Gemilut Chasadim

Gemilut Hasadim, is the act of giving loving-kindness, a mitzvah that is completed without the anticipation of receiving something in return. Or Zarua members contribute to our community in many of the following ways.

Tikkun Olam/Gemilut Hasadim

Acts of justice and kindness

Interfaith Networks: There are opportunities to work with the local interfaith community to actively take part in activities focusing on the lives of minority groups that endure prejudice and also to ensure that minority groups have opportunities to flourish in our local schools and the broader community. In particular, OZ has a special relationship with BETHEL AME Church of Ardmore, joining with them to feed, cloth and vaccinate those in need. Oz also co-sponsors a monthly Interfaith sing with Old Haverford Friends.

HIAS: Or Zarua has been a Synagogue Group in the HIAS (Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society) Philly Neighbor program helping a refugee family acclimate to living here and now with so many Afghan and Haitian refugees coming to Philadelphia, there is a need to help set up their residences, drive them to appointments, tutor ESL and provide supplies. There also is the opportunity for individuals or our group to act as "Supporters" for refugees who want to enter the United States.

The OZ Anti-Racism Discussion and Action Group: Meeting monthly, this group discusses books, films, articles, and videos and hosts guest speakers on topics related to anti-racism in an effort to educate ourselves on the history and current state of systemic racism in the United States, and to examine how systemic racism has influenced our beliefs and behavior. The group proposes action items for individuals or the group as a whole on how to be an ally and anti-racist and to get involved and volunteer in our community.

Gemilut Hasadim, is the act of giving loving-kindness, a mitzvah that is completed without the anticipation of receiving something in return. There are many ways of doing Gemilut Hasadim including providing food for others who are going through a challenging time. Our recipients consistently say that they appreciate the loving kindness of a home-cooked meal, rather than folks just ordering in a meal from a restaurant. Often, we piece together food from several congregants to provide a balanced meal for the family. The Talmud teaches that to accept a gift graciously is a higher mitzvah than to give a gift. We encourage our congregants who receive Gemilut Hasadim to graciously honoring the giver with a simple thank you and perhaps paying it forward at another time, by helping someone else.

There are several ways to participate in the Or Zarua Gemilut Hasadim program:

  • Generally, we have a request for 1 or 2 meals and . We have found that it is easier to put together a combination of fresh homemade food and food from the freezer. We are always looking for soup, entrées, side dishes, and desserts that can be frozen for future use. Our inventory is always changing so let us know before you cook.

  • Sometimes we set up more traditional meal trains, where we set up a calendar and ask volunteers to prepare a full meal on a given day

Project Home: donate toiletries, socks and underwear to Hub of Hope, a facility at Suburban Station, providing services to Philadelphia’s homeless

JFCS: Shabbat food prep for delivery to those in need.