Volunteer Opportunities

One-sentence mission: To coordinate the efforts of Temple Beth El members to live out the Reform Jewish value of tikkun olam by providing opportunities to engage in social action efforts and to work toward systemic change in our community.

The mission of the Social Justice and Action Committee is to coordinate Temple Beth El efforts to:

  • Pursue social justice and systemic change,
  • Assist those in need through acts of tikkun olam, and
  • Foster partnerships, cooperation and collaboration on social justice issues among Temple Beth El, the Shalom Park Community, the greater Charlotte community, and the larger Jewish and non-Jewish communities.

We do this by:

  • Providing congregants with volunteer opportunities,
  • Initiating, sustaining, and sun setting social justice and action projects as appropriate and,
  • Educating congregants regarding social concerns of our world.

Vision Statement
We envision a congregation where repairing the world is second nature, where young and old alike work side by side to assist our neighbors in need, and where social justice and social action efforts are integrated into all aspects of Temple life. Temple Beth El will be known within the Charlotte community and the North American Jewish community as a powerful force for fostering social action and pursuing social justice and systemic change.

 

Choose from a variety of projects to help our neighbors in need.

View our website calendar for Volunteer Opportunities and Tzedek Council events.

MITZVAH DAY

Temple Beth El congregants come together once a year, to perform mitzvot (good deeds) and help with Tikkun Olam (repairing the world). We meet at 8:30 am in the David Silverman Social Hall for a bagel breakfast and then break off to work on our community service projects, There is a project for everyone; preschoolers, school age children, teenagers, and grown-ups. Find the project that works for you and your family!

Time Commitment: 1-3 hours

Save the Date: Mitzvah Day- May 19, 2019

BY THE NUMBERS

Tzedek Council by the Numbers, February 5, 2018

Tikkun olam and social justice can’t always be measured and evaluated by the numbers, but here’s a few numbers that provide a snapshot of social action and justice at Temple Beth El.

Giving Tree 2017
Total gifts collected:  285

  • Delivered to Jewish Family Services
    • Gift cards:  25
    • Presents:  11
  • Delivered to Sterling Elementary
    • 50 children from 41 different families received presents — a toy, a book, and an educational item.  Each of the 41 families received a Wal-Mart gift card and a toiletry kit/washcloths.
    • 6 children from other families received coats.

Hurricane Relief
Money donated by TBE congregants in 2017:  $2,250 divided equally among:

  • Hurricane Harvey relief:  Houston Jewish Federation
  • Hurricane Irma relief: Fort Myers Federation
  • Hurricane Maria relief:  Temple Beth Shalom, Reform synagogue in Puerto Rico

Jewish Community Refugee Initiative (JCRI)

  • Jewish Federation Impact grant awarded to create Welcoming the Stranger to the Table event later in 2018:  $1,800
  • Winter coat drive
  • Coats received:  119
  • Cold weather items (hats, gloves, scarves) received:  43

Mitzvah Day 2017

  • Number of projects:  23
  • Number of participating congregants:  Over 450

Navigating Aging programs

  • Attendees at December 2017 program:  Approximately 35
  • Attendees at January 2018 program:  Approximately 50

Purim Bags

  • Bags delivered in 2016 to seniors, shut-ins, & TBE staff in 2017:  190
  • Expected number of bags to be delivered in 2018:  200

Project Snowflake

  • Number of TBE volunteers serving breakfast/lunch at Men’s Shelter: 13
  • Number of casseroles provided by TBE volunteers: 10
  • Number of children’s pajamas donated to Women’s Shelter:  32
  • Number/amount of gift cards donated to Women’s Shelter:  28

Room in the Inn (RITI):

  • Estimated numbers for 2017-2018 season still in process
  • Number of Jewish volunteers serving neighbors.
  • Number of homeless neighbors served:  84

Shalom Green
In 2017:

  • Volunteers maintaining community garden:  Over 60
  • Pounds of food produced by garden and donated to local charities:  Over 200
  • Children visiting garden for educational programs:  Over 600

Shalom Park Freedom School
In 2017:

  • Number of scholars benefitting from program:  75
  • Number of volunteers:  180
  • Number of TBE volunteers on 2018 steering committee:  14

Sterling Elementary

  • Congregants volunteering on weekly basis:  23
  • Giving tree — see above

Urban Ministry Kitchen
2017 numbers (Note – TBE serves only on months with a 5th Sunday)

  • Number of times Beth El responsible to make lunch on Sunday:  4
  • Number of Beth El volunteers participating:  48

STERLING ELEMENTARY PARTNERSHIP

Our Temple “adopted” Sterling Elementary School as part of CMS’s Faith Community Partnership program. We need volunteers to get involved. What can you do?

