A key component of Judaism is striving for social justice for all. In the words of Rabbi Hillel, "If I am not for myself, then who will be for me? And if I am only for myself, then what am I? And if not now, when?" Join us in helping to repair the world one step at a time by assisting with an existing initiative or creating your own. It can be a one time event or ongoing. Some of the current opportunities within the Tikkun Olam Committee are as follows:
Community Supported Agriculture: A CJC Green Team/Tikkun Olam Committee initiative. CJC's Green Team has been participating with local farmers in supporting the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) initiative as part of the local food movement. We call ours the Garden of Eden CSA.
What is the "local food movement?" Our country's food system has drastically changed over the last century. The local food movement is trying to shift us back to the way it used to be, where local farmers provided food to their surrounding communities. You may have heard the saying "Think globally, act locally." This is a way to make it happen for you and your family. Eating foods that are grown locally and in season helps to reduce your "carbon footprint," enhances taste and nutrition, and is a great way to be a part of the "green revolution."
The Garden of Eden CSA is an on-going program. We are participating with The Zahradka Farm. Participation is open to anyone interested in supporting local farming and in enjoying truly locally grown farm fresh produce.
Grassroots: We provide 51 meals (an entree and 2 sides) on the 4th Sunday of each month to the Grassroots Homeless Shelter. Committee volunteers purchase, cook and deliver the meals each month. We are always looking for volunteers. No cooking experience needed! If you have any questions, please contact Sandy Saperstein at 410-872-5954 or email@example.com.
Initiative to End Homelessness in Howard County: There are more than 200 people in our community living in shelters, cars or in the woods. It doesn't have to be this way. The mission of this sub-committee is to carry out CJC's commitment to our neighbors in need by supporting a variety of organizations that provide services to homeless people and those at risk of becoming homeless. Activities include providing monthly meals to local shelters, volunteering at centers serving homeless people, advocacy efforts including CJC support for the Plan to End Homelessness and in-kind support for local organizations providing services to those in need. Donations of canned food and new or gently used clothing are always welcome. The Homelessness sub-committee is committed to working with CJC members, other CJC committees and the greater community to ensure everyone in our area has a place to call home.
Help for Trauma Survivors: CJC has teamed up with the Shofar Coalition of Baltimore to provide information for trauma survivors of all ages. The mission of Shofar Coalition is to prevent the physical, sexual and emotional abuse or neglect of children and to aid adults, adolescents and children who are suffering from the impact of traumatic experiences. The Shofar Coalition strives to create a healing community in a safe and confidential environment responding to abuse with action rather than silence, shame and denial.
Fair Trade Gift Shop: In keeping with the spirit of Tikkun Olam, CJC has created a gift shop that features fairly traded and eco-friendly items. In doing so, we are honoring our commitment to the notion that the highest form of tzedakah is to provide opportunities for a person to become economically self-sufficient. We are also honoring the mitzvah to be shomrim adamim (Hebrew meaning guardians of the earth.)
We sell organic coffee and chocolate produced by small farming cooperatives, as well as zahatar, a middle eastern seasoning, and olive oil produced through a cooperative effort of Israeli and Palestinian women. Our Chanukah gelt, also made of fair-trade, organic chocolate, is a popular holiday item.
Gift items -- including toys, jewelry, purses and baskets -- come from Vietnam, Nepal, India, Ghana and Uganda; and these efforts enable women to support their families and avoid exploitation. One of our most popular items has been "kippot of many colors" made by a women's cooperative in Guatemala. We have also featured challah and matzah covers and menorahs made in a socially responsible way in Israel and in Latin American countries.
Shepherd's Table: CJC has been volunteering at Shepherd's Table in Silver Spring for approximately 15 years. We go there on the fourth Sunday of every month. CJC provides paper products and juices. We also set up the dining area, serve the meal, bus tables, wash dishes and clean up. Our time commitment on those Sundays is from 4:30p.m. to 8:00p.m. We welcome all willing participants but ask that you call Lois Savar-Rock at 410-715-2151 about 2 weeks before so we don't have too many volunteers on a given Sunday. Any questions can be directed to Ronee Rothman at 410-730-8162 or Lois Savar-Rock.
NAMI - National Alliance on Mental Illness
The Committee to End Racism:
- Rebuilding Togetherl: Participate with others in local religious organizations with helping to repair the home of a selected needy individual family. You can have great skills or no skills, just a willingness to help out.
- Greater Howard County Crop Walk (Communities Responding to Overcome Poverty) Hunger Walk: Can we get 250 people in Howard County to raise $100 each to feed hungry people in our area and around the globe? This approximately 3 mile walk starts and ends at the Oakland Mills Interfaith Center, 5885 Robert Oliver Place, Columbia Maryland. Seventy-five percent of the proceeds go to global hunger fighting agencies and twenty-five percent stay local to Howard County agencies. The next walk will be held on Sunday May 20th, 2012 at 2pm.
- Red Cross Blood Drive: Give the gift of life. Every minute of every day, someone needs blood. This need can only be met through the willingness of donors, such as yourself. Blood Drives are held every few months at CJCS. Schedule your donation with us or visit www.redcrossblood.org/ to learn more about blood donation opportunities.