Michelle Mitzvah


With the new Jewish year and fall season upon us, I want to take a moment and say a heartfelt THANK YOU and YASHER KOACH to Jill Blum and the gardening committee for all of their hard work. The vegetables grown in the garden are donated to local food banks and soup kitchens. In fact, without our donations to the Suffern Soup Kitchen at Christ Episcopal Church from our garden, they would not have any vegetables.
Speaking of the Suffern Soup Kitchen, we are always looking for volunteers to provide meals on Sundays. There are still some open dates and opportunities to help our neighbors in need. Currently, we are serving 20 meals on Sunday, from 11:30 am – 12 pm. You can access the calendar online at https://tinyurl.com/BHSSGarden. If you need any assistance in entering your information, reach out to Steve Simon at [email protected].

As the High Holidays are quickly approaching, please do not forget to bring your tickets and donated food to the synagogue to help support our annual Center for Food Action Food Drive. The items needed most are:

Supermarket Gift Cards,  Canned Meat & Fish
Canned Pastas, Stews, Chilis and Hearty Soups,  Canned Tomatoes and Vegetables
Pasta, White and Brown Rice, Dried Beans Cold Cereal, Oatmeal, Pancake Mix
Peanut Butter & Jelly,  Shelf Stable Milk, Baby Formula,
Diapers (Size 4, 5, 6), Toilet Paper, and Paper Towels
Low Sodium and Low Sugar Foods,  Cleaning products & Laundry Detergent
Toothpaste, Shampoo & Body Wash,  Coffee

The Michelle Mitzvah Group meets the second Tuesday of every month at 7:30 pm. The next meeting will be Tuesday, September 13 at 7:30 pm.


Mission Statement:

The Michelle Mitzvah Group was formed some 25 years ago as a living memorial to honor one of the children of our temple community. One way we accomplish this is to work for the benefit of youth, both within our congregation and in the greater community at large. Within Beth Haverim Shir Shalom it is our hope that, through our work, we can teach our children the meaning of the word “mitzvah” and encourage them to participate in our efforts to visit the sick, feed the hungry, clothe the poor, and perform other acts of human kindness.

In our broader social community, we pledge to seek out those in need of physical, emotional, or educational assistance and provide them with the help and encouragement necessary for them to fulfill their life potential.

The primary focus of all our efforts is to develop broadly based, hands-on projects that will encourage participation from our membership, using their varied backgrounds and skills to benefit others.

No dues are assessed to those who wish to join the Michelle Mitzvah Group, and for those activities that may require financial assistance we shall reach out both to our BHSS community and to the greater communities that we live and work in for support.



The Center for Food Action (CFA) – Mahwah, NJ

People are amazed when we tell them that there is an organization with an office right here in Mahwah that helps feed over 40,000 of our Bergen County neighbors. For years we have done whatever we can to support this effort. During the High Holidays, BHSS congregants fill up CFA trucks parked right in front of our doors. Just inside the synagogue entrances are large baskets that we try to keep filled year round with food donations. Bar and bat mitzvah families ask their guests to bring bags of food to the synagogue on their very special day. We will continue collecting food on an ongoing basis, especially during the High Holidays. Today’s economy is not good… and the need is greater than ever. To learn more about the CFA, click here.


Oasis provides educational programming and critical support services, including food, clothing, and social services to women and children living in poverty. The primary goal of these programs and services is to mentor women and children to help them achieve their fullest potential. For more detailed information, visit their website.

Wanaque Convalescent Center and Children’s Specialized Hospital

Volunteers from BHSS visit Wanaque Convalescent Center on Christmas morning bringing smiles to the faces of handicapped children and staff. We also visit Children’s Specialized Hospital in Mountainside NJ during the year. Cantor Perper leads us in song. If you have joined us for one of these visits you know what a special event it is. For more information, click here.

Tomorrow’s Children – Hackensack, NJ

This amazing organization serves children with cancer and severe blood disorders. Located at Hackensack Hospital, it was founded by a group of parents who met while their children were being treated for their serious illnesses. Some made it…others didn’t, but the parents never gave up and the result is a hospital wing that cares not only for the young patients but also provides support for their parents and siblings. BHSS has helped through a gift card program and is in the process of working out a closer “hands-on” relationship going forward.

Children’s Aid and Family Services (CAFS) – Paramus, NJ

One day, a member of the Michelle Mitzvah Group told us about a wonderful organization (founded in 1899) that he tries to help by dropping off gifts for the kids they service. He raved about it so much that several of us decided to go see for ourselves. We walked into their lobby and right before us was a sign on the wall with a quotation from Margaret Meade: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” By the time we left that day, we had learned that CAFS primarily helps children who have no families able to care for them and families who are facing challenges and transitions in life. Services include adoption and foster care for children, alcohol and drug abuse education and prevention, child care and early education, and counseling. Among other things, the Michelle Mitzvah Group is now working closely with CAFS on a program to supply much needed skilled volunteers. For more information see their website here.

Nathan LeBron Scholarship Fund

This fund was established by Nathan, a cancer survivor, who first came into contact with members of the Michelle Mitzvah Group in the summer of 1984 when one of our synagogue children was battling leukemia. Nathan decided to partner with the synagogue and the MMG to establish a scholarship fund to help disadvantaged young adults in order to give them the support they need to go onto college or technical school. It is his way of giving back the support he received during those difficult years.

The Michelle Mitzvah Group invites all congregants to get involved in the many projects and events planned now and throughout the year. There is something for everyone… there is much need, and our reward is in the giving.

For further information please contact one of the officers of our committee:

Steve Simon, President, [email protected]
Stu Turner, Vice President, [email protected]
Gail Wichler, Treasurer, [email protected]
Kathy Liebman, Secretary, [email protected]

The Michelle Mitzvah Group is a part of the Social Action program of Beth Haverim Shir Shalom with a hands-on approach to its programs. Although the focus is on children, it encompasses the entire family and the community in which we live.