  • Teach a child to read.
  • Help a child improve math skills.
  • Be a lunch buddy.
  • Help a teacher as an assistant or tutor.
  • Do “busy” work for teachers in the comfort of your own home (collating papers, stapling, sorting, and the like).
  • Donate new or gently used books or student incentives for a classroom.
  • Donate a computer to a needy family.We guarantee the time you spend with these bright, curious children and their teachers will leave you smiling and will make all the difference in their lives!
    Email Kim Wilkoff or call (610) 639-4705 to volunteer or find out more!

 

THE PURIM BAG PROJECT (SHALACH MANOT)

Are you passionate about aiding seniors – and looking for a way to make an impact in a short time?  We’ve got a satisfying volunteer project with your name on it.

Every year, Temple Beth El volunteers deliver 200 Shalach Manot Purim bags to seniors and homebound congregants.  Gifts of food are part of the Purim tradition.  Recipients love receiving their bags and seeing a friendly face from temple.

There are lots of ways to get involved:

  • Shop, assemble, and deliver the bags – and maybe grab a few friends to join you!
  • Donate cash, which we’ll use to buy hamantaschen, fruit, and candy. Send a check payable to Temple Beth El and put Purim Bags in the memo line.

Email Karen to volunteer or learn more.

TZEDEK COUNCIL

The Tzedek Council is committed to inform, educate, and involve the members of Temple Beth El in the doing of ‘Good Deeds’, ‘Mitzvot’, in the Jewish Community, and in the greater Charlotte Community. This Council will raise the level of consciousness of our congregation and hopefully our children and make a difference.

VOLUNTEER TRANSPORTATION SERVICES

SHALOM PARK FREEDOM SCHOOL

Since 2011, kindergarten through fifth grade scholars from Huntingtowne Farms and Sterling Elementary, the two schools in faith-based partnerships with Temple Israel and Temple Beth El, have been attending Shalom Park Freedom School.  This six-week Literacy Summer Enrichment Program provides scholars from economically disadvantaged households an opportunity to prevent summer reading loss and build character through afternoon enrichment programs.  “Summer slide” is the largest contributor to the achievement gap for low-income children. With eight Shalom Park Partner agencies engaging in tikkun olam (improving our world), we are helping children in our community become self-sufficient through closing the literacy achievement gap.   Flexible volunteer opportunities available for tweens, teens, and adults from reading buddies, to a teen advisory board, afternoon enrichment leaders, and board positions.  For more information visit Shalom Park Freedom School’s website.

Shalom Park Freedom School is now accepting application for Teen Board Volunteers (rising 10th and 11th graders).

Save the Date: Shalom Park Freedom School’s Annual Movie Night is May 9 at 7:00 pm

Partner agencies:  Charlotte Jewish Day School, Foundation of Shalom Park, Jewish Family Services, Jewish Federation of Greater Charlotte, Levine JCC, Levine-Sklut Judaic Library, Temple Beth El and Temple Israel.

For questions or additional information, please contact Emily Russell.

SHALOM GREEN

Shalom Green is a group of Jewish community volunteers dedicated to promoting an understanding of Jewish environmental values. Shalom Green is united in its commitment to sustainability and is energized to take meaningful action to preserve and protect Creation through its three primary goals: to REDUCE the carbon footprint of Shalom Park facilities, to MAINTAIN the Shalom Park Community Garden, and to EDUCATE the community about environmental issues.  For more information visit Shalom Green’s website or email here.

Celebrate Tu BiSh’vat or the “New Year of the Trees” with Shalom Green by donating items to the Shalom Park Community Garden to make this harvest season a success.  Click here to sign up for items needed and drop off information.

Partner Agencies:  Foundation of Shalom Park, Jewish Federation of Greater Charlotte, Levine JCC, Temple Beth El and Temple Israel

For questions or additional information, please contact Emily Russell.

PROJECT SNOWFLAKE

You can be an “angel” for those who need a well-deserved night off during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. Volunteers are needed to relieve staff members in men’s and women’s shelters, hospitals and social service centers. Contact Merle Gottheim.

