Mitzvah of the Monthsponsored by the Social Action Committee
MITZVAH of the MONTH
The Temple B’nai Abraham Social Action Committee continues the spirit of Mitzvah Day/Week throughout the year with a Mitzvah of the Month.
Each month, congregant families will have an opportunity to help families and individuals in Essex County who find themselves in need during the pandemic.
Janet O. Penn & Ruth Ross
TBA Social Action Committee Co-chairs
At a time when the community is suffering, no one should say, “I will go home, eat, drink, and be at peace with myself. – Babylonian Talmud Taanit, 11a.
Mitzvah of the Month, October 2022
For many years, TBA has supported Family Promise (formerly Interfaith Hospitality Network) in its mission to help homeless and at-risk families achieve self-sufficiency by providing shelter, social services, and housing assistance through a community-based approach. In October, we have two mitzvah opportunities to show our continued support:
1) On Thursday, October 6, TBA will be hosting a dinner for Family Promise clients and volunteers at Union Congregational Church in Montclair. We are still in need of volunteers to cook, shop, and help on-site. Food can be prepared in advance and frozen (or purchased). We will arrange a convenient time/place to pick up/drop off cooked food and non-perishable items. We are also accepting financial contributions – even contributions of $18 will be helpful! Here is the sign-up genius to see specifically what is needed. https://www.signupgenius.com/go/10c0e4da8ad2ba7fd0-family Please help spread the word!
2) On Sunday, October 16, at 9 am in Verona Park, we will join Family Promise of Essex County at their annual Walk for Change to raise funds and awareness for families experiencing homelessness. When you register to walk you will receive a t-shirt. Children 13 and under do not need to register and can wear a blue shirt of their choice. A $25 suggested donation is requested for each registered walker. To register to walk with Team TBA for Family Promise and/or to donate click here: https://www.givegab.com/teams/tba-for-family-promise
We walk because every child deserves a home.
For more information on both events, contact Lisa Reisboard (201)407-8334 or Terri Friedman (973)699-0582.
August 2022: Supporting the Girls
TBA congregants donated gently used bras, and two local businesses donated new, unsold stock. The hundreds of bras were donated to local shelters and non-profits that support women in need.
June 2022: 2 Mitzvahs of the Month
TBA congregants were so generous in June. First, some 20 families made homemade meals for Family Promise, formerly Interfaith Hospitality Network. A few weeks later, a collection of baby formula, cereal and food helped those dealing with food insecurity feed their children.
May 2022 Mitzvah of the Month
The collection of fresh fruit and veggies helped folks get ready for Memorial Day Weekend. Livingston Neighbors Helping Neighbors distributed the produce to local shelters and other outlets helping those with food insecurity.
Generous TBA congregants donated 3300 pads in packages of 28, 30, 32, and 36. Donations went to Grace Temple in Newark, Isaiah House in East Orange, and Livingston Neighbors Helping Neighbors to be taken to a church in Newark for distribution. Stacey Abenstein was the chair of this Mitzvah project. Sisterhood—The Women’s Connection partnered with the Social Action Committee on this project.
The March Mitzvah was a huge success. About 20 families made 50 trays of ziti and lasagne for local food pantries.
JANUARY 2022 – KEEP KIDS WARM
Boy oh boy, TBA congregants showed up for this effort:
Grace Temple received 75 sets (hats, scarves, mittens — adults and kids)
Cleveland School, Newark, received 80 sets (kids)
Family Promise received 10 adult and 5 kids sets
Livingston Neighbors Helping Neighbors received 300 sets
Isaiah House received 60 sets
Thank you to everyone who knitted, crocheted, and purchased!
December 2021 Mitzvah: PROVIDE HOLIDAY CHEER TO OUR NEIGHBORS
In December, our members created snack bags.
Some bags had packets of instant cocoa, candy canes, and fruit. Others had a new pair of socks and maybe some cookies.
These bags of holiday cheer were donated to Livingston Neighbors Helping Neighbors (LNHN), who then distributed them to St. Ann’s, St. John’s and St. Michael’s and St. Rocco’s Churches in Newark.
October 2021 Mitzvah: Keeping it Clean
In October, the Mitzvah of the Month was a collection of paper goods and household cleaning supplies. Despite the drop-off
window being shortened by one day due to inclement weather, a large number of items were collected. The cleaning supplies will be used by shelters and food kitchens in Newark. In the left photo, Temple B’nai Abraham member Ruth Ross drops off her donation at the temple.
