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Count Me In: Social Justice Initiative at the PJCC

Count Me In

Join like-minded people to do good in the world, make friends, and build community.
Count Me In engages participants to help repair the world (tikkun olam) and make a positive impact in our local community, regionally, and in the world.

We offer our volunteers the opportunity to build lasting relationships with each other, other agencies, and the community around them. We offer opportunities for people of all ages—children and adults. We believe that all people can help those in need and be a part of something larger than themselves.

Each person makes a difference. Together we are responsible for making our community a place where we uphold dignity for all and seek to improve the world through our actions. Join us!

“How lovely to think that no one need wait a moment, we can start now, start slowly changing the world! How lovely that everyone, great and small, can make their contribution toward introducing justice straightaway… And you can always, always give something, even if it is only kindness!”—Anne Frank

Jewish Family and Children’s Services High Holiday Food Drive

September 7 – October 17
Share the joy of providing meals to those that need it most, and help everyone have a healthy, vibrant High Holiday season. Join JFCS Food Banks in offering nutritious food to seniors on fixed incomes, adults with disabilities, young families with low incomes, and other individuals and families facing temporary crises. Your help will keep JFCS food banks full throughout the Bay Area and ensure that everyone has access to the essentials they need most. Any of the below options are greatly appreciated at this critical time. We are all in this together!

Expand for Three Easy Ways to Contribute

1. Add extra items to your grocery cart!
Just drop them off in person outside a JFCS office, Monday – Friday, 9:00 am – 4:30 pm
San Mateo: 2001 Winward way, San Mateo
Palo Alto: 200 Channing Ave, Palo Alto

2. Order online via Amazon or Instacart:
Send groceries directly to one of the JFCS offices, c/o JFCS Food Bank. Locations listed above! Deliveries must take place Monday – Friday, 9:00 am – 4:30 pm.

3. Purchase grocery store gift cards:
Gift cards can be purchased online (for example, to Whole Foods and Safeway) and sent to Masha Gutkin at mashag@jfcs.org. Or, purchase one when you shop. Gift cards to Trader Joe’s are especially popular and can only be purchased in store. Drop off gift cards at one of the food bank locations or mail to: Irina Klay, JFCS, PO BOX 159004, San Francisco, CA 94115

While all donations are appreciated and accepted, the most needed items are:

  • Paper bags to deliver groceries in
  • Soup (hearty dry soups, like Bear Mountain, or regular canned soup)
  • Cheese (slices and blocks are welcome)
  • Peanut Butter
  • Jam/Jelly
  • Mac n cheese
  • Rice
  • Pasta
  • Cold cereal
  • Tomato products of any kind, including spaghetti sauce
  • Canned fruit
  • Canned vegetables (peas, corn, and green beans)
  • Canned sardines
  • Canned salmon
  • Canned chili, stew or pasta meals
  • Soap

Help Fire Victims and Fire Fighters

Looking for a way you can help those who have been impacted by the Northern California wildfire? Below, we’ve shared several resources that provide a range of ideas for offering support.

Expand for Ways to Show Your Support

Resources for Wildfire Season from JCF
As we all grieve the destruction and loss from the wildfires that erupted throughout California this week, the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin, and Sonoma Counties has provided an extensive number of resources to help track developments and prepare for potential events. You can find these resources on their website.

Wildfire Information and Resources from Thrive
Thrive: The Alliance of Nonprofits for San Mateo County has also shared information about the wildfires, along with ways to contribute to emergency response efforts, on its website. Access their resources here.

San Mateo County Wildfire Information
Wildfire Response

Wildfire Recovery

Additional Resources
You’ll find even more suggestions in the following articles:

Northern California Wildfires: How to Help Fire Victims and Firefighters (Mercury News)

There are Over 650 Wildfires Burning in California. Here are 8 Ways You Can Help. (The Californian)


Power Through Voting

In collaboration with all seven Bay Area JCCs, we will be offering Zoom parties and resources focused on getting out the vote and addressing voter suppression! This nonpartisan series will feature guest speakers, phone bank opportunities, discussion happy hours, and much more. Resources include downloadable window signs, a reading list, recordings of select past Reclaim Our Vote presentations, and other useful information.

Learn more and find resources here.

