Social Action

Social Action

Upcoming Meetings and Ongoing Projects

Social Action Committee Meeting
Please note that there will be NO November meeting
Wednesday, December 6, 3:00 PM
Online ONLY; click for Zoom 

Interfaith Alliance on Poverty Meeting
Thursday, December 7, 12:00 PM
Online ONLY; register for Zoom

This month’s focus will me “Voices of Our Faith Leaders”

Turkey and Pie for Northwest Towers

Sign up to provide a turkey (prepared and carved) or pie (delicious, of course) for our neighbors at NW Towers to help them celebrate Thanksgiving on Sunday, November 19. You may drop off your donations Sunday, November 19 between 12:30 PM and 1:30 PM at the NW Towers parking lot (corner of NW 19th and Flanders). Sign up to contribute here.


Nut Butter Drive

Now through December, CBI’s Social Action Committee will be collecting peanut and other nut butters–the number one requested item nationwide–for LiftUP (formerly Lift Urban Portland). Peanut and other nut butters are shelf-stable, high in protein, and popular with all ages, making your donation particularly impactful for LiftUP’s food-insecure clientele. 

Donation bins are located in the Schnitzer Family Center. 


The Reform Movement’s 2023 Campaign for Climate Justice

A call to action…

The Reform Movement’s Power for Purpose Campaign is building power to advance environmental justice, stave off climate change’s devastation, and protect democracy. Through training and action in communities across our network, we are building power to move the White House to reflect voters, will and strengthen climate change regulations.

 CBI’s participation in this campaign is an opportunity to partner with strength to address the climate crisis and deliver a clean, healthy, and livable future for all communities, particularly those most impacted by climate pollution. We will be urging the administration to use the tools available to them to cut climate pollution in half by 2030 in an equitable way. 

Act now:  Environmental Justice cannot wait. Tell the White House to limit pollutants like soot, carbon, and mercury,



Learn About Opportunities to Support Refugee Families

Members of our CBI community  are in the process of applying to be a HIAS sponsored Welcome Circle  to support a Ukrainian family as they resettle in Portland. Please watch this space for updates, and  us know about your interest in participating in CBI refugee support activities by completing this survey.

Related Resources

Social Action Committee Meeting and Refugee Discussion

One family’s 40+ years of joy – The story of CBI members Jim and Judith (z”l) Emerson’s relationship to the Vietnamese family they welcomed and supported.

Ukrainian Family Settles Into Portland Home -Jewish Review Article (March 15, 2023 edition; pages 10-11)

HIAS Welcome Circles – learn more about this program

Mitzvah Day 365 Interest Groups

Launched this Spring, Mitzvah Day 365 is an opportunity to engage in Tikkun Olam  throughout the year. Activities to include education, advocacy and direct service. Email us to sign up for one (or more) of the groups listed here.

CBI engagement in Portland Communities Active in Disaster,  a direct-response group providing cooling centers in extreme heat and  winter warming centers

Climate/Environmental Justice

Do Good
volunteer list for one time and longer term opportunities

Every Voice, Every Vote
combatting voter suppression 

Food Insecurity

Immigrant, Refugee and Asylum Seeker Support  

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service

Thanks to all who participated in CBI’s first-ever Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service. Congregants of all ages came out to support Portland Backpack Project, Cascadia Clusters, Lift UP, Project Lemonade, WRJ/Beth Israel Sisterhood’s ongoing work toward menstrual justice, the Humane Society and Robison Home (via the Mini Mensches at-home projects).

Every Voice, Every Vote: Thank You!

As Reform Jews, we are called to act. And we did!


We responded with others in the Reform Movement by participating in the  non-partisan 2022 Every Voice, Every Vote Campaign. Our outreach to voters of color in states with a history of voter suppression and barriers to voting that disproportionately affect minority votes connected with over 450,000 individuals. 


As in 2020, we partnered with the Center for Common Ground* in their “Reclaim Our Vote” actions. These included reaching out to disenfranchised voters with postcards, phone calls and texts to encourage and support participation in voting. 



The Center for Common Ground is a non-partisan BIPOC led voting rights organization. Their mission is to empower under-represented voters to participate fully in democracy. They have proven success in achieving the goals of their mission.

CBI Supports Ukraine and Refugees Around the World

As part of our commitment to welcome the stranger, Social Action funds are allocated to organizations that work internationally and locally to support refugees and asylum seekers. 

Generous donations to our Social Action Funds have allowed us to make allocations to organizations doing humanitarian work to support the people of Ukraine, refugees from around the world and  the many recent arrivals in our community from Afghanistan. These included a 2022 donation of $10,000 to World Central Kitchen for provision of meals to people in Ukraine and those displaced by the war there

WRJ/Beth Israel Sisterhood and CBI have an ongoing collection of period products (pads preferred) to be donated to the Somali American Council of Oregon. Look for the collection bins on campus. 

Interested in CBI Social Action and Immigration Justice?

Refugee “Restart Kits”

The Oregon Jewish Museum and Holocaust Resource Center and Jewish Federation of Greater Portland are partnering with the Refugee Care Collective to collect “Restart Kits” for newly arrived Afghans

Lift Every Voice Oregon’s Gun Safety Measure 114 Passed!

 Lift Every Voice Oregon (LEVO), a grassroots interfaith organization, was co-founded by Rabbi Cahana and two other local clergy in response to the need to act against the epidemic of gun violence. 

Gun violence has taken far too many innocent lives in Oregon and across the nation. No one law will fix all that is broken. But laws in other states similar to Measure 114  have been proven to reduce gun related deaths and injuries. This includes a reduction in the large numbers of deaths by suicide using a gun. 

LEVO has shown that we are not helpless in confronting this problem.

