Neve Shalom’s Tikkun Olam committee welcomes all of our new members and we would like to take this opportunity to highlight some of our ongoing projects and detail some of our objectives.
- Mitzvah Mission - By far our largest undertaking, the Mitzvah Mission seeks to assist people in times of great change. The birth of a new child is a wonderful occasion, but sometimes it helps to have a meal provided or an errand completed. Upon the loss of a loved one, the Mitzvah Mission can also provide a meal or deliver useful items for a Shiva. Volunteers will sit with someone who is ill or run an errand for an individual who is temporarily homebound. We attempt to reach out to everyone, but we can only help if these individuals are identified for us. If you are ready to do a little mitzvah or a big one, please contact us to get on our roster.
- Food for the JFVS pantry - Each week, a volunteer delivers kosher food to the JFVS. This food is collected in the back of the shul by the doors.
- Amandla Crossing Transitional Housing Mother’s Day Project - Each May, we deliver beautiful bags of unopened toiletries to the women of the Amandla Crossing Transitional Housing Project for Mother’s Day. The women are single mothers who are transitioning from welfare status into the workforce. During their stay at Amandla, they work on attaining a GED or a college degree and make the changes necessary for their transition. Throughout the year, we collect these unused items, gathered by our members and pack them in April for these women. Donations of unopened toiletries may be dropped off inside the back doors of the synagogue.
- Blood Drive - We are now seeking new volunteers to assist in our efforts and insure the future success of this campaign. Please contact us if you can help. The time commitment isn’t great, but you can help save a life!
- Shiva Essentials Checklist - At an unfortunate time of need, if anyone loses a loved one, please know that you can contact the synagogue office to connect with our Rabbi, or you can also contact our Tikkun Olam committee at Tikkunolam@neveshalom.net. They provide a complete list of the customs during this time (please see link below) and they can assist the family in a variety of ways.
In November, 1988, Congregation Neve Shalom formed a Bikkur Cholim (Visiting the Sick) corp. Interested congregants attended training sessions and completed the required volunteer course at JFK Medical Center in Edison. Our visits to JFK provide some relief from the eternally long hospital day and offer relief to visiting family members.
Flora B. Cowen, a member of the Neve Shalom Bikkur Cholim Corp shares a unique experience:
I always felt that I received more from the visits than I gave — I liked meeting the patients, playing the inevitable game of Jewish geography, and just connecting with other Jewish people. I never really believed in the power of the Bikkur Cholim visit.
That is, until I was a patient for nine days in October 2002 at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, PA. On the third day of my hospitalization, Yael, who identified herself as a student at the University of Pennsylvania, and a member of Penn Hillel, stopped by my room to say hello. We talked about her major, where she was from, and what her future plans included. When she left, I realized that she had been a bright spot in a long day, and I appreciated her visit.
The next day, Friday, Rosalind Glazer visited just before Shabbat. Rosalind, a mature (30+ years old, I’m guessing) rabbinical student at the Reconstructionist Seminary in Philadelphia, responded to my request for a misheberach with a lovely, caring English prayer, created for me on the spot. Again, I felt uplifted after her visit.
Finally, at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, Shabbat, a quintet (count ‘em!) of fresh-faced young men from Penn Hillel, complete with prayerbooks and kippot, filed into my room to offer their wishes for a r’fua shlema. I was starting to feel much, much better — physically and spiritually!
Now that I’ve seen Bikkur Cholim from the other side of a hospital bed, I know that it will strengthen my own commitment to the mitzvah of Bikkur Cholim. Perhaps my experience will encourage you to consider becoming a member of the Neve Shalom Bikkur Cholim group.
Please contact us to learn more about this wonderfully fulfilling volunteer position.