UJA-Federation of New York Brings Together Diversity of Jewish Community for Month of Volunteerism

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Supports Jewish Social Action Month with $137,000 in grants, builds communal relationships to reach and care for even more people in need

UJA-Federation of New York believes in the power of the Jewish community to achieve the biggest impact. That is why UJA-Federation is supporting Jewish Social Action Month (JSAM), which transforms the Jewish month of Cheshvan from a month without Jewish holidays into a global month celebrating volunteerism and community building. By funding 34 programs with participants from 100 organizations in the New York area, UJA-Federation is bringing together Jews from different backgrounds to collaborate in community-based social action projects that will help make life better for thousands more individuals and families.

One such program leveraging the strength of the Jewish community is Growing Together, a collaboration between UJA-Federation, Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty (Met Council), Hazon, Dor Chadash, Jewish International Connection of New York (JICNY), Abraham Heschel School, and the Jewish Child Care Association of New York (JCCA). Beginning in Cheshvan, and continuing throughout the year, Growing Together will engage young volunteers through intergenerational “greening” programs serving low-income seniors. At the kickoff events, seniors and young volunteers will build window box herb gardens at Met Council housing sites throughout New York City, which the volunteers will help monitor and maintain throughout the year.

“We are proud to bring our expertise in low-income senior housing together with the greening movement, and to collaborate with JSAM volunteers to enrich seniors lives,” said William E. Rapfogel, Met Council CEO. “Growing Together gives volunteers a hands-on experience to give back to their neighbors in need and to take action right here in New York City. We are grateful to UJA-Federation of New York for recognizing the need to celebrate volunteer services and to continue to help build relationships within the Jewish community.”

“Growing Together embodies the unifying spirit of JSAM and UJA-Federation’s belief that we can do more good when we do it together,” said UJA-Federation executive vice president and CEO John S. Ruskay. “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. The collaborations created during JSAM will foster deeper working relationships, strengthen our communal ability to help people in need, and highlight core Jewish value of creating a better world.”

Throughout the month of Cheshvan, other JSAM volunteer services will provide opportunities for bringing food and supplies to homeless New Yorkers, increasing inclusion of people with special needs, and working with elderly Jewish war veterans. Now in its sixth year, JSAM takes place from October 28 – November 26, 2011 in all five boroughs, Long Island, and Westchester. For more information or to find out what programs are available in your area, please visit http://www.ujafedny.org/jewish-social-action-month/.

For Media: to attend a JSAM event, please RSVP to Levi Fishman at 1.212.836.1513 or Fishmanl(at)ujafedny(dot)org

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. Because we do the most good when we do it together. For more information on how to donate (http://www.ujafedny.org/how-to-donate) or how to volunteer (http://www.ujafedny.org/how-to-volunteer), please visit our website at http://www.ujafedny.org

About Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty

Met Council is one of New York’s largest human services agencies, providing 100,000 New Yorkers with critical services in their fight against poverty every year. Since 1972, Met Council has been an advocate and defender for New Yorkers in need, and has raised awareness around the growing problem of Jewish poverty. With services ranging from domestic violence counseling to kosher food pantries to career training, Met Council helps individuals find lasting solutions to poverty. Learn more at http://www.metcouncil.org.

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Levi Fishman
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