and ECC families volunteer and donate items as part of our March Mitzvah Madness.

Collection Drive for Montgomery County Animal Services and Adoption Center
Members donate towels, blankets, and pet food as part of our March Mitzvah Madness.

Collection Drive for DC Diaper Bank
Members donate baby wipes, formula, and diapers as part of our March Mitzvah Madness.

Collection Drives for I Support the Girls
WRJ has supported this local organization for almost a decade. In 2023 we held a special Back-to-School and High Holy Days Collection Drive. I Support the Girls (ISTG) collects and distributes essential items, including individually wrapped menstrual hygiene products, new or gently-used bras and underwear, allowing women and folx experiencing homelessness, impoverishment, or distress to stand tall with dignity.

Collection Drives for Stepping Stones Shelter
WRJ has coordinated support from TE members for this Rockville homeless shelter year-round, but especially over the holidays.

Collection Drives for Comfort Cases
Provides new backpacks containing essentials to children in the foster care system.

Additional Volunteer Opportunities

Many other Temple Emanuel committees and our Women of Reform Judaism and Brotherhood welcome new volunteers for both ongoing and one-time projects. 

Other projects include:

  • Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Committee – The Committee’s mission is to carry out the ideals stated in the Temple’s DEI Statement by developing a DEI Program that creates cultural competency and advocates for diversity, equity and inclusion for the Community; by creating an environment that reflects the community we serve; and by fostering an environment in which all members, staff, students, and visitors feel included, respected, valued, and safe. Please see their report from the 2023 Temple Emanuel Annual Meeting here.
  • Kulanu Committee – Supports and sponsors gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender inclusion and programming at Temple Emanuel and the community. Learn more about the work of the Kulanu committee and see our 2023 Pride events here.
  • Brotherhood – as listed above and more! Contact BHPres@templeemanuelmd.org for more information.
  • WRJ – as listed above and more! Contact wrj@templeemanuelmd.org for more information.

Many other Temple Emanuel committees as well as our Women of Reform Judaism and Brotherhood welcome new volunteers on an ongoing basis. Learn more about other committee opportunities here.

Please reach out to the Temple Office at office@templeemanuelmd.org or 301.942.2000 to be connected with any of these volunteer opportunities.