August 2021 Mitzvah: Diapers and Such
Temple Beth Abraham members donated 2,800 disposable diapers, 730 baby wipes, 30 tubes of diaper cream, and 10 bottles of baby shampoo and body wash during their August Mitzvah of the Month, Diapers & Such. The collection was sponsored by the Temple B’nai Abraham’s Social Action Committee, the TBA Early School and its Jewish Learning Program.
These items were donated to Livingston Neighbors Helping Neighbors (LNHN), who delivered them to three churches in Newark – St. Ann’s, St. Michael’s and St. John’s; they all have congregations with many young families in need of baby supplies.
TBA member Helen Farber drops off her donation for August’s Mitzvah of the Month.
TBA June Mitzvah of the Month
Temple B’nai Abraham Social Action Committee co-chairs Janet Penn and Ruth Ross sort packages of feminine hygiene products collected, in partnership with the Sisterhood—The Women’s Connection, for the June Mitzvah of the Month. Over 5,400 sanitary napkins were donated by congregants to be distributed to girls and women who do not have access to such products. Many teenage girls received products in school but can no longer get them during the summer vacation, nor can they be purchased using food stamps. These products were distributed to Newark Emergency Services for Families (NESF) and to three churches in Newark by Nick Santinelli of Livingston Neighbors Helping Neighbors (LNHN). For information regarding Social Action Committees online project please go www.tbanj.org
May 2021 Mitzvah of the Month:
PBJ SANDWICHES & SOCKS
To fulfill the Temple B’nai Abraham Social Action Committee’s May Mitzvah of the Month, congregants made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and assembled breakfast/lunch bags filled with the sandwich, pair of socks, a piece of fruit and a snack.
Over 450 bagged meals were delivered to four Newark churches by Livingston Neighbors Helping Neighbors to feed adults and children who still do not have enough to eat. It is hoped that this nutritious meal will help make the recipients mentally sharp to complete their schooling or go to work.
The JLP and Teen Tikkun Olam have partnered with the Social Action Committee on this activity.
MITZVAH OF THE MONTH
APRIL 2021: PRODUCE FOR POSITIVITY
Fulfilling the Social Action Committee’s April Mitzvah of the Month, Produce for Productivity, Temple B’nai Abraham’s congregants donated over 400 bags of vegetables and fruit—bagged potatoes, onions, carrots, apples and oranges—to be delivered to food insecure residents of Essex County by Livingston Neighbors Helping Neighbors. Committee co-chairs Janet Penn and Ruth Ross estimated that, with an average of four pounds of produce in each bag, the total collected was around 1600 pounds; in fact, a 15-pound bag of potatoes was the largest donation made!
Because many who get food from food pantries receive boxed or canned items, the TBA Social Action Committee decided to collect foods with fairly long shelf life that would provide the vitamins and other nutrients so often absent from the usual fare distributed by local food pantries. The committee partnered with the temple’s Jewish Learning Program and Teen Tikkun Olam club on this event.
Mitzvah for the month of March 2021
Baked Ziti for Local Families Suffering from Food Insecurity
For the March Mitzvah of the Month, the Social Action Committee asked TBA congregant families to contribute a pan of meatless baked ziti to ease the food insecurity faced by our Essex County neighbors. Livingston Neighbors Helping Neighbors (LNHN) picked up the ziti meals from the Temple and delivered them to needy neighbors in Livingston and Newark.
Feeding the hungry is one of Judaism’s basic tenets. The Talmud instructs each Jewish community to establish a public fund to provide the hungry with food. Indeed, feeding the hungry is one of our most important responsibilities on earth: “Providing charity for poor and hungry people weighs as heavily as all the other commandments of the Torah combined.” —Babylonian Talmud, Baba Batra 9a
The February Mitzvah of the Month
The February Mitzvah of the Month involved a collection of the following: warm hats for adults, teens and children, scarves, mittens, and gloves. Many, many bags were filled with much needed hats, scarves, gloves, and mittens for our neighbors in need. Nick Santinelli from Livingston Neighbors Helping Neighbors (LNHN) came to TBA to collect the generously donated items by our very own congregants. They were promptly delivered to 3 Churches in Newark for distribution. What a Mitzvah! The Social Action Committee wholeheartedly thanks our numerous volunteers. We also want to send a special thank you to Ruth Dolinko who knitted with love several blankets to be used as either lap blankets for the elderly or as baby blankets. Whatever the use, we sincerely appreciate the countless hours spent creating such beauty.