SOURCE: UJA-Federation of New York

UJA-Federation of New York

October 17, 2012 10:18 ET

UJA-Federation of New York Enlists Diverse Jewish Communities for Month of Volunteerism

Commencing Its Seventh Year, UJA-Federation Supports Jewish Social Action Month With $130,000 in Microgrants to Build Communal Relationships and Care for People in Need

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - Oct 17, 2012) -  UJA-Federation of New York is supporting Jewish Social Action Month (JSAM), which transforms the Jewish month of Cheshvan, a month without Jewish holidays, into a global month celebrating volunteerism and community building. Jewish Social Action Month takes place from October 17 to November 14, 2012.

UJA-Federation's support for JSAM helps people from different backgrounds to work together in community-based social action projects that aims to make life better for thousands more individuals and families. In 2012, 34 community service projects throughout New York City, Long Island, and Westchester, each including a strong Jewish education component, a volunteer opportunity, and collaboration among multiple community groups, will be offered for those who wish to participate.

"Through Jewish Social Action Month, we are helping to bridge the gap between people of diverse social and geographical backgrounds who might not have otherwise come together for a single cause," said Neil Steinberg, JSAM's Chair. "We wish to not only have an impact on those who will benefit from the various JSAM activities, but also on those who volunteer their time. The new and strengthened connections between the communities collaborating on these programs will encourage deeper working relationships, strengthen our ability to help people in need, and highlight the core Jewish value of creating a better world."

The 34 grants, distributed through UJA-Federation's Commission on the Jewish People, fund projects at community centers, Hillels, human-service agencies, synagogues, and day schools. People from various backgrounds are brought together to volunteer in a wide range of projects dealing with bullying; the environment; poverty and low-income populations; the elderly; the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community; children with disabilities, hunger; recycling; and health and wellness education.

Volunteer opportunities include:

  • In Manhattan, Nehirim and Congregation Beth Simchat Torah will tackle the subject of LGBT youth homelessness through education and action. Volunteers will first learn about the Jewish perspectives on homelessness and charity. Afterwards, the volunteers will prepare gift packages for LGBT homeless youth and deliver them to the Ali Forney Center, a unique center for homeless LGBT youth. They will also hear how to become more involved as a Center volunteer and learn about the skills needed to be a counselor by phone or in person.

  • In Long Island, the North Shore Jewish Center will host an anti-bullying workshop for volunteers. Bullying continues to be a serious problem among youth, and during this event, participants will learn, through conversation and demonstration, how to overcome inaction when they see something critical occurring.

  • In Westchester, Westhab Inc., in partnership with Westchester Jewish Community Services and several volunteer groups, will begin a volunteer project to transform a vacant lot in the distressed Nodine Hill neighborhood into a beautiful respite area for parents and their children. The minipark will include two park benches and a sign welcoming residents into the Nodine Hill community, as well as perennial plantings, decorated pottery, and mulch. Volunteers will partner with the African-American and Latino communities within Yonkers in what will be a cross-cultural project to promote cultural understanding, neighborhood safety, and wellness.

For more information about JSAM and how to volunteer, please visit http://www.ujafedny.org/jewish-social-action-month/.

For Media:
To attend a JSAM event, please R.S.V.P. to Levi Fishman at 1.212.836.1513 or Fishmanl@ujafedny.org
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About UJA-Federation of New York
For more than 90 years, UJA-Federation has been a central force for communal planning and philanthropy in the New York Jewish community. Through UJA-Federation, more than 60,000 donors pool their resources to help people in need, inspire a passion for Jewish life and learning, and strengthen Jewish communities around the world -- to address the issues that matter to us most as Jews and as New Yorkers. Working with more than 100 network beneficiary agencies, synagogues, and other Jewish organizations, our reach spans from New York to Israel to more than 60 other countries around the world, touching 4.5 million people each year. Because we do the most good when we do it together. For more information on how to donate or how to volunteer, please visit our website at www.ujafedny.org.

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