Holding Up & Onto One Another: TJ's Caring Community

    01.16.24 | Stories, Articles

    “The beginning and end of Torah is performing acts of loving kindness”
    -The Talmud

    In our close-knit community, we show up for one another – for both the oys and the joys! Nowhere is this more true than with Temple Judea’s Caring Community –  a group of compassionate volunteers whose main purpose is to support their fellow members through the twists of life's journey, one act of loving kindness at a time. The Caring Community is a labor of love, dedicated to building the TJ community at every turn. Each activity and program they undertake is focused on how congregants can hold each other up through life's journey.  

    In moments of loss, battling illness, or celebrating the joyous arrival of a new baby, Caring Community volunteers reach out with a warm, loving touch. Neil Rotter ensures that Mitzvah Meals provide nourishing food for those overwhelmed or in need. Sandy Baral organizes delivery of bikkur cholim wellness bags, and Samantha Bothast coordinates Caring Community's "Words of Comfort '' bereavement baskets and "Mazal tov" new baby baskets. These programs provide essential items, spiritual reflection, and uniquely Jewish comforts to lift up our members.

    But Caring Community is about more than just baskets-- it's also about providing human connection. Teri Curtis has provided hand-written tribute acknowledgements, to let our members know that they belong to a Jewish community that genuinely cares. Caring Community’s Shabbat Greeters and Caring Callers, led by Marlyn Burleigh, welcome you to services each Friday night with a hearty "Shabbat Shalom!" and offer words of condolence or celebration along the course of life. Plus, three years ago, in honor of their founder Judy Scharff, z"l, Ilene Blok began administering the Judy Scharff Memorial Scholarship for graduating Temple Judea High School seniors intent on pursuing a career in a "helping" field. This ongoing program tells our Temple Judea youth that we care about them and appreciate their efforts to care for others as well!

    So, we're thrilled to announce that Caring Community is adding a new way to build congregant-to-congregant connection and support in 2024: Jewish Baking classes! In these intimate classes, taught by Ilene Blok and Linda Zimring, participants will experience Jewish baking traditions passed member to member, including how to bake challah, specialty challah, Mandelbrot, bagels, and babkas! The first class on bagel making will be Thursday, February 15 @ 10am.  Click here to learn more about how to reserve your spot as space is limited. More classes are coming soon, and we'll continue to share dates in the Judean as they're announced.    

    None of this would be possible without the amazing volunteers at the heart of the Caring Community, and they are always looking for more TJ members to join them. There's no mandatory commitment; contribute as much or as little as you're able. Every act of kindness, big or small, makes a meaningful impact through personal connection. If you, a family member, or a friend could benefit from some care, or if you’d like to volunteer with the Caring Community, please reach out by email to  . Together, let's ensure that we continue to embrace each other with uplifting mitzvot that strengthen and nurture our connections to one another and to Temple Judea.

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