Mitzvah Corps

on Wednesday, 25 April 2012. Posted in Rabbi Marshall's Articles

The ORacle, May 2012 Issue

Note: You can now join our Caring Community Network to coordinate with other volunteers and be notified of Caring Community activities and events.

Moses' father-­in-­law said to him, "Why do you sit by yourself alone, and all the people come to you from morning to evening? And, Moses said to his father-in-law, "Because the people come to me to inquire of God, when they have a matter, they come to me." And Moses' father-in law said to him, "The thing that you do is not good. You will surely wear yourself out, and the people as well. For the task is too heavy for you, you cannot do it alone. You shall seek out chiefs and let them judge the people at all seasons. Make it easier for yourself, and they shall bear the burden with you."


Moses heeded his father-­in-­law and did just as he had said.


This story from the book of Exodus exemplifies effective leadership. A community can only endure if all its members commit to its vitality. Temple Beth Or has truly dedicated lay leadership - it's what makes our k'hila, our community, vital and is a part of Temple life we treasure.


The Mitzvah Corps is one such example. It provides many levels of support to congregants, including cards, home and hospital visits, childcare, transportation to medical visits, helping families pack and move, and offering a community of friends. This attention to our congregants' needs defines us as a community. Vicki Schwartz, our current Mitzvah Corps chair, does a remarkable job of organizing care, and we are all grateful for the support of our dedicated volunteers. However, it has become clear that our current system using the Helping Hands website is not effective for longer term care or when privacy is a concern. We need more people to lend support so that responsibility falls less heavily on just a few volunteers.


The Mitzvah Corps would like to explore the creation of a "Caring Community" model. This would include small groups of 5-­8 people who can take on one specific project that would require periodic focus;; i.e., a visit once or twice a month for several months to the same person. Whoever volunteers in one of the "Caring Communities" would not be asked to do any other volunteer activity for Mitzvah Corps during that time.


Thank you all so much for your continued dedication to our sacred community.


Livracha, With Blessings,
Rabbi Jessica Kessler Marshall


Postscript: To best plan and develop this model, we invited all Temple members to a meeting to discuss and problem-solve how to best implement a Caring Community. You can now join our Caring Community Network to coordinate with other volunteers and be notified of Caring Community activities and events.