JCRC and Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Sponsor Interfaith Hunger Seder

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Michael and Barbara Newmark Institute for Human Relations at the Jewish Community Relations Council of St. Louis (JCRC), and the JCRC’s Bohm Social Justice Initiative, in collaboration with: the Community Against Poverty (CAP) Hunger Task Force and partnering agencies Bread for the World, Empower Missouri, Jewish Family & Children’s Service, CROP Walk/Church World Service and Operation Food Search, will host the 2016 Community Hunger Seder on Thursday, April 14 at 6:00 PM at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints church located at 15081 Clayton Road 63017. The Seder is part of a national Hunger Seder mobilization coordinated by the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA) and MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger. The mobilization focuses on addressing the root causes of poverty in the United States. Both the Jewish community and the Mormon community are committed to the principle that meeting the needs of the hungry is a religious imperative and a priority. This year, the Seder will have a special focus on hunger among military families and military veterans. In recent years, the nation has witnessed an increase in the number of military families and veterans showing up at food pantries looking for help in feeding their families. Evidence shows widespread reliance on food pantries and distribution programs on and near military bases. This is a problem that continues to worsen each year. At the Seder, participants will read from a specially designed Passover Hadaggah, a book containing the liturgy of the service that commemorates the journey of the Jewish people from slavery in ancient Egypt to freedom. Rabbi Josef A. Davidson, Rabbi at Congregation B’nai Amoona, will be officiating at the Seder. The Hadaggah will have special readings addressing the importance of working to make all people free from hunger, including military veterans and military families. The program will conclude with a call to action including specific steps that can be taken to reduce food insecurity in St. Louis and nationally. Participants are requested to bring donations of canned food to benefit area food pantries. This event is free and open to the entire community. RSVPs are required for the event and space is limited. RSVP here. For more information, contact Gail Wechsler at JCRC at GWechsler@JCRCSTL.org or...

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3rd Annual Jewish and Muslim Christmas Day of Service and Donation Drive Planned

On Christmas Day, the Islamic Foundation of Greater Saint Louis and the   Jewish Community Relations Council of St. Louis (JCRC) and its Milford and Lee Bohm Social Justice Center are sponsoring the third annual St. Louis area-wide “Jewish and Muslim Day of Service.” The two religious communities are working together again to organize and participate in a large scale Christmas Day of Service project. Over twenty agencies have been identified in the St. Louis area as sites that will host needed volunteers on Christmas.  This year’s program will have a new site, new projects and Jewish and Muslim co-site captains at most of the larger sites. “It has been so gratifying to see Saint Louisans of all background and faiths come together each year on Christmas Day to help others,” said Zubaida Ibrahim, co-chair of this year’s event for the Islamic Foundation. “This event is a true labor of love between members of the Jewish and Muslim communities and shows our joint commitment to social action,” said Roberta Gutwein, co-chair on behalf of JCRC. Jewish and Muslim volunteers will be working side by side throughout the day at the various agencies. The event will kick off at 9:00 AM at the Jewish Community Center in Creve Coeur (Staenberg Complex)   with a volunteer welcome bagel breakfast including a social action blessing and celebration of the purpose and meaning of the event. Participants will leave from there to blanket the community at the various sites. Volunteers who participated in last year’s event found the experience truly moving.  Sophie Malik of the Islamic Foundation was a co-site captain at the Little Projects, Little Hands site last year and will be doing this same project this year. “I really enjoyed working with members of the Jewish community last year to plan my site.  It was also heartwarming to see children from both communities coming together to make dog collars, decorate food donation bags and create no sew blankets. I’m so excited to be helping out again this year.” This year’s new volunteer site is The Bridge, a homeless shelter. Volunteers with be helping prepare and serve a holiday meal. Some of the popular sites from last year returning again this year are: The 5 Star Senior Center- delivering hot meals to homebound seniors throughout the region. The St. Louis Crisis Nursery (both St. LouisCity and St. Charles, Mo. locations) – doing activities with the children and sharing a meal with them. Daar Ul Islam Mosque-making soup packets for area food pantries Little Projects, Little Hands-a site with a variety of hands on projects for families with children ages 8 and under. In addition to the two sponsoring organizations, the complete list of supporting organizations to date can be found at http://www.stljewishmuslimdayofservice.org.  This is also the website where potential volunteers can sign up to serve on Christmas Day. Additionally for others who wish to participate, the program includes a toiletry donation drive with five drop off sites. The drop off locations are Central Reform Congregation, Congregation Shaare Emeth, Daar Ul Islam Mosque, Temple Emanuel and United Hebrew Congregations. Donations gathered at these sites will be dispersed among several area non-profits that are sites for the Jewish and Muslim Day of Service, including  Ronald McDonald House at Mercy Hospital and the Harvey Kornblum Jewish Food Pantry....

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