Social Action

Looking for Community Service ideas? Click here for an extensive list!

We hope everyone enjoyed their Summer 2022 break. As cooler weather sets in, BHSS Social Action is just warming up!

Here are a few recent highlights of what has been accomplished so far this spring and summer:

  • A few BHSS Social Action members and Rabbi Ilana, along with other N.J. synagogues and advocacy groups, got on a bus to Washington D.C., to protest the U.S. Supreme Court’s disavowal of Roe vs. Wade and to fight for our religious and reproductive rights.
  • We have been part of a newly-formed congregational committee which has been helping a Ukrainian mother named Julia and her son, Sasha adapt to their new lives in Suffern, New York after their difficult journey as wartime refugees to the United States. It has been an “all hands on deck” effort which has been very rewarding. Keep looking for updates about their lives and needs in the weekly emails and eloquent congregational letters sent by Harvey Weinberg and Jen Cole.
  • There were successful turnouts at the June 2022 Mahwah, New Jersey and Sloatsburg, New York Pride Day town-wide events and we greatly appreciate all the volunteer organizers and participants.
  • BHSS committee and congregational members graciously volunteered and “adopted” beds in our beautiful synagogue garden. Their time and hard work is resulting in a bountiful harvest whose produce was delivered to the Suffern and Sloatsburg food banks. Volunteers will be needed to help Jill Blum and the rest of her team of volunteers tend to and harvest both the summer and fall fruits and vegetables. Please email Jill at [email protected] to help. THE MORE THE MERRIER!

Our upcoming “opening season” events include a postcard writing campaign to GET OUT THE MIDTERMS VOTE so candidates who support a woman’s right to choose and sensible gun violence prevention legislation are elected at both the state and local levels. We also are planning an online forum to hear from rabbis who have written chapters in a recently released social justice book. So, STAY TUNED!  Check your weekly emails for further updates and please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions/new ideas. We welcome EVERYONE to attend our Zoom meetings held on the final Tuesday evening of each month at 7:30 p.m. beginning in October.

L’shanah Tovah, a sweet and healthy New Year to everyone.

Jonathan Theodore:  [email protected]

Lisa Estrin:  [email protected]

Lisa Glick:  [email protected]

Committee email address:  [email protected]

Our Mission Statement

The mission of the Social Action Committee of Beth Haverim Shir Shalom is to serve as an umbrella for all the committees and organizations associated with the congregation that do social justice work in all forms under the auspices of the congregation.

As such, it will inspire coordination and collaboration amongst organizations, promote their work within and outside the congregation, engage members of the congregation at large to participate in social justice opportunities and advocate with the Board of Trustees to allocate the resources necessary to ensure that social justice is at the heart of Beth Haverim Shir Shalom’s mission.

What We Do

There are many ways of performing Tikkun Olam (repairing the world) here at Beth Haverim Shir Shalom. The Michelle Mitzvah Group, Brotherhood, Sisterhood, the Caring Committee, the Youth Group, and other temple committees, are all involved in social action activities. Below are just a few examples — for a more extensive list, see above.

Register with the Gift of Life

Each year thousands of patients worldwide search for a suitable donor for a stem cell or bone marrow transplant. They rely upon a stranger for hope. Registering is easy and done through a simple cheek swab.  Eligibility is open to anyone between the ages of 18 and 60 and in generally good health.  As the Talmud says, “He who saves a life, it is as if he has saved an entire world.”  If you have already been previously swabbed, there is no need to swab again. Monetary donations are also needed, though not required. Each swab costs $60 to process, so any amount is greatly appreciated! To learn about Gift of Life in 60 seconds, click here.

Center for Food Action (CFA)  – The Michelle Mitzvah Group has an ongoing year-round collection effort for the CFA located in Mahwah. There are baskets and poster signs located in the front entrance and education wing of the synagogue. In addition to donating food, volunteers are always needed to help bring the food to the CFA.

When you order Bimah Baskets, usually donated by Bar/Bat mitzvah families, the products purchased are delivered to the need of your choice, including Center for Food Action, (including a baby basket), Animal shelter in Oakland, etc.

Emergency Family Shelter of the Inter-religious Fellowship of Bergen CountyThe Emergency Family Shelter provides meals and a safe place to sleep for several families who have demonstrated to the Community Action Program, (a county-run social work program) that they need a limited time to get back on their feet. Through the Michelle Mitzvah Group we “host” four nights every May. We need volunteers to prepare and serve a hot dinner while others will be needed to stay overnight and help with breakfast the next morning.

Coat DriveThe Coat Drive, run by New Jersey Cares, is again sponsored by the Michelle Mitzvah Group through December 15.  We contribute hundreds of winter coats annually. Please donate your coats to this important event.

The Michelle Mitzvah Group began a campaign to collect cartoon bandages and art supplies/toys for children with cancer and blood disorders at Hackensack Hospital.  We are working closely with The Tomorrows Children’s Fund on this project.  This is a great opportunity for all BHSS families to work together on a mitzvah project. Stay tuned for more information on this much-needed effort.

Barbara Weiss Scholarship Fund: Donations from the congregation and Sisterhood.  Money is given to the rabbi per her request to students for camp, trips, etc.