The Social Justice Vision at Stephen S. Wise Temple

Our congregation will see Social Justice as a calling that derives from our sense of God and the imperative of Jewish Tradition. The Stephen S. Wise Temple community will use our influence, power and compassion to be a force for positive, meaningful and effective change in the quality of life on behalf of all the citizens of Los Angeles and the world.


Monday, June 11, 2012

LA Voice in the news

The Power of Interfaith-Based Community Organizing, by Zach Hoover

This article was written by the Executive Director of LA Voice.  LA Voice is our interfaith organizing network committed to organizing faith communities around social justice issues facing the city, our state and the nation.  Our work with our sister congregations enables us to raise our voice as part of a faith based collective voice for meaningful social change. 

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Stephen S. Wise Freedom School is set to open in June!

These are the "Servant Leaders" for the Stephen S. Wise Freedom School.  The Staff is hired, Temple High School kids will be our "CITs" and 50 children are set to spend six weeks in an exciting, fun and inspiring literacy program on our campus.  The press release is below:

Stephen S. Wise Temple Initiates First West Coast
Jewish Freedom School
On June 25, Stephen S. Wise Temple will open the first Children’s Defense Fund Freedom School sponsored by a Jewish organization on the West Coast, and only the second nationally. Fifty children from Stanley Mosk Elementary School in Winnetka will attend a six-week program of literacy training, mentorship, and enrichment activities on the Stephen S. Wise campus. All costs to fund have been contributed or raised by Stephen S. Wise Temple from its members as well as from family foundations and Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky.  The program will be run and staffed by Stephen S. Wise Temple adult and youth members, other individuals from the Los Angeles community, and Temple members will volunteer their time for various enrichment programs every day. The teachers will be committed college students with a passion for social justice and a love of children. Students in the program will enjoy resources that the Stephen S. Wise Temple campus offers, including beautiful classrooms, open playgrounds, and a pool. In addition, students will take several field trips to cultural sites around the Los Angeles area, including the Skirball Cultural Center and the Getty Center.

Temple member volunteer and Project Director, Andrea Sonnenberg and professional Site Coordinator, Jennifer Smith recently traveled to Clinton, Tennessee for the Children’s Defense Fund national training. There, along with 250 Freedom School staff from across the country, they acquired essential skills for Freedom School management. As ambassadors for the Jewish community to the overwhelmingly African American Freedom School staff, they were enthusiastically embraced by participants and were able to share Jewish values and teachings with them. Quoting one of the participant’s comments about how much they respected Jews, Sonnenberg recounts, “they [Jews] care, because they are dedicated to education, and because they are motivated by their values.” For Sonnenberg, she notes that this experience “was one of the most transformative moments in my life.”

Rabbi Ron Stern, the Director of Social Justice programing at Stephen S. Wise Temple, adds, “this program establishes Stephen S. Wise Temple as a leading synagogue for creating meaningful and enduring connections with the broadest spectrum of the Los Angeles community. In order for this project to succeed, we coordinated our efforts with LAUSD board member, Steve Zimmer and Principal Barbara Friedrich of Stanley Mosk Elementary School. Through this project, Stephen S. Wise Temple has devoted its superior facilities and skilled professional resources to address inadequate educational opportunities for under-served children.  It is our hope that other religious institutions throughout the Westside will be inspired by our efforts and create their own Freedom Schools. Stephen S. Wise Temple stands ready to offer our support.”