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Mitzvot B'yachad

 

Doing Social Justice and Mitzvot Together

 
Mitzvot B'Yahad (MitzBy) provides members
of our Beth Sholom community the
opportunity to uphold Judaism's central
tenets of Tikkun Olam (repair the world) and
Gemilut Chasadim (acts of loving kindness). Whether
it is the Mitzvah Food Pantry, Cook for a Friend, Make a
Difference Day blanket making, Helene's Heroes Blood
Drives or learning forums that expand our awareness of
social justice issues, Mitzvot B'Yahad provides a home
and support for these activities to flourish. We believe in
the strength and power of individuals coming together
to make a difference. Mitzvot B'Yahad – together. Never
has working together been more needed as communities
continue to navigate the many challenges of a postpandemic
world.
 
On Thursday evening, May 6, 2021, the Hittinger
Family, MitzBy and the Old York Road Kehillah jointly
co-sponsored a virtual Annual Reitenberg Memorial
Program. Amy Spitalnick, Executive Director of
Integrity First for America (IFA), spoke about this
nonpartisan, nonprofit organization which is dedicated
to defending principles of democracy, civil rights and
equal social justice. The program was moderated by
Shira Goodman, Director of the Anti-Defamation
League (ADL) Philadelphia, who addressed the growth
of white supremacist and far-right extremist movements
in America. IFA attorneys are currently representing a
group of peaceful protestors from the Charlottesville
community in a landmark legal case against two dozen
neo-Nazis and members of hate groups who planned
and executed violent riots in Charlottesville.
 
Prior to the onset of COVID-19, our work was ongoing,
day in and day out, to meet peoples' needs. But MitzBy
was also ready to respond to an unexpected crisis.
Our Mitzvah Food Pantry, a joint project with the
Federation of Greater Philadelphia, typically served 120-
150 families weekly pre-COVID. It was then designated
an Emergency Food Site during the pandemic. Under the
able leadership of Beverly McFadden, Stuart Warsetsky
and their steadfast group of volunteers, all necessary
safety precautions were put in place to ensure that
members of our own community continued to receive
nutritious food for their families during an especially
difficult time. As our sanctuary is a beacon of spiritual
light, our Mitzvah Food Pantry is a beacon of sustenance
and hope to our friends and neighbors.
 
Cook for a Friend volunteers, under the dedicated
leadership of Ronne Hellmann and Marilyn Rubin,
have not been able to use the BSC kitchen during the
pandemic. As soon as our building reopens, they will
resume cooking meals for hundreds of people each
month. These meals will again be delivered to Klein Life for
distribution to seniors and other adults who are not able
independently to access nutritious food on a regular basis.
On MLK Make A Difference Day, MitzBy worked with
Marlene Snyder, founder of Kare4Kids, who was able
to provide instructions virtually for blanket making.
We implemented a safe, contactless way to distribute
fabric pieces and to collect 70–75 finished blankets that
were then delivered to various social service agencies
and shelters by Marlene and her husband, Bob. This
project provided our community an opportunity to make
a tangible difference in the lives of families. We thank
Marlene and Bob for their continuing commitment and
involvement in the BSC community.
 
Helene's Heroes Blood Drives – Rene Feitelson did an
excellent job of working with the Red Cross to ensure
that Beth Sholom’s blood drives were successful, despite
challenging, increased protocols due to COVID-19.
Under her tireless efforts, BSC held two very wellorganized
blood drives, including one in April during
the pandemic with all appropriate safety precautions
taken. We thank Rene, as well as Stanley Daniel, Stacey
Salsman and our staff and volunteers who ensured a safe
donation space. The need for blood donations remains
high. Please consider donating if you do not already do
so. This is truly a vitally important gift of life.
We hope that the year 5782 will be one that brings
peace, health and prosperity. But we know that our work
is critical to making these things happen. MitzBy will
continue its ongoing work – but there is so much more to
do as we engage in additional initiatives such as:
 
• establishing a Chesed Committee to help families
   during Shiva– organizing and ordering/cooking meals
   for those in mourning; providing support for minyanim.
 
• expanding our Kare4Kids blanket making beyond the
   one MLK Make a Difference Day;
 
• finding ways to engage our teens with environmental/
   sustainability projects and engaging all of our school
   children in social action through volunteerism;
 
• increasing our awareness of and support the interfaith
   work being done in our community to build mutual
   understanding and respect;
 
• participating in Old York Road Kehillah Social

   Action projects and programs, under the committed
   leadership of Kim Decker.

Please think about ways in which you would like to
volunteer – MitzBy is interested in your ideas and
passions. Join us!

Jeannette Norris
Chair Mitzvot B'Yahad Social Action

MitzBy Members: Marge Boxbaum, Amy Cohen, Anthony Pomeranz, Bernard Epstein, Beverly McFadden, Carol Nemeroff,
Chaya Pittler, Connie Clarke, Danielle Otero, Judi Shapiro, Ellyn Lehr, Marilyn Rubin, Nancy Osborn, Rene Feitelson, Devorah Roberts, Robin Katz, Ronne Hellman, Ruth Bluethenthal-Appel, Sarah Hittinger, Marlene Snyder, Robert Snyder, Stuart Warsetsky and
Susan Weinberg.

Mon, November 29 2021 25 Kislev 5782