A Vibrant Reform Jewish Synagogue in Bergen County.

Temple Avodat Shalom

Serving northern New Jersey since 1952.

Upcoming Events

February 21, 2018 at 12:58pm
February 22, 2018 at 12:00pm
February 23, 2018 at 8:00pm
February 24, 2018 at 9:15am
February 24, 2018 at 10:30am

Justice Central


“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.”

Tikkun Olam – Repairing the World. Members of our community work individually and together to advocate for better laws, policies, and programs that can make the world in which we all live healthier, kinder, stronger and fairer. 

Gender Identity and Expression
At Shabbat Services on Friday night, December 8, 2017, the Social Justice Core Committee announced that our first (but far from last!) Justice Initiative will be focused on Gender Identity and Expression.  For more information, please read the attached speeches by Nilene Evans Chase about the process for identifying our first Initiative and the initial plans for moving forward and by Rabbi Paul about the Jewish values that underlie and support this Initiative.  Please keep watching this space for more information about our plans.
     - Gender Identity and Expression 
     - LGBTQ Awareness

  • Our first event was a Shabbat Lunch N’Learn on February 3, 2018, where 35 of us discussed Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family, by Amy Ellis Nutt, led by Laurie Rochlin and Nilene Evans, and our responsibility to treat all people with respect.   If you want to learn more about Nicole, watch her Ted Talk on Youtube.  Here are the handouts from the event - discussion questions, FAQs about Transgender People, Supporting Transgender People - Being an Ally, and The Gender Unicorn.  We also watched a brief video on What not to Say to a Transgender Person
  • LGBTQ & ALLY TEEN SHABBATON GATHERINGS - Keshet, a national organization that works for full LGBTQ equality and inclusion in Jewish life, is sponsoring these Shabbatonim as well as trips to Israel for LGBTQ & Ally Teens. For information, see 
  • "Let's Talk:  The Politics of Gender in 21st Century America."  Thursday, February 15, 2018.  7:30- 9:30, Fairleigh Dickenson University, Dickenson Hall, Wilson Auditorium, 140 University Plaza Drive, Hackensack, NJ  Let’s Talk” is about the challenges confronting men and women in our society today - culturally and politically. Are men and women living in two different worlds? Perhaps the better question is this: how do we prepare ourselves for an honest, productive conversation about what comes next? Our speakers will cover the impact of the Trump election on gender politics, the political response of both men and women to the #metoo movement. Panelists include Dan Cassino, FDU, Patricia Mathew,Montclair,  Deborah Walsh, Rutgers, Tova Walsh, Rutgers moderated by Yasemin Besen-Cassino, Montclair. 
  • The NJ Senate and NJ Assembly passed joint resolutions  that would designate Nov. 14-20 of each year as Transgender Awareness Week and Nov. 20 as Transgender Day of Remembrance. The week would be used to “increase awareness and understanding of the prejudice, discrimination, and violence that transgender persons face,” according to the legislation. Nov. 20 would honor the memory of those whose lives were lost in acts of anti-transgender violence.
  • Walking a Mile in Someone Else's Shoes - Please see the op ed piece from the December 15, 2017 NY Times.
  • What is in a pronoun?  Read this recent op-ed from Jennifer Finney Boylan in The New York Times. I use whatever pronoun my students choose for themselves, simply out of respect for them.
  • Resources from our work with Keshet, a national organization that works for full LGBTQ equality and inclusion in Jewish life.

ADDITIONAL SOCIAL JUSTICE OPPORTUNITIES - Below links to opportunities for social justice activities of all kinds to consider taking on an individual basis or with friends. We are not endorsing these activities, but rather hoping to make our community more aware of what is going on in New Jersey.
Feel free to contact us at to get an event added to this webpage.

LET'S TALK! " The Rise, Causes, and Potential Solutions to Partisan Polarization".  Network for Responsible Public Policy.  Fairleigh Dickenson University, Dickenson Hall. Wilson Auditorium. 140 University Plaza Drive. Hackensack NJ. Thursday, February 14, 2018. 7:30- 9:30 pm
NFRPP's Distinguished Lecture Series, "Let's Talk" will focus on the growing polarization among individuals in our society and between the political parties.  Our speakers will take a closer look at the role of the media in fostering polarization.  What is the difference between people's views on the issues, and their feelings toward the other party? What, if anything, might be done to help remedy the growing hostility between the political parties and individuals?  Two authoritative behavioral psychologists and political scientists with research and expertise in this area will help us to understand the conflict and offer some practical resolutions. Click here for further information.

Please RSVP in advance (to RSVP scroll to the bottom of this page).

Tickets are $10 and can be purchased online or at the door. Students with student ID are free. 
You can purchase tickets in advance on:

Advocacy Opportunity -- Join Reform Jewish Voice NJ for its annual Advocacy Day, Monday March 12.  This year's theme is R'Fuah Sh'lehmah: Making New Jersey Whole.  For us the healing is in extending rights that we take for granted to all in our state. We are stronger when we stand for each other.

Register here:

Here is the line-up of invited speakers:

Immigrant Justice: 
- Assemblywoman Annette Quijano, Archange Antoine, director of Faith in NJ on drivers’ license legislation and legal aid
- Reverend Seth Kaper-Dale on sanctuary at Reformed Church of Highland Park

Economic Justice:
- Senator Loretta Weinberg, Louis DiPaolo of NJ Working Families, and a member of 32B-J service workers union on earned sick leave and $15 minimum wage

Voting Rights:
- Senator Sandra Cunningham and ACLU lawyer on Let Us Vote! project

...and more.  Appointments are being made so that you can meet with your legislators, and several will greet the group as a whole.

