Taking Action: Direct Service
“You shall surely open your hand to your brother, to the poor and the needy in your land.” Deuteronomy 15:4-11
Three direct-service opportunities offer concrete ways to address the immediate needs and improve the lives of the people of New York City.
Homelessness and Hunger
We provide hospitality with dignity:
The B’nai Jeshurun/Church of St Paul and St Andrew Homeless Shelter
Co-Chairs: Dava Schub, Jim Melchiorre, and Elizabeth Weiss
Since 1985, the Homeless Shelter has reflected BJ’s commitment to the mitzvah of caring for the most vulnerable strangers in our midst. Sunday through Thursday, homeless guests come to us from the The Olivieri Drop in Center for Homeless Adults which is run by Urban Pathways and contracted by the City of New York. Volunteers provide fresh-cooked meals and supervise a warm and welcoming environment at our shelter.
The Judith Bernstein Lunch Program
Co-Chairs: Robin Tunick and Esta Rose
The Judith Bernstein Lunch Program is a wonderful, friendly, intergenerational effort serving a lunchtime meal to guests who may need a little extra food and companionship. We care for both body and soul by providing our guests with a meal in a comfortable and respectful atmosphere. This program operates at 88th Street on Thursdays, and all meals are cooked and served by volunteers.
Literacy in New York City Public Schools
We foster a love of reading and improve skills through one on one tutoring:
BJ Reads at P.S. 166
Co-Chairs: Ellen Schecter and Sandy Davidson
BJ Reads offers volunteers the opportunity to make a tangible difference in the lives of elementary school children by fostering a love of reading. Volunteer opportunities open up on Mondays and Wednesdays starting with the beginning of the school year.
We inspire environmentalism and sustainable living by strengthening and building upon our Jewish values:
Our concern for nature and for humanity are intertwined and our actions have a direct impact on our environment. We have the power to protect and maintain the physical world of which we are a part. Our Jewish tradition provides guidance on how we can be stewards of the earth with concepts like bal tashchit (do not waste) or sh’mitah , the sabbatical year in Jewish agriculture, which allows the earth to rest.
In the modern world, human actions have caused environmental instability and degradation. Deforestation, pollution of our water and air, and climate change are growing problems. Often our environmental impact has also had a detrimental impact our world communities. It is clear we need to strive to be better stewards of the earth and make our societies more sustainable.
BJ Hazorim Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)
Partner Farm: Free Bird Farm
This project is a partnership between city residents and a local farmer that allows city dwellers to enjoy fresh organic produce straight from the farm. When you become a member of a CSA, you’re purchasing a “share” of vegetables, eggs, or fruit from a regional farmer. Weekly, from June until November, your farmer will deliver that share of produce to a convenient drop-off location at B’nai Jeshurun. This enables the farmer to plan their season’s crops efficiently by planting a diversity of vegetables and harvesting without waste.
The BJ Hazorim CSA supports sustainable agriculture and small farms. The CSA offers provides the chance for members to volunteer, socialize at pick up, and learn more about the connection between our Judaism and food justice.