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Overall Social Action Program

The congregation developed an overall social action program where the values of social justice were included in worship, study, communal activities, and board discussions. From these discussions, they devloped a comprehensive social action program that involved hundreds of congregants during the year.

Congregation M’kor Shalom
850 Evesham Road
Cherry Hill, New Jersey 08003
(856) 424-4220
www.mkorshalom.org

Target Groups: Multi-generational Social Action Program, Adults

Congregation M’kor Shalom is receiving the Fain Social Action Award for their remarkable ongoing, overall Social Action Program. Over the past five years, the goal of the Social Action Committee at M’kor Shalom has been to transform itself from a small band of committed volunteers into the mid-wives of a Social Action congregation. The dream was of a congregation which integrated the values of social justice into its worship, study, communal activities and board discussions. To that end, the committee we developed an extremely dynamic, comprehensive social action program that involves hundreds of congregant families throughout the year.

M’kor Shalom is located in a relatively affluent suburban community. Less than ten miles away, however, is Camden, New Jersey, the 5th poorest city in the country, where there are many living without the essentials of life. Much of the congregation’s social action program involves partnerships with organizations in Camden that are serving the poor, homeless and hungry population of that city.

Such programs include:

  • Interfaith Homeless Outreach Council (IHOC): For two weeds every winter, M’kor Shalom houses up to 12 homeless men in their Social Hall, providing not only food and shelter, but also fellowship and support. The congregation participates in IHOC’s Adopt-a-Box program in which we collect shoeboxes of toiletries to deliver to homeless shelters in the area.
  • Leavenhouse Soup Kitchen: Twice a month, about 30 adults and children gather in the M’kor Shalom kitchen to cook a nutritious meal for about 250 people.
  • Habitat for Humanity: M’kor Shalom has been working closely to rehabilitate abandoned homes with the Metropolitan Camden habitat for Humanity (MCHH) for over 6 years. Over 200 congregants have been involved in building projects. M’kor Shalom’s latest effort is to spearhead a Jewish community-wide effort to sponsor a Habitat for Humanity home in Camden, called “Shalom House.” Sponsoring a HFH home involves raising the funds to build a house and providing the volunteer labor necessary to complete the construction of a house. It also means providing the volunteer labor necessary to complete the construction of a house. It also means providing educational experiences for adults and children to learn about poverty and homelessness in Camden, as well as building relationships between Jewish and non-Jewish faith-based organizations. -- With Habitat families, the “Shalom House” project hopes to expose people to the true struggles and character of our inner city neighbors in Camden.
  • Tzedakah Garden-In the winter of 2000, the committee created a tzedakah garden that transform an unused plot of land in the synagogue’s back yard to a thriving garden that would produce vegetables to donate to Leavenhouse Soup Kitchen and the local food bank.
  • Interfaith Partnership in Cramer Hill, Camden-About four years ago, M’kor Shalom entered into partnership with a group of churches in the Cramer Hill section of Camden. The congregations have shared services on Thanksgiving and Martin Luther King Day, three Passover seders, and the choir concert and neighborhood clean-up day.