Puffin Cultural Forum (Teaneck) - Call for Art, March 11 - April 30,  will discuss gender, vulnerability and power dynamics.

Seeking Hospice Volunteers -  Visiting Nurse Association of Englewood Hospice is recruiting Hospice volunteers. It has an array of opportunities for any compassionate individuals looking to serve their community. All VNA volunteers receive in-house training at our Englewood office to become a vital component to its Hospice team. Volunteers may choose to work directly with patients or work in our office performing various clerical and administrative duties. Perhaps you are a creative individual who enjoys working with arts and crafts, sewing, massage or Reiki. There are many ways to share your talents through hospice care. One opportunity is:

  • Seniors Helping Seniors -  Seniors For Seniors is a training course where people learn how to advocate for issues of importance to our older neighbors. There are four more openings for the next class, which starts in April. Please see more at

VNA welcomes all who are willing to give their time to help provide companionship to our patients. To learn more about VNA training sessions, dates and times, please feel free to contact:

Marion McGowan/Director of Volunteers North
Visiting Nurse Association Health Group
15 Engle Street / Englewood NJ, 07631
Office/ 800-200-2345 / Direct 201-510-6426


Ten Ways To Fight Hate - A Community Resource Guide

Jewish Council for Public Affairs Urges White House to Defend DACA and Protect Dreamers

Help the victims of the Mexican earthquake
This charity is a Jewish NGO (non-governmental organization) working in Mexico for years. Learn more here.


Past Events
January 15, 2018 - Honoring MLK 
The Annual Bergen County Martin Luther King Birthday Celebration for 2018 will be held at Central Unitarian Church in Paramus on Monday, January 15 at 6:30 PM. 2018 marks 50 years since the assassination of Dr. King. It is today more important than ever to recall and carry forth his legacy. The guest speaker will be social activist The Reverend Charles Boyer. Also featuring vocalist Lauren Hooker and the Teaneck Community Chorus. Please see the flyer for more details and to pass on to others.

January 20, 2018 - Protest in the Tradition of Dr. King
Nonviolent Peaceful Protest in the Tradition of Dr. King, Still the Way to Counter Hate and Extremism - Join the Director of Outreach of The Southern Poverty Law Center for an Inspiring Discussion on Saturday, January 20th.  For more information, click here.  

December 17, 2017 - Join the Bergen County Community at its annual Sandy Hook Vigil against Gun Violence
Join us as we gather to remember the anniversary of the Newtown massacre on December 14, 2012, when 20 beautiful children and six dedicated educators were killed by gun violence. We will honor the lives of all gun violence victims and continue to demand an end to gun violence in the United States. For more information, click here.

December 3rd - The Right to Marry in Israel
On December 3, 2017, three couples got married at Temple Emanu-El in New York City who could not marry in Israel.  For more information, see this New York Times article.

November 12th -  Support families of Syrian refugees in New Jersey
Eat well and do good at the same time! We invite you and members of your community to join us for a Syria Supper Club on Sunday evening, November 12, at 6 o’clock at Central Unitarian Church, 156 Forest Avenue, Paramus. Your $50 donation supports families of Syrian refugees recently settled in New Jersey. 

Learn about your candidates and the democratic processattend a forum - and VOTE!
--> Additional October Forums and Programs

Knowledge is power - Come learn about the role of government and voting rights
September 14, 2017 - Revisiting the Role of Government
October 19, 2017 - Democracy Under Threat: Voting Rights

October 16th - Want to help immigrants?
Attend a local "Train the Trainer Know your Rights" program.

October 1, 2017 - Voting is a right and a privilege. 
Join the ACLU and Peoplepower and other Temple members on Sunday, October 1st in Ridgewood to plan an initiative to expand access to the vote.

Volunteer Opportunities through Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey for the High Holidays and beyond

September 25, 2017Transgender 101 Webinar: Language, Policy, Action
From the White House to the Texas state legislature, the rights of our transgender friends, siblings, and loved ones are under threat. Please join the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism for an informative webinar about the issues facing the transgender community and how you can get involved.

September 24, 2017 - Action Against Hunger Food Drive at Shoprite in Emerson.
Join Temple members as we hand out flyers about the Drive and collect donations. Contact Nilene Evans Chase asap if you want to be a part of this mitzvah - This is a perfect volunteer activity for families and the best way to start 5778!
September 17th and 24th - Sukkah Building
Help Safely@Home (formerly Bonim Builders) build sukkahs for low-income individuals, elderly, disabled and chronically ill. The sukkah construction will take place on Sunday, September 17 and Sunday, September 24 at 10:00 AM. Assistance with disassembly is also needed on Sunday, October 15. All ages are welcome, but volunteers under 16 must be accompanied by a participating adult.
Register in advance by contacting Stacey Orden, Director, Safely@Home, at or 201-518-1175 to reserve the build date and location you prefer. High school community service letters are available upon request.


September 11th - CFA’S National Day of Service & Rememberance
Join the Center For Food Action on September 11th for a National Day of Service & Remembrance and pack weekend food snack packages for children facing food insecurity. Click here for full details.