"Seek peace and pursue it". These words from the Torah stand on our sanctuary wall, and they live and breathe inside our community. Beth David provides many avenues for volunteers to contribute energy, talents, and resources to help those in need, and thereby "repair the world", tikkun olam.
The Social Action committee organizes much of Beth David's work. Our auxiliary groups — Beth David Men, Women of Reform Judaism (WRJ), and Beth David Youth Group (BethDY) — and the Religious School all select and carry out their own social action activities as well. Groups work together, making our programs that much more successful and strengthening our community ties.
This hard-working group guides and coordinates many of Beth David's social action endeavors. Some projects are ongoing, such as collecting food at High Holidays and year-round for the Mitzvah Pantry. Others change from year to year, responding to need and reflecting the interests and passions of the committee members. Any member willing to suggest and spearhead a project will find him- or herself supported in doing so.
Several times throughout the year, the Aid for Friends Sub-Committee hosts a Cook-in. Congregants of all ages, including many children, come together at Beth David to prepare and freeze 500 meals, assembly-line style, to benefit Aid for Friends. This organization delivers heat-and-serve meals to elderly shut-ins, who would otherwise have very limited access to hot, healthy foods.
Every year since the 1980s, Beth David hosts a special service, Shabbat Lehiyot, dedicated to the disabled population in Lower Merion and beyond. The service serves dual purposes: giving disabled men and women the honor of coming up to the Bimah (pulpit) to participate in the service, and showing appreciation for the family members, social workers, and others who spend their time caring for the disabled. This moving service brings Beth David together with Jews and non-Jews from a number of local organizations, including JFCS (Jewish Family and Children's Service Network), JCHAI (Judith Creed Homes for Adult Independence), ADD (Adults with Developmental Disabilities), Inglis House, and TIKVAH (Advocates for Jewish People with Mental Disabilities). For more information contact Elaine Ecker or Miriam Barsky.
At Beth David we are fortunate to have a group of volunteers willing to provide meals, rides, and other assistance to members in need. We are also fortunate that we don't need their services very often! This work allows volunteers to provide tikkun olam at home, at Beth David, as well as for those outside our community. The committee falls under the supervision of the Women of Reform Judaism, WRJ.