Volunteering and Social Justice

the Morris Cafritz Center for Social Responsibility

The Edlavitch DCJCC’s Morris Cafritz Center for Social Responsibility (MCCSR) offers both hands-on volunteer opportunities as well as learning about systemic inequality in our communities. At the core of our work is Judaism’s sacred mandate to create justice and repair the world.

Our volunteer opportunities are designed to be family-friendly, flexible, and accessible whether you can commit one hour a month or a few hours a week. We offer our volunteers the opportunity to build lasting relationships with agencies and clients over the span of years, or volunteer once and try a different project the next time. Come by yourself, with a friend, or bring a group of colleagues!

In order to affect true change, we must also correct the systemic injustices prevalent in many sectors of our society, so come learn with us about the root causes of inequality and how to bring about change on a systemic level. We focus on four main topics: racial equity, affordable housing, food security, and refugee/asylum seeker/immigrant justice.

While we are neither a social service agency nor an advocacy organization, we hope to empower you and provide you with the tools to go out and make our city a more just, inclusive, and livable place for all.

Upcoming Volunteer Opportunities and Events

Join the EDCJCC’s Refugee Resettlement Team
Jan 3 – Feb 5 all-day

Join the Edlavitch DCJCC’s Refugee Resettlement Team

The EDCJCC partners with Homes Not Borders, Lutheran Social Services, and SAMU to support both refugees and asylum seekers arriving in the DMV. One of our largest projects is fully furnishing and stocking the apartment of an incoming refugee family a few times a year. We also provide special programming such as refugee story-telling nights and ways to support the refugee community through advocacy.

For the apartment set-ups, the Refugee Resettlement Team (RRT) sources all of the essentials a family needs upon arriving whether through donating the items themselves, asking friends, family, and neighbors, or helping source through FB/neighborhood listserves. We then recruit volunteers from the RRT to come out and set up the apartment in person.

Signing up for the Refugee Resettlement Team puts you on the list for communications about upcoming opportunities to support refugees and asylum seekers. It does not commit you to participate but if you are not active for one full year, we will check in on whether you would like to continue being part of this team.

Please click on “tickets” to fill out the short registration form in order to join the Refugee Resettlement Team.



Refugee Shabbat with Sixth & I
Feb 3 @ 6:00 pm





Join the Edlavitch DCJCC to celebrate HIAS’s Refugee Shabbat at Sixth & I.

The fastest-growing European refugee crisis since World War II is still ongoing. People seeking asylum are being turned away at borders around the world. And this year, for the first time ever, the total number of displaced persons globally is over 100 million. This is a critical moment for all of us to reaffirm and redouble our support for refugees and asylum seekers.

Join the EDCJCC at Sixth & I for an inclusive service led by Rabbi Nora celebrating HIAS Refugee Shabbat. With music from Aaron Shneyer and Sarah Fredrick, the service blends contemporary and traditional elements for an experience that feels both familiar and fresh. The evening will also include hearing from a speaker who arrived in the US on a refugee visa tell their story.

To help support local refugees and resettlement efforts, please bring toothbrushes and full-sized tubes of toothpaste to donate.

Happy Hour – 6:00 pm
Service – 7:00 pm

This event is free but registration is required. Click the red “Register” button to sign up.  A virtual attendance option is available as well.

Handmade for the Homeless – February 2023
Feb 5 @ 10:30 am – 12:30 pm

We are so excited to be together in person for the February Handmade for the Homeless!

Join fellow knitters and crocheters to make handmade goodies for a great cause! Our goal is to contribute as many warm winter items as possible to distribute to individuals experiencing homelessness in the DC area. All levels of knitters and crocheters are welcome.  Don’t know how to knit or crochet? We’ll teach you!

What should I bring?

Please bring your own needles/crochet hooks. If you are not already working on a warm winter item and are looking for a great project or just starting out, please bring:

  • #8 or #10 knitting needles (circular or straight) or a size H crochet hook
  • Patterns you’re working on or want to start

What do you supply?

We provide lots of beautiful yarn, several patterns including hat patterns using #17 needles or a size N crochet hook, and experienced knitters and crocheters to teach anyone who would like to learn how to knit or crochet.

If you can’t join us in person, join us in spirit by knitting or crocheting:

  • Hats
  • Scarves
  • Gloves and Mittens
  • Socks or slippers
  • Other items to keep people warm during the cold winter months

Want to know more or join our virtual community? Like us on Facebook!

REGISTER: Please click the red “Register” button to sign up for this free event! For this month, we will have the option to virtually “zoom'” into the meeting. Please indicate in your registration whether you are joining in-person or via zoom. 

If you have any questions about this event contact Chana at chanaengel@gmail.com.

MASK & VACCINATION POLICY:  Effective March 21, 2022, masking will be optional within the EDCJCC, except for in Goldman Theater and Cafritz Hall, as well as in any other program deemed necessary by the seating layout. The organizers of Handmade for the Homeless request that you wear a mask.

