The Sophia Way | Press Release: TBT partners with TSW
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Press Release: TBT partners with TSW

Temple B’nai Torah partners with The Sophia Way to host emergency women’s shelter for six months

BELLEVUE, WASHINGTON (Dec. 5, 2019) – Temple B’nai Torah has partnered with The Sophia Way to host the nonprofit organization’s emergency shelter for women from November 2019 through May 2020.

This is an opportunity for the Reform Jewish congregation, located at 15727 NE 4th Street, Bellevue, to reinforce its values and mission of “Tikkun Olam,” Hebrew for “Repairing the World.”

“These acts of loving kindness are at the heart of our fundamental religious beliefs as Jews,” said Rabbi Sydney H. Danziger, who started as Temple B’nai Torah’s senior rabbi in July. “One reason I joined Temple B’nai Torah was because of the congregation’s commitment to social justice, particularly their bold efforts to combat homelessness.”

Temple B’nai Torah (TBT) has hosted a tent city for homeless people five times on its property. In 2005, the first time the synagogue tried to host an encampment for homeless individuals, it faced a lawsuit and opposition from neighborhood advocates. That resulted in a consent decree between the City of Bellevue and the synagogue, which allows tent cities on Bellevue religious groups’ property for 90 days.

The Bellevue City Council on Dec. 9 plans to vote on proposed changes to its land-use code, which would increase the number of days a temporary homeless camp can stay in one spot from 90 to 120 days and to increase the frequency allowed from once at the same site every 18 months to once every 12 months.
“We feel honored and privileged to host the women of The Sophia Way” said Danziger. “When we discovered that their emergency shelter was without a host for the winter, our congregation jumped into action to quickly make our synagogue ready, on very short notice, to welcome our guests.”

“We are grateful to Temple B’nai Torah for giving our Emergency Shelter a home for six months and for providing critical consistency in the lives of the women we serve,” said Alisa Chatinsky, Interim Executive Director of The Sophia Way. “It’s such a relief to know that women experiencing homelessness on the Eastside are safe and warm during the cold months ahead.”

Up to 50 women can stay at TBT each night. The emergency shelter provides the women lifesaving support during the coldest months of the year. It gives them a warm safe place to sleep at night and a hot nourishing meal. The shelter helps to minimizes the women’s mental and physical decline that quickly escalates when they are homeless.

The emergency shelter is open from 8:30 p.m. to 7:30 a.m. every night. No reservations are required. Each woman receives a sleeping mat, blanket, hot dinner, cold breakfast and bus tickets, which enables them to travel in the morning to The Sophia Way’s Day Center.

About Temple B’nai Torah: Located at 15727 NE 4th St., Bellevue, Temple B’nai Torah this year celebrates its 50th anniversary as a supportive community for Jews of different backgrounds and practices, Jews who are united in their desire to perform mitzvot (good deeds), acts of righteousness, meaningful study, Jewish prayer and tikkun olam (repairing the world).Find more information at https://www.templebnaitorah.org or call 425-603-9677.

Contact: Cynthia Flash 425.603.9520 | cynthia@flashmediaservices.com

About The Sophia Way: The Sophia Way’s goal is to make homelessness rare, brief, and one-time for the women experiencing it. Its shelters offer them a warm, safe space to take a shower, rest, and sleep, and nourishing food to give them strength. Case managers focus on their overall wellbeing – physical, mental, and financial. The aim is to move the women into a stable and secure environment – their own home. Find more information at https://sophiaway.org or call 425.463.6285.

Contact: Sujata Agrawal (Communications Manager) sujata@sophiaway.org