A team of 1,600 volunteers, including many from our CBI community, contributed to the daunting effort of collecting the huge number of signatures required by the state to move Measure 114  forward.  

Measure 114 was the only gun safety measure in the nation moved through the initiative petition process to a state ballot. Rabbi Cahana was one of  the three chief petitioners for this measure.

Measure 114 will:

– Require a “Permit to Purchase” for all gun purchases

– Require a completed background check before  permit issuance

– Require gun safety training (classroom and live fire) for a permit

– Ban sales, manufacture, transfer and possession of high capacity

  magazines (greater than 10 rounds)

We took a stand and our voices were heard. 

 While we rejoice in the success of passing Measure114,  our work is not over. We need to continue to educate Oregon voters on the importance of common sense gun safety measures, counter misinformation and work for additional actions to prevent gun violence.  


2022 Social Action Tribute Funds Allocations

November 2022

From the General Social Action Tribute Fund:
Cascadia Clusters – $2400

From the Social Action Food Fund:
Portland Backpack – $2,000
MealsonUS PDX – $2,000
Jewish Family and Child Service – $2,000*
* for Thanksgiving Food Box Program
NW Towers Thanksgiving Dinner – $500

October 2022

From the General Social Action Tribute Fund:
Portland Backpack – $2,000
Cascade Abortion Support Collective – $1,000
URJ Religious Action Center   (RAC)* – $1,000
*in support of “Every Voice, Every Vote

June 2022

From the General Social Action Tribute Fund:
CODA – $1,500
Urban Gleaners – $ 3,000

From the General Social Action Fund:

HIAS  (Formerly Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society)              $1,500
IRCO (Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization   $1,500

From Food Fund:

Blanchet House                                            $2,500
Mealsonus PDX                                            $1,500
Portland Backpack                                        $1,500
Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center        $1,000
Native American Rehabilitation Association   $1,000
Stone Soup PDX                                             $500
Urban Gleaners $500

Robert Peltz (z”l) High Holidays Funds for Food

The 5783 Robert Peltz (z”l) High Holidays Funds for Food raised $19,970.   

Allocations have been made to the following organizations for their programs combating food insecurity:

Oregon Food Bank: $4,070
LiftUP (Formerly Lift Urban Portland): $4,000
IRCO(Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization): $3,100
NARA (Native American Rehabilitation Association): $2,000
Virginia Garcia: $2,000
Sunshine Division: $1,800
NE Emergency Food Fund: $1,000
Stone Soup PDX: $1,000
Urban Gleaners: $1,000

Brit Olam

CBI is a Brit Olam (Covenant with our World) committed congregation, joining over 200 other Reform Congregations in linked social justice work.

CBI has an ongoing relationship with our neighbors who reside in the NW Towers and Annex buildings. Our connection with NW towers is  thru Lift Urban Portland’s Adopt a Building Program.

Family Support

We  staff an afterschool homework club for school age children living in the Annex one to two days per week. The kids, many who have attended for several years, look forward to the club day. We have relationships with the parents so we can partner in our efforts to assist the kids.  Snacks, games, art projects and socializing are compliments to the tutorial assistance.

We assist with purchase of school supplies when needed. Each child can receive either a winter coat or shoes in the fall and a holiday gift in December.

Sunday Food Pantry

CBI members  provide transportation for pick up and delivery of Trader Joe’s food donation each Sunday for NW Towers’ resident run  Food Pantry. We also help with unpacking the food, which  gives us the opportunity to socialize with the resident volunteers. The Pantry is valuable source of fresh fruits, vegetables and a variety of other nutritious items.

Social Programs

We host a variety of special events for the residents during the year including a traditional Thanksgiving Dinner, a New Year’s Eve party and a lunch on CBI Mitzvah Day. Many volunteers of all ages are participants in these celebrations.

CBI is a member of the Interfaith Alliance on Poverty. The Alliance is a diverse and dynamic group of local faith based congregations with a mission of working to alleviate poverty in the Portland region.

Goals include:

  • Increasing understanding of poverty, especially generational poverty.
  • Engaging with those in poverty to provide direct connection and service, and to increase our understanding of the problem.
  • Advocating for systemic change to help eliminate poverty.

Meetings are held the first Thursday of every month from 12:00-2:00 PM. Meeting locations vary and all meetings are open to the public and include educational components and thought- provoking discussions. The Alliance also sponsors seminars and workshops which are open to the public.

More information is available here.

An annual highlight of the CBI calendar, our community truly comes together each Spring for Mitzvah Day. Congregants of all ages participate in a variety of activities to support good works throughout the Portland area.

Mitzvah Day is run entirely by CBI volunteers, so if you have a great idea for a project or want to get involved in planning, please let us know!

Connect with Social Action at CBI

Our Beth Israel Community has a full slate of social action activities, from direct service to advocacy, that reflects our social justice teachings.

Your help is needed. Volunteer for an event or ongoing activity, or to help with the development and implementation of new programs. Participation in the Social Action Committee is open to all congregants. The following is a description of some of our programs.

The Social Action Committee welcomes requests for allocations from the Social Action Food Fund, Robert Peltz (z”l) High Holidays Funds for Food, and the Social Action General Tribute Fund. Please click to learn more and to submit a request.

Even in this time of physical distancing, we have ongoing projects to support our community. We continue our neighbors at NW Towers, including assisting with the resident-run food pantry.

With a long list of activities, there are always opportunities to help our community. These projects are open to the larger Portland- area Jewish community.

Click here for opportunities to volunteer.

 Questions about how you can get involved with the Social Action Committee? Email or call Program and Communications Coordinator Tracy Manaster Alifanz at (503) 222-1069 to learn how you can make a difference!