For more information, visit edcjcc.org/covidsafety.

Do you need any additional accommodations for this event? If so, please contact msmith@edcjcc.org

Tu B’Shvat Family Park Cleanup
Feb 5 @ 10:30 am – 12:00 pm

Celebrate Tu B’Shvat by cleaning up a green space in DC!

What: Meet on the banks of the Anacostia River to learn about Tu B’Shvat – often referred to as Jewish Arbor Day – and participate in a clean up of Kingman and Heritage Island! We will be joined by educators from Living Classrooms, the organization working to manage and conserve the Island.

We’ll gather together at the beginning for an interactive learning and intention setting and divide into work groups. At the end, we’ll gather again for a group photo and to share some Tu B’Shvat themed snacks. Bring your kids to learn to appreciate all that trees do for us, and give back to the trees by making the park they live in clean and beautiful.

All clean-up supplies and snacks will be provided. In case of heavy rain or snow this program will be canceled.

Who: This event is geared towards families with children, but everyone is welcome.

When: 10:30 AM – 12:00 PM

Where: Kingman and Heritage Islands. Exact location with map will be shared via email.

Registration: Registration for this project is free but required. Please register for each individual member of your family so we have an accurate head count by clicking on the red “register” button.

This program is brought to you in partnership with the Pozez JCC.

Living Classrooms is a nonprofit organization that is headquartered in Baltimore but has maintained a steady presence in the DMV for over 20 years. Living Classrooms’ work focuses on education, workforce development, and environmental stewardship, including the management of Kingman & Heritage Islands.

Guided Tour: The Utopia Project Exhibit
Feb 12 @ 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm


The global pandemic, attacks on democracy, and the overturning of Supreme Court decisions making way for states to pull back people’s rights can lead to activism fatigue and a general sense of hopelessness and defeat. Join us for part one of our two-part activism series that will re-energize you and lift your spirits so you can continue to be an advocate for change in our community and beyond.

WHAT: Part 1: Guided Tour: The Utopia Project Exhibit

What makes some social movements more successful than others? Experience a guided tour of The Utopia Project: Inspiration for Creative Activism exhibit at the Anacostia Community Museum, and learn about the research-informed tactics that have most often led to measurable social change. This experiential gallery is designed to help visitors tap into the issues they care about and envision their own version of a utopia as they prototype their ideas for making a better world.

WHEN: Sunday, February 12, 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM

REGISTRATION: Tickets are $12 for part 1 of this series or $18 for both parts 1 and 2.

Want to learn more about how to successfully make change? Attend Part 2: Be the Change: An Activism Workshop on Tuesday, February 21 with JUFJ.

This workshop series is brought to you in partnership with Sixth & I and JUFJ.

Housing Up Valentine’s Day Party
Feb 14 @ 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm

Throw a festive Valentine’s Day party for Housing Up, a close partner of the EDCJCC! Housing Up builds thriving communities in Washington, DC by developing affordable housing and offering comprehensive support services to homeless and low-income families.

What: Spread the LOVE and help throw a party for the children and families at Housing Up! Volunteers will lead games, do crafts, and make sweet treats with the residents. All of the supplies will be provided.

When: Tuesday, February 14, from 6:00-7:30pm.

Who: This program is open to volunteers ages 18+. This program is great for volunteers that love working with kids.

Where: This opportunity is in the Petworth neighborhood of Washington, DC. The exact address will be provided upon registration. The apartment is accessible by bus and is located .6 miles from the Georgia Avenue/Petworth Metro station. Street parking is available.

Covid-19 Safety: In accordance with Housing Up guidelines, all volunteers must submit proof of covid-19 vaccination to Mira Smith (msmith@edcjcc.org) prior to the program. All participants are required to wear masks that cover nose and mouth, and are encouraged to maintain social distancing guidelines. We cannot disclose the vaccination status of program participants.

Sign up: Registration is required for this free program. Click the red “Register” button to proceed.

Do you need any additional accommodations for this event? If so, please contact msmith@edcjcc.org

Be The Change: An Activism Workshop
Feb 21 @ 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

The global pandemic, attacks on democracy, and the overturning of Supreme Court decisions making way for states to pull back people’s rights can lead to activism fatigue and a general sense of hopelessness and defeat. Join us for part 2 of our activism series that will re-energize you and lift your spirits so you can continue to be an advocate for change in our community and beyond.

WHAT: Be the Change: An Activism Workshop

Led by Jews United for Justice (JUFJ), this training will break down the basics of activism, including strategies for effective storytelling, lobbying, and digital media, plus tips for planning or participating in a rally. Gain concrete skills, learn from experienced activists, and connect with others who want to make positive change in our community. A vegetarian dinner will be served.

