Civil Rights Service Trip

Sinai’s community service and civil rights trips bring members together to rebuild homes devastated by natural disasters.  Through service, learning, worship, and fun this initiative creates meaningful and lasting impacts on communities we partner with, and permanent bonds of friendship among our volunteers and members.  Since 2008, Sinai members have made deep and lasting connections to survivors in Houston, TX; New Orleans, LA;  Birmingham, Alabama;  Charleston , SC and Union Beach, NJ. The projects we undertake do not require special skills as there is work for all ages from 12 and up. In the evenings, we have fun eating great southern cooking and taking in the local culture.

Our Upcoming Trip:  April 11 – 14, 2019 | Rebuilding near North Carolina after Hurricane Florence

Please join us as Chicago Sinai’s service trip will be heading to Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina, on April 11-14, 2019, to rebuild in nearby communities devastated by severe flooding from Hurricane Florence. While the Hurricane winds were severe and rising sea levels caused by global warming caused significant coastal flooding, the greatest damage hit as the slow-moving system flooded much of the State. More than 2600 people had to be rescued and 53 people died during the storm, hundreds of thousands were left without power and at least 51,000 homes were flooded.

This year’s Sinai’s Social Justice trip will focus on service, learning, worship and fun. We will not only rebuild in the neediest areas where homeowners have no insurance and little compensation from FEMA, but we will immerse ourselves in learning about statewide racial and social justice issues. We will attend shabbat services at a local reform synagogue. In the evenings, we will have fun eating great regional cooking and taking in the local culture.

Since 2008, Sinai members have made deep connections to disaster survivors in New Orleans, LA, Birmingham, Alabama, Union Beach, New Jersey, Charleston, SC, and Houston, Texas. The projects we undertake do not require special skills as there is work for all ages from 12 and up, at every skill level. Please joint us this year as we make deep and permanent bonds of friendship among our volunteers and those we serve.

Please contact jillpeters@rcn.com for trip details, scholarships, to volunteer to help plan the trip, and to register.

Our Most Recent Trip: April 2018 | Rebuilding near Houston after Hurricane Harvey

In the spring of 2018, 42 members of the Chicago Sinai Congregation community traveled to Houston, Texas to spend 4 days helping the community recover from the devastating effects of Hurricane Harvey. Harvey was one of the worst disasters in US History with 90 deaths and 30,000 people displaced by prolonged flooding after 40 inches of rain fell over 4 days. The cost of the damage is estimated to be nearly $200 billion.

Over the course of our time in Houston we worked on multiple homes damaged by the rain and flooding. Members of Sinai cleaned out damaged homes, installed insulation and drywall and painted and finished the rebuilding in four different homes over the course of our time.

In addition to the rebuilding work we participated in, we also took time to learn about why Harvey had been such a devastating storm, to understand the lack of zoning regulation in Houston that encourage poor minority communities to live in low lying areas more at risk of flooding. We met with leaders in the academics of environmental justice and took a tour of Houston to see how close homes and toxic factories are to each other. We also celebrated Shabbat together at Congregation Beth Israel with Rabbi Samuel Karff who has a Rabbi at Sinai in the 1970s.

Our Past Trip: April 2017 | Rebuilding near Charleston, SC after Hurricane Matthew

In spring of 2017, Chicago Sinai’s service trip for the first time traveled to Charleston, SC, to rebuild communities that were damaged by Hurricane Matthew on October 6, 2016. Many towns in the low county of South Carolina were damaged from floods and high winds, and are in need of volunteers to remove debris and begin the rebuilding process.

We immersed ourselves in learning about slave and civil rights history in Charleston, with educational tours of the Old Slave Mart and McLeod Plantation. We took civil rights tours of the area and visited one of the first Reform Jewish Temples In America, Congregation Kahal Kodesh, Beth Elohim (KKBE), where we attended Friday night services.

Please contact jillpeters@rcn.com for trip details, scholarships, and to register for the trip.

A House of Prayer for All People

The place to connect, to learn, and to make a difference.

Become a Member