A mitzvah is a primary Jewish action, deeds that stem from our tradition of responsibility and stewardship for the world around us. At Temple Shir Tikva, we aim to create a community of "Mitzvah doers" and encourage our congregation to participate in performing Mitzvot that can be done across generations, enabling grandparents, parents and children to engage in projects together.
Some of our projects educate and engage the congregation in issues of social justice. Others organize congregational action around community tzedakah, including food and clothing drives for local food banks and shelters, bone marrow and blood drives to help fight disease and reaching out to the sick and elderly in our towns.
Social Action Programs
High Holy Days Food Drive
Every year during the High Holy Days, Temple Shir Tikva collects food items to benefit the Boston Medical Center's Grow Clinic and the Metrowest Harvest Food Pantry. Paper bags with a list of items needed are in the temple lobby during Rosh HaShanah. Filled bags are brought to a truck in the temple parking lot from Rosh HaShanah through Yom Kippur.
Fall Coat Drive
In late fall, Temple Shir Tikva runs a successful coat drive, donating over 400 coats each season! Bring any clean coat in good condition to the temple collection point. Volunteers help to organize and distribute coats to needy families in the Metrowest area.
Holiday Cheer Project
During late October and the month of November, Temple Shir Tikva distributes holiday wish lists from children who live in shelters in the Metrowest area. Families sign up to sponsor one or more children and are asked to purchase three items from the wish list of each child sponsored. Gift certificates are welcome, too.
Mitzvah Day is an opportunity for all ages to experience the power and value of personal contributions to repair the world by accomplishing a number of important and varied social action projects. Mitzvah projects are planned to relate to TEKIAH, a group of critical social action initiatives identified by the congregation. These initiatives are concern for the environment, our health, seniors and children, particularly seniors and children at risk. In the past, projects have included packing food at the Boston Food Bank, youth choir concerts for seniors, a bone marrow registry and planting a vegetable garden to harvest food for the hungry. See Mitzvah Day pictures in our Photo Galleries.
Neighbor-to-Neighbor brings together women from Temple Shir Tikva and women from the neighboring Islamic Center of Boston. By coming together, we develop community, learn from one another and build relationships that help to break down misconceptions and stereotypes.
Yad B’Yad (Hand to Hand)
Temple Shir Tikva collects food throughout the year for Jewish individuals and families who cannot afford the basic necessities. Food is distributed through Jewish Family & Children's Services (JF&CS) Family Table. Temple Shir Tikva has been assigned tuna fish and whole grain pasta marked Kosher or Pareve to support this program. Items are placed in the Family Table receptacle near the temple office. Monthly volunteers deliver the temple's contributions to JF&CS in Waltham.
Just outside the temple's back door we grow about 150 pounds of fresh produce to donate to Serenity House women's shelter. Green City Growers provides us with professional assistance and answers all our gardening questions. We hope our gardening community will grow - parents, kids, everyone can help! Learn how to grow-your-own while giving back to the community. No experience is needed. During the growing season of planting, weeding, feeding and picking we generally meet every other week for about an hour. Check the temple calendar on the website for meeting times or contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Garden progress is tracked throughout the summer with an on line "diary."
Temple Shir Tikva is a member of MICAH (The Metropolitan Interfaith Congregations Acting for Hope) which was formed in 2004 by Catholic, Protestant, Unitarian and Jewish congregations from the region between Route 128 and 495. The organization works with these congregations to develop leadership teams called Local Organizing Committees. These committees conduct listening campaigns within the congregations to find issues of common concern. MICAH then takes action in the community with the congregations on these identified issues. The organization is funded by membership dues and grants from foundations and religious denominations. The acronym of the organization represents the Biblical prophet Micah who answered the question, "what does the Lord require of you?" with this answer, "to do justice." The prophet's words inspire and challenge the organization to continue to fight for justice.
The Pearl Street Cupboard and Café
Temple Shir Tikva is working ‘from the ground up” with the Pearl Street Cupoard, a brand new food pantry in Framingham. The Cupboard and Cafe plans to be a "comprehensive service center" that provides a food pantry, weekly dinners, children's clothing and books along with educational and social services to low-income individuals and families living in the Framingham area. Shir Tikva sponsors meals, delivers food, and provides personal care products. Contact Wendy Mishara or Doug Dolgov for more information.
J-Choice is a website that combines Jewish values and technology to encourage teens and young adults to participate in tzedakah. It offers a safe on-line forum connecting peers with common interests and mitzvah projects. J-Choice provides tzedakah-related educational programming and gives members a charitable giving account, encouraging consistent tzedakah donations, while affirming the belief that an individual can make a difference in the world. For more information contact Amanda Glynn.