Beth Shalom has been awarded the 2019 Solomon Schechter Award by the United Synagogue for Conservative Judaism for its work on the Courageous Conversations program!
“THIS is my chosen fast: to loosen all the bonds that bind us unfairly…Share your bread with the hungry, take the homeless into your home…do not turn away from people in need…if you put yourself out for the hungry and relieve the wretched, then shall your light shine in the darkness…The Lord will guide you continually. God will refresh you in dry places, renewing your strength.”
Isaiah says it loud and clear: as Jews we are called to perform tzedekah and deeds of loving kindness. Bring your energy to one of Beth Shalom’s current social action activities. It’s more fun in a group! Most of these activities require only a few hours, some less than that. Find an activity and contact the lead person or the office to participate. If there is an area of social action that you would like to see Beth Shalom involved in, contact the office.
Cold weather shelter: One week a year, Beth Shalom partners with Kittamaqundi Church to provide a safe place for the local homeless community. Our contributions include making dinners and lunches, driving guests, doing laundry, helping with overnight stays, and providing entertainment. This program is scheduled for March 8-15, 2021.
Courageous Conversations: With sponsorship by Howard County synagogues, churches, mosques, and other faith-based organizations, Courageous Conversations brings people of different races, religions and ethnic groups together to talk about difficult topics. Discussion groups are led by trained facilitators. Participants have an opportunity to speak to be understood and listen to understand, with respect for each other even when we don’t agree. All conversations are confidential. The upcoming program, in spring 2020, will be the third year for this program. There will be opportunities to train as a facilitator to lead discussion groups as well as to join as a participant. Facilitator training dates to be determined. For more information contact Alan Seidman. Learn more about the program at https://www.hococourageousconversations.com/.
Elizabeth House: This food pantry in Laurel provides no-questions-asked dinners and takeaway lunches 365 days a year. (See http://www.fishoflaurel.org/.) Beth Shalom helps to serve dinner on the 5th Thursday of the month and has also helped out on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. The scheduled dates for 2020-2021 are October 29 and December 31, 2020, and March 31 and April 29, 2021.
Road Clean-up: Each Spring we pick up trash along Harriet Tubman Lane from Beth Shalom to Cedar Lane. For more information, please contact Abby Glassberg.
Prison program: Beth Shalom congregants lead a Jewish discussion group with Jewish inmates at the Maryland Correctional Institution for Women in Jessup. This program is held the first Thursday of every month. For more information, please contact Abby Glassberg or Becky Lessey.
PATH: People Acting Together in Howard: This county organization’s projects include: get out the vote, transportation issues, repealing the mobile home tax, and immigration. For more information, please contact Becca Niburg and Nancy Schweiss.
Voter Education: Distributed information about election deadlines and mail-in balloting to the Beth Shalom community.
Freedom Seder: The first Freedom Seder was held in 1968, when the Jewish and African-American communities started a new tradition in the wake of the MLK shooting. Beth Shalom will continue this tradition, inviting some local African-American organizations to join us for a seder led by Rabbi Grossman in the week before the start of the holiday.