Social Action at Beth Shalom
THIS is my chosen fast: to loosen all the bonds that bind us unfairly…Share your bread with the hungry, take the homeless into your home…do not turn away from people in need…if you put yourself out for the hungry and relieve the wretched, then shall your light shine in the darkness…The Lord will guide you continually. God will refresh you in dry places, renewing your strength.
Isaiah says it loud and clear: as Jews we are called to perform tzedekah and deeds of lovingkindness. Bring your energy to one of Beth Shalom's current social action activities. It's more fun in a group! Most of these activities require only a few hours, some less than that. Find an activity and contact the lead person or the office to participate. If there is an area of social action that you would like to see Beth Shalom involved in, contact Mary Anne Newkirk or the office.
Food Drive for the Howard County Food Bank: Year-round, a box sits outside the office for donations of non-perishable food items which are delivered to the Howard County Food Bank. Bring items to the synagogue during weekday office hours or religious school.
PATH (People Acting Together in Howard): A community action network composed of Christian, Jewish, and Muslim congregations as well as non-profit organizations and unions, PATH’s mission is to identify issues and take action to focus the attention of elected officials. Two primary issues are affordable housing and aging in place. Beth Shalom is a paying member of this organization. Our job is easy: when PATH schedules an event, for example, at a Howard County Council meeting, they put out a call for people to attend these events. Contact the office to be placed on a list of congregants willing to attend actions. For more information, http://path-iaf.org/victories/ .
Watering our Rain Garden: Beth Shalom, in cooperation with PATH, installed a rain garden. Volunteers are needed to water the rain garden and other Beth Shalom plantings during the summer. Call the office to volunteer.
Elizabeth House: Four times a year, on the fifth Thursday, Beth Shalom volunteers heat and serve hot meals and pack bag lunches for approximately 45 homeless and low-income residents in Laurel. TIME INVESTMENT: 3 hours. (Carpool from Beth Shalom at 5:30 pm, and are back to Beth Shalom by 8:30 pm). (2016-17 Dates: Sept 29, Dec 29, Mar 30, June 29) For more information contact Phyllis Bloom.
Road Clean-up: Twice a year, usually on a Sunday in May and October, we pick up trash along Harriet Tubman Lane from Beth Shalom to Cedar Lane. TIME INVESTMENT: 2 hours. For more information contact Mary Anne Newkirk
Cold Weather Shelter: For one week between Thanksgiving and the end of March, we work with another congregation to care for homeless clients selected by Grassroots, Inc. Tasks include: preparing lunches, preparing and serving dinners, doing laundry, driving clients to and from the bus stop at the Columbia Mall, and organizing entertainment. TIME INVESTMENT: Variable. For more information contact Abby Glassberg.
Don’t Burn the Chametz: It’s the morning of the first Pesach Seder and you’ve come across some chametz. Don’t panic, don’t throw it away, don’t burn it! Bring it to Beth Shalom, along with other non-perishable food for the Howard County Food Bank. Look for the announcement on the website, in the Scroll, eScroll and weekly bulletin.
Grassroots, Inc. Motel Boxes: In collaboration with Beth Shalom’s religious school, we prepared care boxes of food used by applicants for the residents who need to be temporarily housed in motels. Tasks including shopping and assembling boxes. TIME COMMITMENT: Variable.
We are always looking for assistance and ideas! Contact Mary Anne Newkirk for more information