Time Commitment: About 3 hours

ROOM IN THE INN

The LJCC, Temple Beth El, Temple Israel and Foundation of Shalom Park are privileged to be a partner site with Urban Ministries Center for Room in the Inn, which provides shelter and food for homeless people in Charlotte and Mecklenburg County during the winter months to keep them safe from the cold.  Shalom Park Room in the Inn provides pick-up from uptown Charlotte, a warm, safe place to sleep and shower, three meals (dinner, breakfast and bag lunch), and then returns the guests the following morning to uptown.  In addition to volunteering, this is an opportunity to gain greater insight into the complexity of homelessness in our community.  For more information email here or visit Urban Ministry’s websiteSign up to help Room in the Inn here.

Partner agencies: Foundation of Shalom Park, Levine JCC, Temple Beth El and Temple Israel.

For questions or additional information, please contact Emily Russell.

URBAN MINISTRIES SOUP KITCHEN

Volunteers gather at the Urban Ministries Center on the 5th Sunday of appropriate months (four times a year) to prepare and serve soup and sandwiches for Urban Ministries Center’s homeless clients. Contact Gloria Peper.

Time Commitment: A 3-4 hour time commitment is typically needed on these Sundays.

B'NEI MITZVAH PROJECTS

Once they begin preparing for their simcha, all Temple Beth El students are expected to complete a b’nei mitzvah project. B’nei mitzvah students will:

  • spend 13 hours on this project.
  • pick a project enjoyable enough for them to want to continue even after their big day.
  • have contact with the people they are assisting. For example, if there is a donation collection, the b’nei mitzvah student will personally deliver the donations to the people in need.

Peruse this Action and Justice Project section for some b’nei mitzvah project ideas. Contact Rabbi Dusty Klass for more information.

JEWISH COMMUNITY REFUGEE INITIATIVE (JCRI)

The Jewish Community Refugee Initiative (JCRI) is a lay-driven initiative whose mission is to educate the Charlotte Jewish community about refugee issues and to encourage the community to volunteer with local refugees and the agencies that resettle refugees. Many refugees have fled violence and threats of persecution.  Volunteers working with young or adult refugees help provide stability, continuity, and assistance to those adjusting to life in a new country.  While these refugees are not Jewish, it has always been a tenet of Judaism to help the stranger and welcome the refugee.  JCRI brings volunteer, donation, education and advocacy opportunities to you and your family.  For more information visit the JCRI website.

Partner agencies:  Foundation for the Charlotte Jewish Community, Jewish Family Services, Jewish Federation of Greater Charlotte, Levine JCC, Stan Greenspon Center for Peace & Social Justice, Temple Beth El and Temple Israel.

For questions or additional information, please contact Emily Russell.

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ADVOCACY

Addressing domestic violence is an opportunity for all of us to examine how we conduct our personal relationships and to face how we deal with people who are in trouble. As a problem for adults, families, and teens, it is an issue that cuts across all committees and programs, just as domestic abuse cuts across all socio-economic, educational and religious groups.
Few synagogues, however, acknowledge that abuse happens in the Jewish community. In 2007 Temple Beth El not only formally acknowledged it, but resolved to address it by becoming a “safe haven” – a community that promotes safety, justice and healing; and by working to end it through education and awareness-raising activities (see Resolution on Domestic Abuse).

Click Here for a Domestic Violence Resource Guide

In working toward these goals Temple Beth El has initiated or collaborated in many ground-breaking efforts including:
• Dedicated weekend in October and throughout month to raise awareness for Domestic Violence Awareness Month
• Dedicated activities in February for Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month
• Tailored educational programs for teens, women and men.
• Promotional materials including Resource Guide to programs and services

To become involved or for more information contact
Marsha Stickler at mstickler48@gmail.com.

AFFORDABLE HOUSING

In 2010, Temple Beth El’s Board passed a resolution on affordable housing,  authorizing institutional advocacy to address the underlying causes of homelessness and expanding affordable housing, recognizing the commitment of member families, the Reform movement and the tenets of our faith to this cause.

Empowered by this resolution, TBE has collaborated on education, advocacy and program changes in our community:

  • the award-winning documentary “Souls of Our Neighbors”
  • a community website for volunteers now adopted by the Homeless Services Network www.SolveThePuzzleCharlotte.org,
  • a pilot program moving families out of homelessness, resulting in the formation of the Moving Ministry at Crisis Assistance Ministry, and
  • A Way Home, a public/private endowment led by the Foundation For The Carolinas to provide rental subsidies.

Congregants interested in getting involved are invited to contact Judy Seldin-Cohen.