Congregation Beth El-Keser Israel views Tikkun HaOlam–Social Action as an essential part of its mission.
The Hesed Committee provides help to BEKI members during times of transition and temporary need. The Committee provides meals to families welcoming a newborn into the home and to those recovering from a temporary disability. In addition, volunteers make occasional calls to BEKI members who may benefit from this additional contact on account of illness or isolation. The Committee also provides meals to families during the shiva mourning period.
BEKI has a long tradition of providing meals to families who have welcomed a child. Volunteers use a website called Lotsa Helping Hands. Just log in and choose your password. When the calendar is set up for meals, you’ll receive an email with a link.
The Jewish Community Alliance for Refugee Resettlement (JCARR) is a partnership of BEKI, five other New Haven-area synagogues, and the Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven. As a co-sponsor for Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services (IRIS), the principal refugee resettlement agency in Connecticut, JCARR helps new refugee and immigrant families resettle in our community. Since December 2015, JCARR’s Coordinator and numerous volunteers have welcomed nine refugee or asylum-seeking families.
BEKI has a long-standing commitment to Columbus House, a non-profit that serves people experiencing homelessness or at imminent risk. For years, BEKI was a host for Columbus House’s annual Abraham’s Tent project. In 2020, Columbus House awarded BEKI their John S. Martinez Community Service Award. BEKI had prepared a monthly evening meal for residents, though post-pandemic BEKI has shifted to delivering monthly food supplies.
BEKI participates in the annual Interfaith Day of Service in August. On that day, volunteers from the Greater New Haven community gather on the New Haven Green to learn about community needs and head in various directions to complete projects, including preparing food for the hungry, stuffing personal care bags, restoring a Jewish cemetery, or cleaning up a shoreline.
Food drives are arranged at High Holy Days, before Pesach, and at other times of the year. Matanot L’evyonim funds are collected before Purim, and Maot Chittim funds are collected before Pesach. These drives benefit local agencies including Jewish Family Service, Christian Community Action, and Beth-El Shelter. Back-to-School supplies have been collected for the children of New Haven’s Lincoln Bassett Community School in Newhallville. Warm clothing collected during BEKI’s Hanukkah winter clothing drive is delivered to the Downtown Evening Soup Kitchen.