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Tikkun Olam Programs

Tikkun Olam During COVID-19

The need for donations and active volunteers is great.  Here are just a few thoughts:

  • Support Africano Waltham by donating food, household supplies, gift cards, or money to support a Ugandan immigrant community struggling in the pandemic. Learn More Here.

  • The Outdoor Church, a project to feed homeless people in Central Square and Harvard Square, is asking for volunteers to make sandwiches to hand out on Tuesday evenings. The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted Massachusetts' homeless particularly hard and more people are experiencing food insecurity.

    We are committed to bringing 50 sandwiches per volunteer day. If you are able to make sandwiches at home, a volunteer from the First Congregation Church in Winchester will arrange contactless pick up and deliver the sandwiches to Cambridge. You can sign up through Sign Up Genius here.

  • Join GBIO (Greater Boston Interfaith Organization) to end police brutality and fix healthcare in Massachusetts.

  • Add rice and beans to your shopping list. Waltham is home to a significant community of African immigrants that is under severe stress.  Many are nursing assistants who are on the frontline of long-term care, small business owners whose businesses are closed, and Uber/Lyft drivers now out of work. Temple member Joan Atlas has arranged occasional deliveries of produce from FoodLink in Arlington, but we can do more.  Please add a couple of easy items to your next shopping trip from this list to help out:  beans, white rice, onions, potatoes, tuna, toilet paper,  or ginger. For delivery instructions, please contact Steve McHugh or Joan Atlas.  Bring some extra paper bags since they need them for the deliveries.

  • Emergency funds for people returning from incarceration: At February’s Tikkun Olam shabbat, we heard about the challenges men and women face who are returning to their communities after incarceration.  Now it is even tougher.  How do you get a job when you have no computer or cell phone for a virtual interview? Where do you find support when all of the usual meeting places (libraries, coffee shops, etc) are closed?  Can’t get a place to live without a deposit... THRIVE Communities has established a $100 emergency fund for each returning citizen they work with.  Learn more here.

  • Food pantries need help packing food for home delivery.  ArlingtonEats says their demand is up 25% over last year.  They will welcome volunteers to unload trucks and pack meals.  You can learn about food resources in your community through the Greater Boston Food Bank.

  • Support JF&CS Family Table by arranging grocery donations through their Amazon Wish List.

  • Send Notes of Encouragement to staff and residents of Hebrew SeniorLife.  Learn more here.

  • Blood donations are way down.  If you missed the drive at the Ambrose School in March, you can still donate safely through MGH.

  • Jewish Community Relations Council has compiled a list of about a dozen possible actions. The list covers a variety of options but changes as their service partners’ needs evolve.

We did it! 100 Stuffed Owls

We sewed 100 stuffed owls to send to Humanity Rises, which serves Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh. The owls will be delivered to children living in a refugee center there. We did it through the Sewing and Service project, which "designs and makes stuffed animals to send to children in desperate need of empathy and love," led by sisters (and Shir Tikvah members) Sophie and Annette Pinstein.



Temple Shir Tikvah’s Ongoing Tikkun Olam Projects

For  more information about all projects, contact

  • The Dwelling Place Soup Kitchen - Volunteer at a soup kitchen located at the United Methodist Church in Woburn. Volunteers from Shir Tikvah serve meals the first Wednesday of every month at 5:15pm. Children with parents are welcome. This is part of TST’s Learning Corps program.

  • Family Table - Donate boxes of raisins and whole-grain crackers to Family Table, the largest kosher food pantry in New England. Shir Tikvah provides year-round support to Family Table, and seeks donations on an ongoing basis. Family Table provides healthy food on a monthly and emergency basis to people in need and serves more than 100 towns and 400 families each month. Volunteer needs: donations and drivers.

  • Food Link, Arlington - a food rescue nonprofit that contracts with local groceries and restaurants to rescue nutritious food and deliver it to social service agencies, afterschool programs, low-income housing, and senior centers. Volunteers are needed several Sundays each year for an afternoon of service at Food Link’s Arlington facility. Volunteers sort food, remove food from packages for composting, and sweep and clean the facility.