WHEN: Tuesday, February 21, 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM

REGISTRATION: Tickets are $12 for part 2 of this series or $18 for both parts 1 and 2.

This workshop series is brought to you in partnership with Sixth & I and JUFJ.

Annual Second Night Community Sustainability Seder
Apr 6 @ 6:00 pm – 9:30 pm

Image is of a stack of matzah above the text: Annual Second Night Community Seder (sustainability version). Saturday, April 16, 2022, 6:00 PM. EDCJCC Parking Lot.Join us for our wonderful Second Night Seder – the open, welcoming, pluralistic celebration of freedom you’ve come to expect from the EDCJCC.

Registration deadline, March 30th 8:00 AM

At the Seder, we find joy in intergenerational community, storytelling, and song. Join us to meet new friends, partake in joyous singing accompanied by a guitar, and have meaningful discussions with your friends, family, and neighbors.

Our Seder will feature a delicious kosher-for-Passover vegetarian meal. We’re serving DC rooftop-grown parsley, and 100% compostable plate ware with composting services generously provided by our sponsor CompostCab. Amanda Herring, Director of Jewish Life and Living, will guide you through the Seder accompanied by Ari Jacobson’s beautiful singing and guitar.

Whether this is your first Seder or your 100th, there’s a place at our Passover table for you!

Seder Menu for 2023 (subject to change)

  • Gefilte Fish
  • Butternut Squash soup
  • Potato Kugel
  • Stuffed Peppers
  • Veggie Cutlets
  • Spring Salad
  • Seder Plate classics
  • Desert assortment

Ticket Prices:

Adult Ticket: $72.00
EntryPointDC/Young Adult: $54.00
Child (under 12): $36.00

Need assistance? We’re looking for volunteers to help set up and check folks in. We have limited volunteer pricing available. Please reach out to aherring@edcjcc.org.

Seder Leaders:

ARS_1286v2.jpgAmanda Herring is the Director of Jewish Life and Learning at the Edlavitch DCJCC. In 2018, Amanda received her Master’s in Experiential Education and Jewish Cultural Arts at GW, and completed the JOFEE Fellowship in Jewish, Outdoor, Food, Farming and Environmental Education. It was there that she combined her passions for Shabbat and sustainable food which together can nourish and heal communities and ecosystems. Amanda is also the CEO of Gold Herring, co-creater of the Jewish Planner and the Omer Self-Care Workbook, a dance instructor and pickler. Amanda lives in Northeast DC with her partner, Greg and their kids: Abraham, Simkha, and Mensch (the dog).


thumbnail_Austrian Embassy 2019 Square.pngSong leader Ari Jacobson has been involved in music, Judaism, education, and various overlaps of the three for as long as he can remember. While studying music and theatre at UMass Amherst, he honed his song leading skills at URJ’s Eisner Camp in Great Barrington, MA. Since moving to the DMV two years ago, Ari has been happily providing music for the EDCJCC’s programs for all ages, from baby classes with the parenting center to pre-school music to various community events like this one. Also an actor and a singer/songwriter, Ari can be seen as Mikey Thomas in The Kennedy Center’s Shear Madness, and his original music can be found on his website www.arijacobson.com.

Seder FAQ:

Do I have to be Jewish to attend? (Observant? Old? Young? Ashkenazi? Sephardic? etc.)
Nope. We welcome everyone who would like to join our community-wide seder and celebrate Passover’s lessons of freedom! In fact, every year, we have a beautiful mix of people. Some are Jewish, and some are not. All are welcome, and (if they choose) can easily participate in a variety of ways – singing, reading, discussing ideas, or just generally being among the community.

What if I don’t read Hebrew?
Not a problem. Most of the seder is in English, and most readings in Hebrew also appear with English transliteration.

What about dinner? Is it kosher?
There is a delicious catered Kosher-for-Passover dinner at the community-wide seder. This is a vegetarian meal – and of course we’ll have dessert! Please let us know about any allergies in your registration.

We’re happy to provide ASL or other interpretation upon advance notice. The Edlavitch DCJCC building is wheelchair/mobility device accessible. If you need other accommodations to allow you to fully participate in the Seder (or simply have questions), please let us know in advance and we’ll be happy to help.

Is there a dress code? What should I wear?
There is no official dress code. Most people dress as they would for a family Seder or holiday – dressed nicely, a little dressed up, but not overly formally. (For many people that could mean a button-down or sweater, a skirt/dress, a jacket, slacks, etc. Most people do not wear jeans.) Please wear what feels appropriate to you to celebrate the holiday.

Is it appropriate to bring kids?
Yes! This is not specifically a “kids” Seder, but our atmosphere is fun and festive! We welcome all who would like to participate.

Was your question not answered? Email Amanda so we can help!

About our sponsor:

Compost Cab is providing their composting services for this event along with discounts for new home composting customers who attend!

Image is of the Compost Cab logo and it says: Community Composting Made Easy Since 2010