Temple Beth Ami
800 Hurley Avenue
Rockville, MD 20850-3000
Target Groups: Multi-Generational Social Action Program
Since Temple Beth Ami's "To Bring About" social action recruitment program was introduced, over 400 families have signed up to participate in one or more community service projects. A brochure sent to congregants explains how people can get involved and explains the many programs, covering a broad range of social issues, for which congregants can volunteer. Because "To Bring About" enables those interested to sign up one program at a time and offers several different ways to make a difference in the community, many people who do not customarily volunteer their time became involved in the program.
Each project has a component explaining to the volunteer why, according to Jewish law, the issue merits the time and concern of the Jew. Thus, the projects not only served the community, but enabled the congregation to become more familiar with Jewish teaching and Jewish tradition.
Among the 29 ongoing projects are a cleanup of Seneca State Park, "gleaning" of remaining fruits and vegetables from an orchard for delivery to soup kitchens and shelters, volunteering at a food bank, renovating low-income housing with a community group, visiting the elderly at Hebrew Home, and job-training for newly arrived immigrants.
The impact of each project on the community varied, depending on the type of program. All of the projects, though, served to make Temple members more responsive to the needs of the community and to make the Temple more of a part of the community.