Letter From The Co-Chairs
Hello and welcome to Tikkun Olam Times, a blog dedicated to Social Justice. Our tag line says it all.
Be Inspired-Get Engaged-Do a Mitzvah.
Our mission is to provide you, members of our community, with a one-stop shop: a place to uplift and inform, connect as a Kehillah, and engage in meaningful dialogue. Here, you can search for volunteer opportunities and find specific ways to help repair cracks in our bruised and fragile world. Here, you can read good news, see inspiring pictures, and learn how young, old, and everyone in between are helping the vulnerable in our backyard.
As the needs in our community and the demands of Covid-19 change, so too will this publication. We will shift gears in response to those changes, expanding certain programs, offering new ones, and phasing out projects when recipients no longer need them. We want to be as nimble as possible; but, we need to hear from you! If you learn about a teen involved in a meaningful mitzvah project, let us know. If you discover a need in our community, tell us. Together, we can make the Tikkun Olam Times a vehicle of compassion and change.
With warm regards,
Wendy Frank and Julie Mokotoff
Social Justice Co-Chairs at Temple Emanu-El
Doing Sacred Work to Address Food Insecurity
When you are asked in the world-to-come, what was your work?
And you answer, ‘I fed the hungry,’ you will be told,
‘This is the gate of Adonai, enter into it,
you who have fed the hungry.’
--Midrash Psalms 118.17
The Torah and Jewish tradition command that we help feed the hungry. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of people struggling with food insecurity in North Atlanta is growing. Now, more than ever, it is our obligation to help. The time is right for Temple Emanu-El to expand our partnership with Second Helpings Atlanta (SHA).
Described as a nonprofit food rescue agency, SHA’s mission is to reduce hunger and food waste by “rescuing” surplus food and delivering it to those in need. By partnering with SHA, we help our neighbors and mitigate food insecurity in our own backyard.
Here’s how it works: TE volunteers pick up nutritious, surplus food from local grocery stores and big-box food departments, then deliver it to neighborhood food pantries in Dunwoody and Sandy Springs. We are responsible for four routes, and volunteers are always needed for pick-ups and deliveries. Children can help, too, making this a perfect family project.
“Volunteering for Second Helpings Atlanta has been a fantastic experience for my family,” says Rachel Rosenbloom, a SHA route volunteer. Her 11-year-old son, Ben, helps on each route. The experience helps to reinforce in a tangible and impactful way the values she wants him to learn.
“It’s nice,” says Ben, “that I’m able to help the community in such a unique way. I realize how lucky and privileged I am, and seeing how much food we are able to deliver puts a smile on my face!"
Please reach out to Karen Singer at firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up!
THE CAC IS OPEN AND IN URGENT NEED OF FOOD AND VOLUNTEERS
“During this time of crisis, helping to feed those who are hungry is a small part of how we can reach out and help our neighbors,” declares congregant Karen Baron.
Karen is leading Temple Emanu-El’s on-going effort to collect non-perishable food for the Community Action Center (CAC), such as soup, canned meat and vegetables, canned or boxed pasta meals, and cereals. Food donations can be dropped off in the barrels placed the front offices of Temple Emanu-El or dropped off at CAC, 8607 Roswell Rd. Food donations can come from your pantry, from a shopping trip with your family, or even from a neighborhood food drive organized by your children!
There are many ways you can make a difference! In addition to donating food, you can volunteer your time. Collecting and sorting donations, packing food bags, distributing food to clients are a few more ways we can assist CAC with their mission.
Your efforts directly help the CAC achieve their mission: to provide nutritionally dense food to over 400 families each week. In our own backyard, there are community members who have lost their jobs and their income. Many of these people are in desperate need of food for themselves and their children.
“Isn't that who we are, and what we are about?” Karen asks, her voice laced with urgency. “Giving back, as individuals or as a family, is as fulfilling to those in need as it is to us who give. I can assure you, the CAC clients who receive our donations could not be more appreciative and grateful!”
Donations are accepted Monday-Wednesdays
9:30-3:00 at the administrative entrance to the synagogue.
For more information about the CAC Food Drive or to volunteer at the CAC, contact Karen Baron at email@example.com
Lunches for Mary Hall Freedom House-A Safe, Vital Way to Help
With the new challenges posed by COVID-19, Temple Emanu-El’s long-time partnership with Mary Hall Freedom House is growing.
“Beginning this week, we have pledged to provide lunches for the women and children who are sheltered in place there,” reports Bea Grossman, who is co-chairing the effort with fellow congregant Nancy Shapiro. “You can help those in need and still maintain social distancing.”
This program is a simple and concrete way to support the vital mission of Mary Hall Freedom House, which empowers women, children, veterans, and families to end the cycle of homelessness, addiction, and poverty. Although the pandemic is straining its resources, you can help. And you don’t have to go it alone: you can also involve friends, family members, including the kids, and even your chavurah. In fact, a chavurah could sign up to provide a week’s worth of lunches.
The task is simple: each person or household that signs up makes and bags and delivers 10 lunches to Temple Emanu-El. Lunches will include a sandwich, fruit, snack and a drink. FUN FACT: Did you know one loaf of bread can make 10 sandwiches?
Making lunch not your thing? You can volunteer to be at Temple Emanu-El to accept the lunches and then deliver them to Mary Hall Freedom House.
You can find all the details for making and delivering lunches on our Sign-up Genius HERE
Making Masks Can Help the Vulnerable in Our Community
Attention all stitchers!
In the Age of COVID-19, many of us have hauled out our sewing machines to stitch up simple masks designed to protect against the airborne droplets that cause the virus. Now volunteers at Temple Emanu-El are putting their skills to good use, helping the vulnerable in our community stay healthy by providing protective face coverings such as masks.
Not everyone has the tools or skills to make masks. But if you do, join us in helping to protect our partners at Mary Hall Freedom House and the Community Action Center.
If you have a sewing machine and some fabric but no project to use it on, we would welcome you! Patterns in both adult and children’s sizes are available. Don’t have a sewing machine or fabric or stitching skills, but still want to help? Drivers to pick up and deliver the masks to Mary Hall Freedom House and the CAC are welcome too.
For more information, email Wendy May at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Opportunities Coming Your Way
- CAC in Dunwoody-Volunteers needed to work in the Food Pantry and Client Registration areas. A short training program is required before volunteering. Open shift on Thursdays from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm. To work onsite, you must be between the ages of 15 - 65 years old. You must also wear protective safety gear like masks and gloves and practice social distancing. For more information, contact Karen Baron at email@example.com
- BackPack Buddies-School's out for summer but starting in mid-August, we will be packing weekend bags for food-insecure students at Chestnut Elementary. For more information, contact Julie Weiser at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Zaban Paradies Center-A place to help couples transition from homelessness to economic stability and well-being. The residents have found housing for the summer but will return to Zaban Paradies Center in the fall. We will "own" certain days of the month and cook dinner for the residents. Due to restrictions related to Covid-19, we are not sure at this point if we will be able to serve dinner and eat with the residents. For more information, contact Nancy Shapiro at email@example.com
Make a donation to help those impacted by Covid-19
Temple Emanu-El has established two Tzedakah Funds. You will be able to choose if you want your donation to go
to help congregants that have been impacted by Covid-19 or to those in the community.
Click HERE to donate.
Tikkun Olam Times Committee
Julie Mokotoff, Wendy Frank, Laura Wenner, Harriet Zoller, Nila Szweda