You are not obligated to complete the work of perfecting the world, but neither are you free to desist from it.

-Ethics of Our Fathers, 2:21

Our Jewish tradition doesn’t expect us to single-handedly repair the world. However, if everyone contributes, even in small ways, we can make a powerful difference.

The Tikkun Olam Committee, formerly called the Social Action Committee, exists to support the efforts of our congregation to make this a better world.

There are many opportunities to take action with other CBB members. The current Tikkun Olam projects are listed below.


A major initiative is a project that is adopted, promoted, and supported by the clergy and congregation. It is a bi-annual project chosen by a Selection Committee made up of clergy, staff, Tikkun Olam (TO) trustee and CBB leaders. The aim of a major initiative is to provide an opportunity to work together and to support one or two causes that will make the world a better place. The focus is on initiatives that can have a large impact and encourage wide engagement from the congregation.

To suggest a project for consideration by the Selection Committee, a minimum of three congregants, including one who acts as leader, may submit a proposal. If selected, these congregants will serve to carry out the project, while getting support from the TO trustee to recruit more volunteers. Proposals that are not selected as Major Initiatives will still receive support from the TO trustee. To submit a Major Initiative Proposal please use this link (TO COME).

Givat Haviva International School (GHIS)

Givat Haviva International School (GHIS) gathers 100-130 10th through 12th graders from around the world to learn, live, work, and volunteer together in Israel while earning a prestigious International Baccalaureate diploma. The student body is composed of 25% Israeli Arabs, 25% Israeli Jews, and 50% international students. GHIS strives to build a community of young leaders who understand the power of diversity, envisioning a future where these young leaders build bridges of understanding and empathy. If you’re interested in learning more or volunteering to tutor students, please contact Richard Silver at rbsilver@hotmail.com. Donations are accepted through CBB’s online donation form (select GHIS from the designation menu).

NEFESH (Neighbors Ensuring Food, Equity, Safety, and Housing)

NEFESH encompasses CBB’s projects in these areas of need in our community, including Pershing Park, Transition House, partnerships with the Neighborhood Navigation Center (NNC), and Dignity Moves. Donations are accepted through CBB’s online donation form (select NEFESH from the designation menu).

Tuesday NNC

CBB volunteers provide a mid-morning meal every 2nd Tuesday of the month, in collaboration with a new Neighborhood Navigation Center (NNC) on the corner of Cabrillo and Carrillo. The NNC brings together multiple service organizations to be a central location to easily access a variety of resources. To get involved, contact Rabbi Brenner at rabbibrenner@cbbsb.org.

Wednesday NNC

Join other CBB members on the fourth Wednesday of every month at 8 AM to serve hot breakfast meals for the homeless at the new NNC at the Rescue Mission. After 20 years of serving at Pershing Park the group has decided to join in the efforts of other local organizations and concentrate all services in one place. We meet at the Rescue Mission’s entrance. Volunteers are needed to cook and/or provide supplies, serve, and contribute financially. Contact Diane Abel at dianemabel@gmail.com.

Transition House

Transition House is an organization dedicated to addressing family homelessness. Since 1984, it has helped families end their reliance on public assistance by providing family-centered support services. For more than 30 years, CBB members have helped prepare and serve a hot dinner to approximately 25 families every month (60 people). Please join us to help provide meals to the residents on the second Thursday of each month. Currently we are only delivering home-prepared food. To learn how you can be part of this effort, contact Glen Serbin at glen@serbin.com.

Dignity Moves

Dignity Moves is a new private/public partnership that provides transitional housing to Santa Barbara residents. It can take years for new permanent housing solutions to come to fruition, yet we have hundreds of individuals on the streets. Dignity Moves seeks to create a space for an individual to transition from a survival mentality to being ready to move into permanent supportive housing. It hopes to shelter more than 200 individuals in the first three years of service. To get involved, contact Rabbi Brenner at rabbibrenner@cbbsb.org.


ECO Team

ECO Team encourages individuals to make small changes that can help to slow climate change and heal the planet. Collectively, these little things can have a large impact. Team members educate themselves on environmental matters through member research and reporting, outside speakers, and field trips. ECO Team meets on the first Tuesday of each month at a centrally located private home. For further information, please visit this website.

ECO Faith

ECO Faith is a program of the Interfaith Initiative of Santa Barbara County, a nonprofit of which CBB is a founding member. We are a collaboration of local interfaith individuals including Jewish, Christian, Islamic, Native American, Baha’i, and Buddhist traditions. Monthly speakers present topics related to the spiritual side of creation care and the environment, as well as on social action items. If you’re interested to learn more or participate, please visit this website.

Ubumwe School

The Ubumwe Preschool Project began in the Fall of 2010. Our goal was to build a preschool for the children of Gisenyi, Rwanda, and to raise awareness at CBB about the ongoing effects of the Rwandan genocide that took place in 1994. We raised funds to build a sister preschool and elementary school, but continued help is needed to support the school and the teachers with scholarships and supplies. Donations are accepted through CBB’s online donation form (select Ubumwe School from the designation menu).

If you are interested in learning more, please contact Ellen Hunter at ellenhuntersb@gmail.com or Pam Gunther at pamsantabarbara@gmail.com.

Mitzvah Day

Mitzvah Day is our community-wide event to make a difference locally and beyond. Hands-on projects take place both at CBB and at other non-profit organizations in town. Visit the Mitzvah Day website for more information.


If you would like to participate in any of these projects or if you have an idea for a new project, contact Tikkun Olam Trustee, Lynn Altschul, at altschullynn@yahoo.com.

Evely Laser Shlensky Tikkun Olam Award

For energetic devotion to the healing and restoration of our world through service in the program for Social Action of Congregation B’nai B’rith.

1996-5756       Ellen Goldman

1996-5756       Judi Weisbart

1997-5757       Andee Duvendeck

1997-5757       Glen Serbin

1998-5758       Janet Laichas

1998-5758       John Teton

1999-5759       Amy Martinez

1999-5759       Fred Martinez

2000-5760       Rick Heimberg

2001-5761       Art Klempner

2001-5761       Cindy Klempner

2002-5762       Helen Curhan

2002-5762       Lynette Glasman

2002-5762       Alan Levy

2005-5765       Sissy Taran

2005-5765       Bernie Taran

2006-5766       Yael Brennan

2006-5766       Elizabeth Gaynes