UJA-Federation of New York is providing $125,000 in grants to support 35 local community service projects involving more than 100 organizations throughout the five boroughs, Long Island, and Westchester for Jewish Social Action Month (JSAM). JSAM transforms the Jewish month of Cheshvan into a month-long global volunteer opportunity. This year, JSAM runs Saturday, October 25 through Saturday, November 22, 2014.
The grants fund projects at a variety of agencies, including Jewish community centers, Hillels, human-service agencies, synagogues, and day schools. Projects focus on: domestic violence, hunger and poverty, LGBTQ inclusion, the elderly, children with special needs, community restoration and beautification, and more.
Social action projects include:
- In Manhattan – domestic violence awareness. Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty (Met Council) will educate volunteers about domestic violence using videos and personal accounts of victims, and provide a space for open and honest communication about the challenges girls face worldwide. Volunteers will assemble 500 kits with lipstick tubes with information on domestic violence services available at Met Council hidden discreetly inside, purple awareness ribbon pins, and purple candy to be distributed on heavily-trafficked streets of Manhattan.
- On Long Island – bridging the gap to end hatred. The JCC of the Greater Five Towns partners teens with Holocaust survivors for discussions about the negative effects of bullying, aggression, and intimidation of individuals and groups of people who are targets of hostility and intolerance. The material collected from the conversations will later be used to create a script for a video presentation as well as curriculum material for public schools, synagogue Hebrew schools, and local yeshiva day schools. The goal is to generate discussions and promote tolerance and good will among people of multiple ages, religious backgrounds, and experiences.
- In Westchester – bridging the generation gap. Teens from Temple Shaarai Tikvah and the Pelham Jewish Center will interview seniors and create videos about their lives to be uploaded to YouTube. The teens will also teach seniors how to use iPads. The project’s aim is for teens to build meaningful relationships with seniors and learn the important Jewish value of respecting the elderly.
For more information about JSAM and how to volunteer, please visit www.ujafedny.org/get-involved/volunteer-services/jewish-social-action-month/