During the last part of 2011, the Jewish community participated in a number of tikkun olam (the repair of the world) projects, including a Habitat for Humanity home and a wide variety of Merry Mitzvah projects. Amy Benovitz coordinated these efforts.
Habitat for Humanity
The Jewish community participated in its 10th Habitat for Humanity home in partnership with St. Francis in the Fields, St. Mark’s Episcopal and APPKI (American Physicians of Pakistani Descent in Kentucky and Indiana. Several other Episcopal and Lutheran churches also participated. Together the groups remodeled the home at 111 S. 41st St. for Alonte Brock and her two children.
The home was dedicated on December 4.
The project builders and donors were Madeline and Jerry Abramson, Judge Angela Bisig, Lawrence and Lincoln Bisig, Elaine Bornstein, Doug Boston, Bill Fitzgerald, Sonia Hess, Ben and Jacob Levy, Cantor David Lipp, Congregation Adath Jeshurun, Mickie Nathanson, Leslie Schwartz and children, Evie Topcik and Leon Wahba.
Merry Mitzvah 2011
“A heartfelt thank you from the agencies (and me), who appreciated the care and concern you showed by volunteering,” said Merry Mitzvah 2011 Coordinator Amy Benovitz. “Whether you served food, donated warm clothes (or checks) or made someone smile: Thank you! Every option was full!”
During Merry Mitzvah 2011, volunteers provided gifts and meals at several Wellspring Mental Health facilities (Concord House and Crisis Emergency Unit). They also served meals and mingled with clients of Maryhurst Girls Home (thanks to Temple Shalom), the Ronald McDonald House, Cathedral of the Assumption Soup Kitchen, Gilda’s Club (thanks to The Temple Women), Center for Women and Families, St John’s Center and St. Vincent DePaul Open Hand Kitchen.
In addition, volunteers prepared 500 sandwiches for clients at St Vincent DePaul’s Osnaman Center on January 1, and the sandwiches went well with the four fruit baskets donated by B’nai Birth. They also repackaged 200 food baskets for clients involved with Schuhman Center of St Martin of Tours.
Volunteers entertained at the Home of the Innocents, Hosparus and the Volunteers of America Family Shelter; and they spent several days wrapping presents at Brooklawn Children’s Home. Eight carloads of warm coats, sweaters and gloves were donated and delivered to several agencies, including Coalition for the Homeless, Catholic Charities Refuge Ministries Program, Schuhman Center and Volunteers of America Family Shelter. Several of these agencies help men who live outside, who really needed sweaters, coats, blankets and new socks.
“People are living outside and your donations help keep them warm,” Benovitz commented. “Since I started delivering in November when the weather changed, our donations are always snapped up and arrive in the nick of time. Thank you!”
Donors provided new clothes and gifts for Jewish children through the Hanukah Helpers program, run by Temple Shalom and Jewish Family & Career Services.
“The Temple religious school children donated over 150 pairs of gloves, blankets, caps and new underwear for children at Volunteers of America, Schuhman Center and Hanukah Helpers,” Benovitz reported. “This year, many of my friends were downsizing and many needy clients benefited from cookware, blankets, bedding, furniture, clothing, tablecloths and coats.
“Our Merry Mitzvah Project has turned into the more, the merrier,” Benovitz said. “Besides our fantastic individual volunteers, we have families, groups of friends, court personnel, Central State Hospital personnel, employees at local law firms and individuals who read our Community newspaper making a difference in the Holiday Season, and we appreciate everyone.”
While there were many, many volunteers, some of the events had chairs to coordinate the efforts of the volunteers from the Jewish community. Sandy Braunstein chaired the Gilda’s Club dinner; Amy Benovitz chaired the Wellspring brunch; Beth Klein and Amy Benovitz chaired the activities at the Schumann Center on different days, Margie Kommor chaired the Brooklawn Tuesday group; and Marci Rosengarten chaired the Ronald McDonald group.
Janet Levitan chaired the St. Vincent DePaul Sunday group, Rabbi David Ariel-Joel chaired the St. Vincent DePaul sandwich-making group toward which Jerry Fleischer and B’nai B’rith donated a lot of fruit. Kathy Fields chaired the Maryhurst group and Sheilah Miles coordinated the Hanukah Helpers donations.
“Thanks to each and every one for making a difference this season,” Benovitz concluded. “The agencies requesting help need volunteers the other 364 days a year and you can call them directly or call me to continue making a difference in our community. Need has no season and every agency can use you any day.”
Call Amy Benovitz, 425-0373, to learn how you can help.