Upcoming Events:
The 2020 Elections and the Jewish Vote

Thursday, October 8 • 5:00 pm
Join us as Dr. Steven Windmueller, a political scientist, educates on the roles Jews have played and will play in American politics. The results of the November election are not only important for us as a society, but also for our own community. Guest speaker Dr. Steven Windmueller will be sharing a nonpartisan election analysis designed to educate about the diverse and significant roles Jews have played and continue to play in American politics. As a political scientist, Dr. Windmueller’s work in Jewish political behavior has been central to his research and writings. His 2014 book, The Quest for Power, seeks not only to define the nature of Judaism as a political system but to demonstrate how Jews have historically governed themselves over the course of their complex historical journey.

Takes place via Zoom. Advanced registration required. Donations suggested. Your donation will go to the JCC from which you heard about this event. You will have the option to specify the PJCC during checkout.

Power Through Voting: Young Professionals Happy Hour
Thursday, October 22 • 6:30-8:00 pm
A Zoom party that will make a difference! Text bank with us to address voter suppression. Text banking is like phone banking, but with texting (don’t worry, you won’t need to use your own phone number—it’s all done online). We’ll be doing this through a collaboration with the Reclaim Our Vote campaign, which seeks to address voter suppression among people of color by educating voters on how to register, how to find their polling place, and much more—this is your chance to send those reminders directly to voters.

Learn more and register.

Suggested donations. Your donation will go to the JCC from which you heard about this event. You will have the option to specify during checkout.

Expand for Additional Election Season Resources

Count and Be Counted: The Safety and Importance of Voting and Census in the Era of COVID
Thursday, September 24 · 10:00-11:30 am
Worried about the election? Wondering how the Census count will impact our representation and local funding? Anxious about voting during a pandemic? You are not alone! We’ve put together a panel of experts to walk through what you need to know about Census 2020 and the November Election. Join us!

Featuring: Emma Gonzalez, Director, San Mateo County Manager’s Office of Community Affairs and Census 2020; Julia Marks, Staff Attorney on the Voting Rights and Census Team, Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus; Miriam Yupanqui, Executive Director, Nuestra Casa de East Palo Alto. This session will be facilitated by Petra Silton, Director of Advocacy & Education, Thrive Alliance.

Hosted by Thrive Network and the San Mateo County Libraries. Learn more and register.


The Leagues of Women Voters of San Mateo County Present: The Pros and Cons of the California Ballot Propositions and Tri-county Measure RR
Tuesday, October 6 · 10:30 am – 12:00 pm

Hosted by Thrive Network and the Leagues of Women Voters of San Mateo County. Learn more and register.

Thrive is proud to host the Pros & Cons, a nonpartisan explanation of state propositions, with supporting and opposing arguments. The North and Central San Mateo County League of Women Voters has teamed up with the South San Mateo County League of Women Voters to create a presentation for the whole County. After the presentation, there will be ample time for questions & answers.


Confronting Injustice

As a Jewish organization with a heritage built on an unambivalent call to justice, the PJCC recognizes that we must take a firm stance against the injustice, inequality, and hate that blights our society.

Read the PJCC’s statements on Racism, Injustice, and Solidarity with the Black Community and LGBTQIA + Rights.

Upcoming Community Event
An Interfaith Discussion about Race and Racism hosted by Peninsula Multifaith Coalition
Monday, October 19 · 7:00-8:30 pm
Unfortunately racism still exists and plagues our streets on an everyday basis. It isn’t going to stop overnight. What can you do? This event will be an important avenue to listen to people sharing how they stand up to racism. Speakers include members of the faith community and social change activists. After the presentation, you will have the opportunity to meet and share your thoughts in break out “rooms” with other participants. We will close with final thoughts by the moderator and panel.

Speakers include: Rev. Kristi Denham- UCC Pastor; April Vargas- Community Organizer; Kelly Yu and Alex Iliopoulou of Coalition Z; and Moderator, Rabbi Corey Helfand, Peninsula Sinai Congregation.

Learn more and register.


  • Supporting the Black Community
  • Ideas for Getting Involved
  • Resources from Partner Organizations
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Hours of Operation: Stage 1 Reopening
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Café at the J Hours
  • Mon - Sun Closed in Stage 1 Reopening
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