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Values in Action

Humanistic Jews believe that people have the power and the  responsibility to help those in need and improve the world (tikkun olam). And we live what we believe through our actions. 

We are sometimes asked, “If Humanistic Jews don’t pray, what do you do?” The answer: “We DO!” This is why our community service activities are called Values in Action. Our Values in Action programs are open to both our congregation and everyone else to do good together. These events are an easy and comfortable way for visitors to get to know us better.

Through our Values in Action programs, we have worked to make the world a better place. We have collected and distributed food, supported battered women and children, supported an Afghani refugee family, gathered and distributed children’s books, provided holiday gifts to the needy, made fleece blankets for sick children, upcycled plastic bags into mats for the unhoused, and helped members of our own community. 

We create opportunities to do good together all year long. Here are some of the ways we help our community meet basic human needs:


Collect non-perishable goods at family holiday celebrations.

Distribute food bi-monthly through the Northern Illinois Food Bank

Make sack lunches for PADS Lake County (Public Action to Deliver Shelter).

Collect and sort food for The Ark food pantry.

In the past, we have also prepared meals for Ronald McDonald House, JUF Uptown Café and Beth Emet Soup Kitchen.

Shelter and Comfort

Collect “Wish List” items at High Holidays for A Safe Place, a shelter and support network for battered women and children in Lake County. 

Raise funds for A Safe Place through a 5k run in the spring (the “Kol Ha-dashers”).

Make fleece blankets to distribute to hospitalized children through Chai Lifeline.

Collect holiday gifts at Hanukkah through Community Alternatives Unlimited, which provides services for people with disabling conditions.

Create family bags and support cards for Ronald McDonald House residents, PADS recipients, and senior residents of Gidwitz Place.


Collect books for Bernie’s Book Bank for Simchat Torah (celebrating the Torah) in the Fall; then sort, organize and deliver the books to families who need them.

Co-sponsor Afghani refugee family through HIAS (Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society).

Support our own members through our Helping Hands Committee by providing rides, helping set up post-funeral shiva receptions and offering other episodic assistance.

Partner with the North Shore Unitarian Church for an annual Mitzvah Day at which we  participate in a variety of community service activities, such as environmental cleanup, knitting blankets, and creating “plarn” (plastic yarn) from upcycled grocery bags which is knitted into sleeping mats for the unhoused.

Walk in the Buffalo Grove Suburban Pride Parade to show support for the LGBTQ community, which includes our own members.

Organize community service opportunities in connection with global initiatives such as the Secular Week of Action and International Good Deeds Day.

Donate to our Rabbi’s Discretionary Fund, which then distributes confidential support to help with medical bills, utilities, and other financial needs. We also donate to a special Tzedakah (charity) Fund to support the work of our Values in Action Committee.




Read Rabbi Chalom’s blog posts related to The Week of Action, which is a program in response to the National Day of Prayer.

Read Rabbi Chalom’s 2020 High Holiday sermons on the related topics of  “Am I My Brother’s Keeper?” and “If Not Now, When?” or watch the sermons below.

Wed, June 12 2024 6 Sivan 5784