  • Greater Boston Jewish Coalition for Literacy (GBJCL) - Become a literacy tutor in an under-resourced K-8 school in East Somerville. Literacy tutors must be commitment starting in mid-October. Tutors are partnered with individual students for two consecutive one-to-one, forty-minute sessions. Volunteers are also needed for before school homework help. GBJCL requires that volunteer tutors complete a one-time, 2 to 3 hour training. Beyond that, all you need is an appreciation for children’s learning and a joy of reading.

  • Habitat for Humanity - Join a building work crew once a month, from 8:30am-3:30pm. No particular skills are required to participate, but you must be 16 or older to be on the worksite. We usually eat out for lunch, but lots of folks bring lunch and eat on site. Location may change each month: Contact Annie LaCourt to confirm address.

  • Red Cross Blood Drives - The temple hosts 1 or 2 Red Cross blood drives each year. Volunteers are needed to coordinate and promote the drive within the temple, staff the registration tables, and hand out snacks and drinks to blood donors. We are seeking a volunteer to coordinate our next drive.

  • Sewing to Change Lives/Days for Girls - Days for Girls aims to create a more dignified free and educated world through access to lasting feminine hygiene solutions. Volunteers cut fabric and sew kits of sanitary supplies to donate to girls in need around the world.  Patterns and instructions provided.

  • Somerville Homeless Coalition - SHC is an adult shelter in Somerville. Volunteers are needed the second Sunday of every month, from 4:30 to 5:30pm. You can prepare part of a meal at your home, or deliver meals prepared by other TST members to the shelter. There is no regular commitment required. You will receive an email monthly and can sign up at your convenience. Drop-off location is the Ambrose School, 27 High Street, Winchester, at 4:30pm.

  • Project Ezra - Each year on Christmas Eve, Temple Shir Tikvah partners with Temple Isaiah of Lexington to prepare and deliver meals to elderly residents and families in Arlington, Bedford, and Lexington. Jobs include meal preparation, decorating delivery bags, packing food, making deliveries, and more.

Resources: "In Search of Shelter and Financial Security"

On February 8, 2019, the Tikkun Olam committee hosted a social justice-themed Shabbat dinner, "In Search of Shelter and Financial Security." Our member panelists Joanna Ain, Bekka Lane, and Marc Dohan have suggested numerous resources and volunteer opportunities. We hope you will continue to explore these topics!


Shir Tzedek Social Justice

Mission: to identify social justice issues that are important to the congregation and organize the congregation to act on these issues in the public arena, independently and as part of larger coalitions.

To get involved with any of these projects, please contact the Shir Tzedek committee.

Current Projects:

  • Since 2005, we've been active members of the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization (GBIO), a coalition of religious congregations and other groups working towards progressive public policy on issues such as housing, health care cost reform, and criminal justice reform.

  • Fight Intolerance Promote Unity (FIPU) is an initiative we launched in January of 2017 in response to our congregants’ desire for a way to get involved and respond to the current climate of intolerance and exclusion. There are five action groups:

    • Bystander Training - temple members train community groups to respond to hate incidents.

    • Welcoming the Stranger - immigrant and refugee support activities.

    • Intercultural Working Group – plans activities with our Muslim neighbors.

    • Racial Justice – educates our congregation about the history of racial injustice in our country and about local events related to this theme.

    • Save our Democracy - focuses on issues related to electoral corruption and injustice.

  • We are members of the Jewish Climate Action Network (JCAN). Their mission is to mobilize communities to take leadership in bold climate campaigns through education and reducing carbon footprint.

Notes from the Community

  • Read a thank you note from Habitat for Humanity commemorating Shir Tikvah's contribution

  • Read a  letter of solidarity from St. Eulalia Parish in Winchester, signed by hundreds in their community, following the October 27 attack at Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh.

Wed, April 21 2021 9 Iyar 5781