Building Homes for the Homeless
Beth El Tzedek Scholarship Fund
Repair the World
What can we do to help? That’s the question we constantly ask ourselves as Jews and Beth El members. Some things such as the need for food and medical care are always with us, while other needs arise depending on the current political and economic climate.
Congregation Beth El has a longstanding commitment to social action – setting in motion the ideals and values of our traditions through deeds of justice and compassion. Our community offers wonderful opportunities to respond to the imperfections of our world by engaging in meaningful service.
Want to get involved? Below are some of the recent ways Congregation Beth El practices tikkun olam (repairing the world) and tzedakah (charitable giving).
Amnesty International & Mass Incarceration Reform
Beth El has hosted community meetings and letter-writing campaigns in support of international prisoners of conscience and the need to reform our current Mass incarceration laws.
Beth El Reading Partners
The Congregation Beth El Reading Partners team has been a member of the Greater Boston Jewish Coalition for Literacy (GBJCL) since 1997. Dozens of Beth El literacy tutors from all walks of life have invested a rewarding hour or more a week enriching the lives of hundreds of kindergarten through fifth grade students at the Charlotte Dunning Elementary School in Framingham. Our volunteers draw on their backgrounds as speech pathologists, attorneys, social workers, English teachers and more to bring innovative approaches to tutoring. Whether stay-at-home moms, working professionals, or retirees, our team members have been lauded for their compassion and enthusiasm in working with reading-at-risk children.
Beth El Tzedek Scholarship Fund
The Beth El Tzedek Scholarship fund provides financial support to a deserving students from the MetroWest area who have completed at least one semester at Framingham State University.
Please consider making a contribution to this effort by writing a check to Congregation Beth El, with “Beth El Tzedek Scholarship Fund” written in the memo line, or donate here.
Building Homes for the Homeless
Dozens of Beth El members and friends turn out for semi-annual Build Days in support of Habitat for Humanity home construction projects. We help turn holes in the dirt into homes for low-income families in our communities.To see a video of the project click here.
Beth El holds multiple food drives for local shelters at the High Holidays and throughout the year. “Coffeehouse for a Cause” benefit concerts organized and hosted by Beth El showcasing local musicians have raised money for local charities. Through our electronic bulletin board, members share ways to make financial and other contributions towards ongoing community support and disaster relief.
One recipient is Family Table, the largest kosher food pantry in New England, which provides healthy food to individuals and families in need. See: Other recipients have included Pathway Family Shelter, Sudbury Food Pantry, A Place to Turn Natick, and Voices against Violence.
Great Coffee, Great Cause!
Subscribe to Beth El’s Java Nagila – drink delicious shade-grown Arabica coffee at a great price, processed sustainably by small-holder farmers in Guatemala. Your coffee purchases help them to provide housing, nutrition, education and health care for their families. See De La GENTE
MetroWest Free Medical Program
Since 2004, Congregation Beth El has hosted dozens of volunteers offering free health care services to our neighbors in need. On most Tuesday evenings, licensed physicians, nurses, social workers, and other volunteers transform Beth El’s sanctuary into a free medical program serving Metrowest residents who lack health insurance. We are proud to host the first synagogue-based free medical program in the U.S. The program welcomes financial donations and volunteers to support this work. Visit MetroWest Free Medical Program.
Red Cross Blood Drives
Beth El hosts quarterly public blood drives in association with the American Red Cross. Beth El members volunteer as registration and canteen support staff. You can make the drives even more of successful by volunteering just a couple of hours and you can also donate blood. Literally, you can help save a life!
Sanctuary and Immigration Reform
In the 1980s, Beth El declared itself a Sanctuary Congregation in support of Central American refugees. This year, Beth El again declared itself a Sanctuary Congregation in support of undocumented immigrants facing deportation. A Sanctuary Group of members works to change federal and state policies, publicize and protest pending deportations, and to support immigrant communities. Beth El members can join a dedicated sanctuary list-serv.
Secret Gifts Box
There are many opportunities for observing the mitzvah of tzedakah (commandment for charitable giving) at Beth El. One is the Secret Gifts Box (Matan B’sayter) located outside the doors of the sanctuary. Matan B’sayter follows an ancient practice that began with the Second Temple, where there was a room where donors could enter, leave their gifts, and recipients could enter and take what they needed…all anonymously. The Secret Gifts Box is a tangible reminder that to be a Jew means giving to others. In this case, the tzedakah placed inside the box is secret: the donor does not know who receives it and the recipient does not know the identity of the donor.
Funds have been allocated to a wide range of charities including those dealing with disaster relief, individuals or families in need within or outside of Beth El, food pantries, housing for the elderly, services for children, and humanitarian relief. Congregants are encouraged not only to contribute but also to offer suggestions for future allocations to the committee.
Congregation Beth El co-founded and has continued to co-sponsor Students Together Opposing Prejudice to educate middle school and high school youth on how to identify and confront discrimination, prejudice and stereotyping. S.T.O.P. was founded in 1991 by our Director of Education, the Director of Religious Education at Our Lady of Fatima, and the Assistant Minister at Sudbury United Methodist Church in response to an anti-semitic incident at a local elementary school. See STOP website for more information.
Transitional Support for the Homeless
Beth El members volunteer with Family Promise to provide assistance and support to homeless and low-income families in temporary need of housing, food assistance, and support to help them regain their housing, their independence, and their dignity.
Tzedakah Hevra — Charitable Giving Partnership
Tzedakah Hevra is a group of Beth El members who have joined together to pool their charitable resources, research charities, and distribute funds to Jewish charitable organizations, institutions and individuals. The Hevra was formed in 1979 to help members approach their tzedakah (charitable giving) in a meaningful way.
Since the 2016 Presidential election, many Beth El members have realized the need to take more social action and also the need to come together for mutual support. Congregation wide efforts as well as smaller group efforts have led to the creation of the Yachad group. Yachad shares information among Beth El members on pending social action events and changing federal and state policies. Beth El members can join a dedicated Yachad list-serve.
To learn more or to get involved click on the link below.