We are committed to Tikkun Olam (repairing the world) by supporting our greater Jewish community and beyond and engaging in local, national, and Israel-focused activities.
Mitzvah Day ONE is our annual fall kickoff for major projects and includes both short-term and annual on-going projects throughout the year. These include:
- Open Table – providing weekly meals and kids’ snack bags to families in need
- Greater Boston Jewish Coalition for Literacy – providing reading tutors for children grades K-3
- Family Table Food Pantry of Jewish Family & Children’s Services – providing food for needy Jewish families in the greater Boston area
- Household Goods – providing household goods and furnishings for individuals and families in need
- Project Linus – providing blankets for comfort, warmth and security for pediatric patients
- The Healing Garden – providing cheering gifts to cancer patients.
The Chesed (Caring) Committee (formerly Yad b’Yad)
The Chesed (Caring) Committee, is a group of Kerem Shalom volunteers who help members in times of need. Examples of our work include helping to organize virtual Shiva minyanim, providing guidance with ordering groceries online, and reaching out by phone to check in during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you need assistance–or if you would like to volunteer–please contact Wendy Taubes at . You can also contact Rabbi Darby, Rosalie Gerut, or Nancy Kaplan by email or by leaving a message at 978-369-1223.
Social Action Projects
Kerem Shalom Food Insecurity Fund
In reaction to the coronavirus pandemic and its unprecedented consequences, Kerem Shalom created a Food Insecurity Fund from which donations are made to both Open Table and Jewish Family & Children’s Service Family Table. Our congregation has a longstanding relationship with both organizations, and both are working harder than ever to service their clients. Click here to DONATE to the KS Food Insecurity Fund.
Background on KS Food Insecurity Fund Partners
Open Table was founded in 1989 to provide weekly nutritious meals and a food pantry to anyone who wanted them—no questions asked. With facilities in both Concord and Maynard, Open Table serves residents in 23 surrounding towns. Their purpose is to address the hunger that exists in our area and to do this in a manner that respects the privacy and dignity of their guests and to provide them with a few moments of respite from their daily challenges. The Open Table is a way to open arms and hearts in the community, share success and gifts, practice values that enhance common humanity and to give and receive kindness.
KS has sponsored an annual food drive during the High Holy Days with groceries collected at KS and then delivered to Open Table on Mitzvah Day. In addition, we have cooked food and supplied volunteers for their community meals, and donated and decorated school lunch bags. For more information about Open Table, visit opentable.org.
JF&CS Family Table, the largest kosher food pantry in New England, provides healthy food on a monthly and emergency basis to individuals and families in need. Their mission is to alleviate hunger in a way that meets nutritional and spiritual needs. Each household receives a complete set of healthy groceries including fresh produce, personal hygiene items, and Jewish holiday and ritual items such as challah and Shabbat candles. Family Table serves more than 100 towns across Greater Boston, the North Shore, and the South Area. Currently, Family Table is helping more than 500 families each month with groceries and connections to other services.Kerem Shalom has worked with JF&CS Family Table for 15 years providing donated groceries on a monthly basis. Our current commitment is 35 cans of salmon and 45 cans of tuna that are delivered to JF&CS in Waltham on their distribution dates. KS volunteers have also spent time bagging groceries and delivering them to clients. If you have any questions about KS’s connection to Family Table, please contact Susan Brager Murphy at . For more general information about JF&CS Family Table, click here.
“Never underestimate the power of a small group of committed citizens to change the world. Indeed, it has never been done otherwise.” – Margaret Mead
Mitzvah Day ONE is a well-subscribed, much anticipated, highly populated, volunteer-run event that our membership is proud of—a day on which we experience the power of a community effort towards Tikkun Olam, or healing the world.
Tzedakah, righteous giving, Gimilut Chasadim, acts of loving kindness, and social action, all are aspects of Tikkun Olam. And our Mitzvah Day are filled with many acts of kindness, as over 200 members participate in projects, (either on or offsite), volunteer, and make donations.
Household Goods: Helping People Make a Home
Household Goods, based in Acton, is an independent not-for-profit organization that provides household goods, free of charge, to people in need. Kerem Shalom volunteers staff the warehouse and help clients select goods the first Sunday of each month. A dedicated group of high school students has volunteered monthly since 2016, studying and working as part of the CJP’s TELEM initiative.
Household Goods accepts donations of gently used household items that will help make a home comfortable. As an organization staffed by volunteers, they depend on the generosity of community members for goods, time and financial support.
To learn about volunteering, please contact Naomi Rosenfeld at . This is a wonderful activity for parents and children 11 and older and is a fantastic project for B’nai mitzvah families. If you’re interested in TELEM Teens, please contact Nancy Kaplan at .
The Virginia Thurston Healing Garden
The Healing Garden, based in Harvard, provides expertise in therapeutic services and wellness education to the community at large, so that the Garden’s unique and remarkable environment will reach as many people as possible.The Healing Garden’s mission is to optimize the quality of life for all those affected by cancer, having served over 1500 clients affected by cancer as well as providing care for their caregivers and families. For information about Healing Garden contact JoAnn Simon at . At our Mitzvah Day Kerem Shalom provides hand-made gifts, healing lotions, teas, and potted winter bulbs to cheer the patients receiving services at Healing Garden.
Project Linus provides homemade blankets to children who are seriously ill, traumatized or otherwise in need, through the gifts of new, handmade blankets and afghans, lovingly created by volunteer “blanketeers.” Throughout the year and on Mitzvah Day, knitters create squares for blankets at home and in our “knitting nook” in the lobby. Pat Lukens assembles the squares into blankets. KS students also make fringed no-sew blankets at our School Mitzvah Day.