As Jews, we are obligated to work to repair the world. In order to fulfil 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:
Beth Sholom will serve as an emergency homeless shelter, providing temporary housing for three or four families from July 27 to Aug. 2. Training is provided for volunteers who serve as evening and overnight hosts.
We will also be collecting healthy, kosher snacks and fruit for the guests, and gently used games, books, crayons, paper, etc., for the children to use while they are guests.
Volunteers host the guests in two shifts: from 6 to 8 p.m., an 8 to 10 p.m. Each shift will have up to four volunteers. It is important that at least one congregant be present for each shift to welcome the guests and to represent the congregation. A volunteer’s primary responsibility is to make the guests feel welcome and respected during a difficult period in the guests' lives. Homeless Shelter guests will arrive at Beth Sholom at 6 p.m. and depart at 6 a.m. A staff employee of the Religious Coalition is present at all times and is responsible for enforcing the Religious Coalition’s policies. Volunteers are also needed to help with setting up the shelter on the afternoon of July 27 and packing up on August 2.
New volunteers are required to submit a form to the Religious Coalition for a criminal background check and to attend a one-hour volunteer orientation session. For more information, or for a volunteer application form, contact Stan Binder at firstname.lastname@example.org or call
703-609-7011. To volunteer for shifts, sign up here.
Other annual projects include:
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.
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.