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Miracle Menorah

Miracle Menorah provides gifts to women, children and families during the holiday season.

Community Contact Information:
Temple Shaari Emeth
Manalapan, NJ
http://www.shaariemeth.org

Goals:

  • To engage the congregation in fulfilling the mitzvah of tzedakah
  • To model the Jewish values of social action and g'milut chasadim for synagogue children
  • To work in cooperation with other community groups

Preparation:
In early November, social action committee volunteers send emails to the representatives of various community organizations, asking for lists of children and families in need of gifts. Once the names and any additional information such as age or special requests are received, the information is put onto tags and hug on the Miracle Menorah, which is placed in the synagogue lobby.

Announcements for the Miracle Menorah project were made at Shabbat services and included in the synagogue email and print newsletters.

Project Implementation:
In November, a menorah board is erected in the synagogue lobby and paper tags with the names and ages of the intended gift recipients are placed on the board. From the first day that the menorah is placed in the lobby, congregants come by and remove one, two or more tags. Soon after, bags begin arriving at the synagogue, filled with holiday gifts for the recipients. Social action committee volunteers continue to correspond with the various community organizations to add names to the menorah board.

As the gifts are brought to the synagogue, the Miracle Menorah volunteers keep track of the gifts and coordinate with the organizations for pick up.

Results:
The Miracle Menorah project has become such an integral part of the congregational life that one member constucted a permanent wood menorah-shaped structure to be used every year. The program has also expanded to collect general winter clothes items (hats, gloves, scarves, etc.) for the homeless men who participate in the synagogue's winter shelter program, coordinated in conjunction with a local interfaith clergy association.