Social Action

Israel Bonds

Screen Shot 2017-07-20 at 2.04.13 PMEven though we are only approaching the end of July,  the High Holy days are approaching, along with the synagogue’s Israel Bonds High Holy Day appeal.  As we all know, “Investing in Israel bonds is an important response to anti-Israel activists.”  We hope we can count on you as part of Brith Sholom’s efforts to continue to join others in helping Israel stay strong.  Please click here to be taken to the Israel Bonds website…

New Bethany Ministries

New Bethany Ministries Mallard Hospitality Center served 69,516 meals to 2,080 individuals as well as providing more than 3,263 food baskets and 1,000 showers to 712 families in 2015 alone. But these life-saving efforts were and are not possible without the help of volunteers like those from Congregation Brith Sholom.
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“Helping at New Bethany is a fine way to serve the community as well as the social action projects of Brith Sholom,” Sandy Wruble, a volunteer and Brith Sholom congregant said as she doled out Salisbury steak in mushroom sauce, potatoes in cheese sauce, peas and carrots, and whole wheat bread and butter to the many clients lined up at the lunch counter.

DSCN0115Most of the food is donated including the deserts, cookies, chocolate cake, coffee cake and cupcakes from Giant Supermarket, Weis and Wegmans. In addition, 10 local houses of worship, Bridle Path 55 and over community and such corporations as Just Born, SAI Group and C&S Wholesale Groceries spend over 9,600 hours a year helping to improve the lives of so many in need.

Brith Sholom’s team of volunteers, Sandy Wruple, Ursala Levy, Doe Levan and Janice DSCN0145Kay, Shirley Stein, Judy Aronson and Rosalie and Gordon Goldberg, know just what to do when they arrive on the fourth Tuesday of every month.

“We Ad Lib items making the food tastier. We just do not just open a can of peas and carrots. We add seasoning and other ingredients to improve their flavor,” Sandy Wruple said.

“We look at the ingredients like the contestants on “Chopped,” a popular cooking show on the Food Network, when they open their mystery food basket and are asked to transform the ingredients. Like them, our goal is to improve everything,” Richard Smith, a volunteer who travels 78 miles to Bethlehem two times a week to help, said.

DSCN0140The volunteers all agree with Doe Levan when asked why she volunteers.

“It gives me a wonderful feeling of helping and doing a good deed,” Levan said.

The people the team help come from all walks of life and have experienced all types of problems, yet they praise and thank all the volunteers who help them by providing a hot meal, needed groceries and a place where they have dignity.

“I meet a lot of people here, nice people. For me it is where I have a good time, enjoy a DSCN0142meal, and have good conversation. I really appreciate everything,” one client said. “New Bethany is helping me get back on my feet.”

“It is a place where I eat,” one 4-year-old said.

You can help those in need get back on their feet too by serving your neighbors and your community as a volunteer.

As Doe Levan put it so succinctly, “They need us!”

Miller-Keystone Blood Center

Emergency: the critical need for blood donations in our community continues. Approximately 450 donations are needed every day for lifesaving transfusions to those in need, including many patients undergoing joint replacement surgery or organ transplant.” It is all about your blood, their hope.

Under David Caine’s guidance, Congregation Birth Sholom is one of the many organizations and religious groups that have answered this call.

“I wanted to participate in the Blood Drive my company hosts because I felt such a simple act would have a positive impact on someone else’s life. Setting aside a few minutes out of your day, you can truly save someone’s life. It was quick, easy and painless. I would do it again in a heartbeat!” Kristen Fallon, a volunteer donor, said.

Established in 1971, Miller-Keystone Blood Center is an independent, not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) community organization that serves as the only blood provider to 21 hospitals in Berks, Bucks, Carbon, Dauphin, Lehigh, Luzerne, Northampton, and Schuylkill (PA), and Hunterdon and Warren (NJ) counties.

David Caine is one of these donors.

“Years ago, my father went to the University of Pennsylvania to donate blood. They stuck a needle in each of his arms and he sat there for an entire hour. The whole process terrified me. But things have changed since then. In fact, the process is so easy that on last count I have donated 13 gallons of blood.”

Caine was spurred on to be such an extraordinary donor because his grandfather and his step father both had leukemia and needed weekly transfusions.

“If you are physically able, donating blood is life-saving to the recipient. Giving blood is a year-round concept, not just when the call goes out like after 9/11. The need never goes away,” David Caine said.

You can help save a life at the Miller-Keystone Blood Center by going online to giveapint.org or by calling 800-B-A-DONOR (800-223-6667) to schedule an appointment.

Like David Caine and the many donors, you too can save a life.

Monocacy Farm Project

The Monocacy Farm Project is a not-for-profit community service initiative launched in 2013 by the School Sisters of Saint Francis.  The project is based on a ten-acre organic farm located on Bridle Path Road in Bethlehem, PA.  The mission of the farm project is to give local residents and “food-desert” populations access to affordable, chemical-free fruits and vegetables, to promote self-sufficiency among low-income families, and to provide on-going educational programs for children and adults on nutrition, organic gardening, healthy lifestyles and sustainability.  Caring for the earth and caring for the poor are integral parts of its mission.

Congregation Brith Sholom has joined hands with the School Sisters of Saint Francis to expand the farm and help work the fields.  We have a dedicated group of adults and children currently working on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM.  Please contact Rabbi Singer if you would like to find out more about this project.

Monocacy Farm Project

Petition against gun violence

In my sermon on Kol Nidre night, I encouraged you to sign a resolution which promotes handgun purchase licensing everywhere in America. The basic premise is to encourage our lawmakers to take reasonable steps to prevent gun violence and thereby save lives. The resolution can be found at www.taleoftwostates.com. The resolution asks which organization you represent; simply write the word “myself” in that field. I also mentioned that the Rabbinical Assembly & the United Synagogue joined many other religious organizations and groups in Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence. Their website is www.faithsagainstgunviolence.org.

–Rabbi Singer