Tzedek Council – Social Justice

Transforming the World Using Jewish Values

Since our founding, Congregation Kol Ami has aimed to live up to our name—to be a “voice of the people,” speaking out and working to build a world of justice and peace. 

From our own backyard, creating care kits for the homeless for PATH and collecting food for SOVA, to supporting a partner community in Guatemala with visits and donation drives, we regularly host volunteer actions that directly benefit those in need.  

We strive to be advocates, lobbying elected officials with partners like RAC-CA to enact legislation and implement budgets that reflect our values. During the 2018 midterm election season, we participated in a civic engagement campaign to register voters and make sure that Kol Ami would be a 100% voting congregation.

Rabbi Eger and Rabbi Levy regularly preach on issues of justice and morality from our bimah during services, and we frequently host guest speakers and public officials in our sanctuary. 

There are many ways we continue to pursue justice each and every day at Kol Ami, and we would love to have you involved! Email to find out more!

The Tzedek Council volunteers gathered to make just over 100 lunch bags for the Hollywood Food Coalition (Sunday, December 19, 2021)

HIAS Welcoming Congregation

Congregation Kol Ami is proud to be a HIAS welcoming congregation, supporting the rights of refugees and asylum seekers, and working to live out the value of loving the immigrant and the stranger, for we were strangers in Egypt. 

Find out more about what HIAS is doing during the COVID-19 crisis by clicking here.

HIAS Public Briefing: The Crisis in Afghanistan

We’ve all seen the awful images of the unfolding refugee crisis in Afghanistan. Make no mistake, the sitiuation is dire indeed. There are few opportunities for Afghanis to even apply for refugee status at the moment, much less actually get out of the country safely. It’s the very early days of what will be a long and challenging time ahead. We’re all watching and wondering what we can do to help. In the coming days, weeks, and months, there will be urgent need for the basics of resettlement: housing, mental health care, legal services, etc. We’ll be sharing info about organizations in LA that will be doing that work soon.

But right now the greatest need is for advocacy, to get as many endangered Afghans as possible out of the country and into the pipeline for refugee status as quickly as possible. Please ask your legislators to do so. And of course, donating to HIAS, a Kol Ami partner and the oldest Jewish immigrant aid organization in the country, is an obvious step.

Here is the HIAS “Afghan Crisis — How You Can Help” web page with more. Please check back frequently, as it will be updated almost daily

Anti-Racism Work

Combatting racism in ourselves and our society continues to be one of our central justice goals at Kol Ami.

In August 2020, we hosted Essence Cohen Fields, a licensed professional counselor, to facilitate two sessions of Anti-Bias & Anti-Racism Training.

In June, we hosted a Pride & Anti-Racism Havdalah—reminding each other that we must remain committed to ending racism in ourselves, our community, and our society.

Read the powerful call to ongoing action, written by Gabby Potter, by clicking here. 

Find Rabbi Chaiken’s poem, “I Do Not Know,” by clicking here.

Explore more resources for taking action to dismantle racism now, even from home!

Explore more resources for taking action to dismantle racism now, even from home!

  1. Check out this detailed list of anti-racism resources on Medium.
  2. Racial Justice Resources for Reform Jews – from
  3. Also from 8 Ways You Can Act Now for Racial Justice.

Support for Community in Guatemala

Please help us continue our support for the families in the village of San Antonio Aguas Calientes, Guatemala.Students continue to participate in school through either the Internet or class assignments. Guatemala’s coronavirus cases are dramatically increasing each day. Many families are struggling without work or weaving sales. Since there is no government or community support, Nueva Generación has started a Food Drive Campaign to provide food for the families on a monthly basis. Donate here and in the note section indicate: Guatemala Fund Donation. Kol Ami continues to sponsor the scholarships for Jared and Mario pictured below.

On Tuesday, June 23, we gathered on Zoom for Pride & Welcoming: Taking Action for LGBT Refugees and Asylum Seekers. And of course, you can visit to find out more about what you can do to support refugees from home!


Our Tzedek Council members often participate in events with the California Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism (RAC-CA)! Visit the RAC-CA website by clicking here.

SB 62 – Garment Workers Protection Act 

SB 1399 would eliminate the “piece work” system in the garment industry by expanding wage theft liability, ensuring that retailers cannot use layers of contracting and subcontracting to avoid responsibility under the law to pay minimum wage and allow safe working conditions. Read more

SB 731 –Time Done 

SB 731 (Time Done) is life-changing legislation that would address the thousands of barriers to reintegration faced by people who have paid their debt to society by creating a mechanism to seal arrest and conviction records after a person has fully completed their sentence. Read More

Register for future lobby meetings on the RAC campaign with your legislator here: You will have the opportunity to select whether you wish to participate as an attendee or in a leadership role, and will receive training and tips for lobbying, as well as a fact sheet on the campaign. 

Together, we can transform miles into a life-changing force for good.

Kol Ami’s Tzedek Council is partnering with Jewish Coalition Assisting Refugees & Immigrant in this lovely, heartwarming initiative, Miles4Migrants. This initiative collects donations of airline milage (since most of us don’t use them during COVID anyway…) and takes advantage of them before they expires to book flights and help reunite families. All in support if the secret Jewish mitzvah of welcoming the stranger/refugee/sojourner/foreigner.
Donate your miles here

D’var Torah

Tzedek Council Member Jess Winfield gave a D’var Torah for Refugee Shabbat on March 5, 2021. Read it here