Looking for Community Service ideas? Click here for an extensive list!
BHSS’s Social Action Committee had many exciting events take place this past spring. We hope you got a chance to participate!
- As a result of Tu B’Shevat committee meetings, Social Action has become even more focused on tending to the BHSS Garden so it continues to thrive and grow hearty produce brought to nearby community food banks and soup kitchens. Due to a great turnout of BHSS congregational volunteers, mulch was successfully delivered and spread out to officially launch the garden’s planting and growing season. The BHSS garden is in need of new “bed tenders” to support its current volunteer group. NO GREEN THUMB IS REQUIRED! Please check out the Garden subcommittee flier posted in the weekly BHSS emails and simply click on the sign-up link to volunteer. Or, just show up every Sunday morning, weather permitting. We’ll be out there getting our hands dirty! The fresh air and camaraderie will provide you with endless physical and mental health benefits, so it’s a “win-win” situation for everyone!
- Our committee has begun to work more closely with a 13-member Afghani refugee family that lives in Valley Cottage, N.Y. Anyone who attended or live streamed the memorable H.I.A.S. sponsored Refugee Shabbat/Shabbat Shirah service held on February 3 will recall listening to Nelofar, an eloquent and brave young woman who spoke about her prior life in Afghanistan before she was forced to flee with her mother and sister and then help other family members find refuge in the United States. We will be working with a stellar refugee non-profit agency named “Hearts and Homes” based in Pelham, New York that has already set up a network with this and other refugee families in Westchester County and the lower Hudson Valley. We will “fill in” by helping Nelofar and her family obtain needed self-care and household items, plus navigate their adjustment educationally and emotionally to daily life in their new community. A donation box will be set up at the school entrance to BHSS with items that would be needed on a weekly or monthly basis, so check it out! More specific details will follow, so please continue to check your weekly emails. This will be an ongoing initiative, so we hope other committee members and congregants will participate.
- Social Action again helped to man a table along with other BHSS participants at the third annual Mahwah Pride Day on Sunday, June 11.
Please don’t hesitate to email us at [email protected] with any new ideas or questions. We always welcome new members and feedback! Our committee usually meets the last Tuesday of every month, via Zoom so far.
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 County – The 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 Drive – The 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.