Social Justice

Social Justice

The Edlavitch DCJCC’s Morris Cafritz Center for Social Responsibility not only offers direct volunteer opportunities, but provides educational programming to address the systemic social justice issues that impact our city.

Programs include workshops, trainings, panels, and other experiential learning opportunities on topics such as affordable housing, food security, climate change, gun violence prevention, immigration and refugees, and structural racism.

While we are not an advocacy-focused organization, we strive to provide individuals with the knowledge and tools to engage with social justice issues they care about and empower them to make change.

*In an effort to decrease our environmental footprint, the Morris Cafritz Center for Social Responsibility serves only vegan food at our programs.*

Upcoming Social Justice Events

Families Serving Together: Tu B’Shevat Edition
Feb 9 @ 9:30 am – 11:00 am

Please join us for February’s Families Serving Together where families and their children can come together to serve our community!

Join us to celebrate and learn about the festival of Tu B’Shevat. The morning will include reading a story, learning about the holiday of Tu B’Shevat, family friendly projects, and doing a service project. Children of all ages are welcome!

We request a $20 per family tax-deductible program fee to help us cover the costs of supplies.

This program is open to children of all ages, but please register everyone who will be participating, including young children, as there is limited space for this program.

If you have any questions please email Josh.





Hadar at the EDCJCC: God, Humanity, and the Rest of Creation: Jewish Theology in a Time of Climate Emergency
Mar 5 @ 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm

God, Humanity, and the Rest of Creation: Jewish Theology in a Time of Climate Emergency

With Rabbi Shai Held

We live in a time of unprecedented climate emergency: greenhouse gas emissions are causing vast — and irreversible — changes to earth’s climate.  Droughts, floods, heat waves, extreme weather events and rise in sea-levels endanger millions of lives.  How should religious people respond to the crisis?  How does the way we imagine the relationship between God, humanity, and the rest of creation shape our sense of responsibility for the fate of the earth and its inhabitants?

Beginning with the Bible and concluding with contemporary theology and environmental ethics, we’ll develop a textually-rooted Jewish theology for this precarious moment.  We’ll bear in mind the sobering words of Governor Jay Inslee of Washington: “We are the first generation to feel the sting of climate change, and we are the last generation that can do something about it.”  We’ll conclude with an invitation to connect to Interfaith Power & Light, a grassroots group through which Jewish communities and congregations of many faiths are working together to respond to climate change:

Co-presented by the Morris Cafritz Center for Social Responsibility, in partnership with Hadar and Interfaith Power and Light.

Rabbi Shai HeldRabbi Shai Held–theologian, scholar, and educator–is President, Dean, and Chair in Jewish Thought at Hadar, where he also directs the Center for Jewish Leadership and Ideas.  Previously, he served for six years as Scholar-in-Residence at Kehilat Hadar in New York City, and taught both theology and Halakhah at the Jewish Theological Seminary.  He also served as Director of Education at Harvard Hillel.  A 2011 recipient of the prestigious Covenant Award for excellence in Jewish education, Rabbi Held has been named multiple times to Newsweek’s list of the 50 most influential rabbis in America.  He holds a doctorate in religion from Harvard; his main academic interests are in modern Jewish and Christian thought, in biblical theology, and in the history of Zionism.  Rabbi Held’s first book, Abraham Joshua Heschel: The Call of Transcendence, was published by Indiana University Press in 2013; The Heart of Torah, a collection of essays on the Torah in two volumes, was published by JPS in 2017.

* Learning should never be cost-prohibitive. If the cost of any EDCJCC program prevents you from registering, please contact Lisa Silverman at 202-777-3260 or email to discuss payment plans or other alternatives.

Recommended Reading

There is a rich body of literature examining the cross-section of Judaism and social justice. Whether you’re newly interested in these topics or an avid scholar, we recommend a few titles from movement leaders in our community.

Where Justice Dwells
A Hands-On Guide to Doing Social Justice in Your Jewish Community
By Rabbi Jill Jacobs

Judaism and Justice
The Jewish Passion to Repair the World
By Rabbi Sid Schwarz

Pirkei Avot: A Social Justice Commentary
By Rabbi Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz

Past Programs

Be the Change: An Activism Workshop
In an ever-changing world, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by both local and global issues. 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. Learn from experienced activists, and connect with others who want to make positive change in our community. This event is in partnership with 6th and I.

On My Mind/In My Heart: the Voices of Women in Public Housing
Join us for a unique evening of advocacy and theater. On My Mind/In My Heart: the Voices of Women in Public Housing invites you into the lives and experiences of real women living in DC’s public housing. Developed by playwright Caleen Sinnette Jennings (Queens Girl in the World) and set to a soundtrack by DC’s own DC RBI, this play includes themes of housing justice, disability, loss, and leadership. This is the only performance scheduled for Northwest Washington.

The Global Refugee Crisis: Out of the Headlines and into our Hearts and Haggadot
With more than 65 million refugees and displaced people worldwide, the global refugee crisis is worse than any time in history as victims of persecution and violence around the world flee home in search of safety. Learn about this staggering crisis and how the US is responding. We will also explore the stories of today’s refugees and find ways to weave their stories into our upcoming Passover celebrations. This interactive program will be facilitated by Rabbi Rachel Grant Meyer, Director of Education at HIAS. In partnership with AVODAH: The Jewish Service Corp.

To the Rescue: Providing Legal Aid to DC’s Underserved
Meet Tzedek DC, a new Jewish organization providing legal services to low-income individuals, and the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless for an evening of dialogue and learning on the issue of legal access and racial justice for DC residents. The Washington Legal Clinic will facilitate a workshop on gentrification and the sources of power in our city, and participants will have the opportunity to get involved in fighting for the rights of our DC neighbors. In partnership with the JCRC and AVODAH.

Ending Chronic Homelessness: The Way Home
On a given night in the District, approximately 1,500 people are experiencing chronic homelessness. Join the EDCJCC, Holy Trinity Catholic Church, and Moishe House DC to hear a personal account of homelessness in DC, learn more about the issue, and find out how you can take concrete action to end this social injustice through the work of Miriam’s Kitchen.