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Chavurah: Providing Local Social Welfare Services

Congregation provides social welfare services to alleviate the devastating effects of poverty on the community.

Community Contact Information: 
Congregation NCI/Emanu-El 
Buenos Aires, Argentina 
kol_emanuel@iname.com

Goals:

  • Alleviate the effects of poverty on the community at large.
  • Provide necessary supplies and services to local families in need.
  • Create programming that involves members of the congregation in hands-on tikkun olamactivities.

Overview: 
In a country where 60% of citizens live in poverty, the congregation’s Chavurah effort provides social welfare services to congregants and the greater community. The project is spearheaded by a group of young adults who share a vision of not only tzedakah, but also of the synagogue as a safety net in a time of great crisis. 

Project Implementation: 
The group initially cared for twenty dispossessed families by providing food supplies, clothing, eyeglasses, medicine, and after school tutoring for children and teenagers. College students formed a group, Ani V’Atah, that lends support by volunteering at a local school. Congregational volunteers use their professional expertise to create a web of support to help others in their community. Congregant-led workshops to help unemployed congregants learn new trades. The rabbi helped congregants develop an income-producing taxi service, and organized a knitting program to produce blankets and clothes for the homeless. The congregation also provides Community Teas and cultural entertainment to nurture the spirits of their neighbors.. 
 

Results: 
The 120 volunteers now serve over 315 families. During a period of hardship, the congregation’s efforts shine because the congregants continue to work together as part of one vibrant Jewish community. This program received special recognition at the Fain Awards in 2003.