Our mission is to serve those who are disadvantaged or in need. We wish to educate and motivate Beth El members and provide opportunities for adults, youth and children to do social action. We recognize that, as Jews, we are commanded to pursue justice and to participate in Tikkun Olam “Repairing the World.”
Our Social Action committee members volunteer their time, effort and talents to make the Beth El community a better place. Our current focus areas include the following:
Annual Winter Clothing Drive for SHIM
Bring NEW or GENTLY WORN coats, jackets, sweaters, hats, gloves or scarves to Beth El by 12/15 (Our Chanukah celebration!)
Books for Babies at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh UPMC (NICU Babies Book Drive)Beth El has an amazing opportunity to partner with the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC. You can help these babies with a purchase through Amazon (or a donation to Beth El for us to purchase specific books) that infants can have read to them and then take home upon discharge. Research has shown the important bonding and developmental benefits of reading to babies while in the NICU. A number of these babies’ families will not have the resources to purchase such developmentally appropriate books.
A list of books that can be purchased from Amazon is available on the Beth El website. If you do not choose to go this route, you can make a donation for one or more board books to Beth El and we will do the ordering for you. We will also deliver the books directly to the NICU. Please drop off (if you order them yourself) in the box provided outside the main office. Go here to make a donation. Please contact Joan Charlson, Chair, at [email protected] with any questions you may have.
Sustainability at Beth El Beth El has taken steps to reduce our carbon footprint and find new ways to promote sustainability (how we live and support ourselves and our communities while ensuring future generations will have the resources they need to support themselves). We would love your input and help with additional ideas to keep Beth El moving forward! Read more about our commitment to being green.
Bikur Cholim Specially trained volunteers are visiting members who are homebound, dealing with illnesses or other conditions that may limit their contact with the outside world. Please contact Joan Charlson if you would like to join us in this mitzvah. Please email Rabbi Greenbaum or call the Beth El Office at 412-561-1168 to let him know if you or someone you know would like to be the recipient of these special visitors.
Food For Thought Find out more about Food for Thought, our new social action initiative to raise awareness and combat food insecurity in our community.
Shiva Mitzvah Corps Comforting the Bereaved / Nehum Avelim – The support of a strong community is most needed at the hardest time in people’s lives. Each time a member of our shul is sitting shiva, the Shiva Mitzvah Corps helps serve food in the shiva home. Please contact Adele Sufrin to help with this mitzvah. You can also join our “Minyannaires” club each weekday morning at 7:00 a.m. and each evening at 6:00 p.m., and on Sundays mornings at 8:30 a.m. to support those who must say Mourner’s Kaddish. In order to let our members know when someone has had a loss so that we can support them, Beth El has established a Shiva Hotline. In the event of a loss, we will email or call you. To be added to the Hotline list, please contact Christ Benton in the Beth El Office at 412-561-1168.
Help the Hungry Beth El members collect non-perishable food items to donate to several area organizations assisting the hungry throughout the year and during Project Isaiah over the High Holy Days. Beth El members volunteer at the Squirrel Hill Community Food Pantry several times a year and during the summer, you can donate produce from your gardens through the Plant a Row for SHIM project. Please bring your non-perishable food items to the bin outside the Rabbi’s office at any time.
Beth El holds an annual blood drive, and we periodically host an emergency blood drive at the request of the Central Blood Bank. The synagogue provides communication about these events when it is scheduled. You can also check our list of Social Action events to see when the next blood drive is scheduled.
Volunteer on Christmas Day Beth El members volunteer on Christmas Day in local hospitals and senior care facilities so that workers can spend the day with their families.
Help our Community Beth El members reach out to help our community in times of crisis, and we will continue to do so as the need arises. During the great flooding that occurred in Heidelberg as a result of Hurricane Ivan, about 75 of our members went to the flooded areas and helped people in their homes and through an amazing level of donations. More recently there was a fire that consumed an entire townhouse building on the hill above Beth El, and we helped the victims who were left with literally nothing but the clothes on their backs, by making donations and providing them with a place to meet so they could support each other and become educated about their options in their dire situation.
B’nai Mitzvah Students Help Each B’nai Mitzvah student performs a Social Action project of their choice as part of their preparation during their B’nai Mitzvah year. Contact Rabbi Amy Greenbaum for more information.
Join our Teenagers Our teenagers, through their United Synagogue Youth (USY) chapter, conduct numerous Social Action projects throughout the year. If your teen would like to get involved, please email our USY Director Elana Barkowitz.
Kadima Book Drive Our 6-8th graders are collecting books for all ages, donations to be made to SHIM. If your middle schooler is interested in getting involved in this or other social causes through Kadima, please email our Kadima Director Jacqueline Radin.
Community & International Aid Domestic and international, secular and Jewish projects are being explored by the Social Action Committee.
Beth El Members in the Military Write a letter to members who are far from home. Tell them local news or a simple hello to let them know we’re thinking of them.
AgeWell Rides & AgeWell Visits Make a difference in the life of seniors but helping them stay active. We need drivers as well as people willing to visit. Find out more.
Jewish Assistance Fund (JAF) Help families who need financial help. JAF covers emergency support for immediate necessities. Find out more.
Jenna’s Squad got crafty this month! First they decorated triangle-shaped Rice Krispie Treats for a gluten-free mishloach manot treat (see directions below.) Then they decorated masks with feathers and gems. This 7th grade group of girls is all ready for Purim! Ingredients Homemade Rice Krispie Treats cut into triangles Lollipop sticks 15 oz bar of…
Our kids have been busy participating in many fun programs and events! On February 4, our Chaverim students participated in the annual World Wide Wrap. Synagogues from all over the world take part in this one-time-a-year-event, held on Super Bowl Sunday. Rabbi Alex taught students and parents how to put on tefillin, and students had…
We are excited to share news of a wonderful opportunity for our Chaverim students. You may have heard of our “Steam Team.” We started this group 4 years ago for Martin, one of our 6th grade students (at that time). The Steam Team provided incredible opportunities for both Martin and his classmates. The group met…