As Jews, we are obligated to work to repair the world. In order to fulfill our religious duty to perform tzedakah, the Tzedek/Social Justice Committee organizes, mobilizes and participates in the Beth Sholom Congregation's efforts to help the poor, the homeless, the hungry and those in need. Our current project is:
Blessings in a Backpack
In January, February and March, congregants can donate food items to the Blessings in a Backpack program, which provides food over the weekend and holidays for school children participating in the federal free or reduced-price school meals program. There are collection bins outside of the synagogue office. Acceptable items include:
- Rice-a-Roni—cups only, no boxes
- Mac & Cheese box (7.25 oz)—no micro cups
- Chef Boyardee Ravioli (15 oz can)—no micro cups
- Tuna fish (5 oz cans)—no packs or boxes
- Single-serve instant oatmeal packets
- Chicken noodle soup (old fashioned, regular size)
- Individual cups of fruit, applesauce or pudding—no squeeze packs
- Canned corn, greenbeans, peas & carrots or red kidney beans (15oz can)
Or make a monetary donation to Blessings in a Backpack (check off "Make this gift on behalf of an organization" and specify Beth Sholom
Other annual projects include:
Beth Sholom serves as an emergency homeless shelter for one or two weeks in the summer, providing temporary housing for three or four families. Training is provided for volunteers who serve as evening and overnight hosts, and provide healthy snacks and games for children.
The Tzedek/Social Justice Committee encourages food donations throughout the year and promotes a special food drive for the Frederick Food Bank during Yom Kippur and Sukkot.
Day of Prayer
The committee promotes the Religious Coalition's Homeless Community Day of Prayer in November and encourages congregational participation in this event.
The committee promotes the annual October Alzheimer's Walk, and participation by congregants raises thousands of dollars for Alzheimer’s research.
National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week
Beth Sholom takes part in a number of events in November that benefit and bring awareness to the plight of the homeless, including an interfaith dinner, a prayer walk, a forum and a movie.
During the holiday season, the committee organizes a gift collection for seniors referred to Beth Sholom by the Frederick Department of Social Services, and congregation members serve Christmas Eve and Easter dinner at the local Soup Kitchen.
The Tzedek/Social Justice Committee and the women's group, Mitzvot and Friendship of Frederick, hold a Chanukah celebration for the residents of two local nursing homes.
Beth Sholom supports the Children of Incarcerated Parents Partnership by collecting hygiene products. COIPP, an all-volunteer nonprofit organization, was founded by a congregant. It assists families who have an incarcerated loved one, while working to educate the community about the issues facing these families.