For further information on any events or programs or to suggest a new program,
contact one of our Social Action Chairs – Miriam Kluger, or Debbie or Jeff Stein.
Send us an EMail
Kol Haverim strives to be a vibrant, "Social Action" congregation with a focus on sharing time and resources with people in need in our community. The Committee also works to raise awareness about caring for the earth and other issues of Social Justice that impact us nationally and globally. Listed below are some of the ways that we contribute as a congregation. Please think about getting involved in a current activity, contacting us with a new idea to expand our efforts, or spearheading a new or existing project. New Social Action members are always welcome at our meetings. Some families participate in projects together and find this a very enriching experience. Tikkun Olam, healing the world, is the work of our entire Jewish community – be part of it.
High Holiday Food Drive
Each Yom Kippur, at a time when we purposely deprive ourselves of food, our congregation remembers the many people in our community who are deprived of food for financial reasons. We do this by holding a food drive for our hungry neighbors. This "Food for Families" is distributed through Foodshare, our region’s food bank. Congregants have donated nearly one ton of food annually to Foodshare for people in the Greater Hartford Area. If you are interested in helping to coordinate this food drive next year, contact the Social Action Chairs. The project is easy to organize, and the tangible results are immensely rewarding.
Over the past few years, Kol Haverim has provided the ingredients for preparing traditional Thanksgiving Dinners to 100 families of Dwight Elementary School in Hartford. These families benefit from the extra help at holiday time. From turkeys to stuffing to dessert, children of our Religious School as well as many other members gather the ingredients for complete Thanksgiving meals. Participation in this special annual event ranges from shopping for particular food items, making a financial donation, working the ‘assembly line’ on the morning of delivery, to driving to the school and lining up the bags in the school office in preparation for pickup the following morning. Any level of help is encouraged!
Christmas Day Volunteering
Over the years, our congregants have shared their time to help make the Christmas holiday brighter for our neighbors in Glastonbury and Hartford, by volunteering at nursing homes, delivering meals in Hartford through the Salvation Army, and providing food and entertainment at the Naubuc Green in Glastonbury. In 2008, a group of adult, teen and canine volunteers visited residents of Glastonbury Health Care. Anyone wishing to lead or be part of a Christmas Day activity is encouraged to contact Social Action.
Habitat for Humanity (Habitat Haverim)
Habitat for Humanity builds affordable houses for low income families in need of simple, decent housing. Habitat families must meet qualifications including putting "sweat equity" work into their homes. Much of the remaining labor is provided by volunteers. Habitat Haverim was founded in 1994 as a joint project of the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford and Hartford Area Habitat for Humanity, working with local Jewish congregations and agencies to assist in Habitat’s building projects. Volunteers of all skill levels are needed and even those with no prior building experience are encouraged to participate. The minimum age for volunteering on a job site is 16. Social Action coordinates build dates with Habitat so that Kol Haverim members can work together on a build. If you are interested, please provide your name to Social Action so that you may be contacted when a build date is announced.
Join us in the kitchen, where the Jewish joy of sharing food with others abounds. Try it, you'll like it! On the first Friday of each month, help prepare and serve food at either Loaves & Fishes or South Park Inn, which are both community kitchens in Hartford. Our biggest need for volunteers is at Loaves & Fishes, where we need about 8 people, age 16 and above, to cook and serve between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. We also need helpers at South Park Inn at 3:30 p.m. And what's a meal without dessert? Any time you want to bake or have leftovers from a party, please bring them to the synagogue freezer and mark them for the Soup Kitchen. Your sweetness will be greatly appreciated.
Mitzvah May is a congregation-wide service month where synagogue committees, Religious School students, youth group members and others take action to make the world a better place. Some mitzvot in the past have included the Walk Against Hunger and concerts for the residents of the neighboring nursing home. Committees have collected books for Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, and our Board of Trustees collected materials for street children enrolled in a school in Calcutta, India. Congregants can be as creative as they wish in developing projects for Mitzvah May. The Social Action/Social Justice Committee will help to publicize projects and seek volunteers.
Walk Against Hunger
Can you "Walk the Walk?" The Walk Against Hunger is Foodshare's biggest fundraiser of the year. It takes place in Hartford on the first Sunday in May. Over 3,000 walkers raise money to help Foodshare, the regional food bank for Hartford and Tolland counties, and its supporting agencies. Foodshare distributes food to over 230 agencies such as community kitchens, food pantries, and emergency shelters in our area. They help feed over 100,000 people each year, 43,000 of whom are children. It's guaranteed to be a beautiful day for a walk, so start talking the talk about the Walk with your family and friends. We're also looking for someone to help generate interest among congregants for this important event, which is part of our Mitzvah May activities.
Dwight Elementary School in Hartford
Our congregation has forged a partnership with Dwight Elementary School in Hartford, where many children of immigrant families from Eastern Europe and around the globe attend school. Over the years, we have provided the students with new and gently used clothing for school uniforms, held a Mitten and Hat drive, and improved the environment outside the school to make it a more welcoming place to greet students. In 2008, we began a project called ‘I Love to Read’ to collect money for new books to be purchased for Dwight students attending summer school. The books were selected by the Dwight staff according to the interests and reading levels of the students. Project Thanksgiving described above benefits many of the Dwight families.
Red Cross Blood Drive
Each November and June, we help the Red Cross as a Blood Drive location. We would like to increase our presence in this life-giving mitzvah by also offering more congregant donors and volunteers to provide food and beverages for donors. Contact us if you would like to help increase our participation.
Global Warming and Environmental Issues
The Social Action/Social Justice Committee offers educational programs and provides information to congregants on global warming, energy conservation, clean and renewable energy, care of the earth and environmental peacemaking. Recent events have included showings of “Kilowatt Ours” and “An Inconvenient Truth,” a sale of compact fluorescent light bulbs, and a lecture by Friends of the Earth Middle East. Some programs are provided in collaboration with Gaining a Greener Glastonbury, an interfaith environmental action and awareness group, and the Interreligious Eco-Justice Network, Connecticut’s Interfaith Power and Light.