“You shall not reap to the very corners of your field, nor shall you gather the gleanings of your harvest… you shall leave them for the poor and the stranger.” — Leviticus 19: 9-10
Jewish tradition is explicit in commanding that we feed the hungry. At Temple Beth-El, we have committed ourselves to working to alleviate hunger in our community and to instilling in our children this basic Jewish value.
Our most substantial contribution to the community occurs during our annual High Holy Day food drive. Each year, on Yom Kippur, Temple Beth-El provides the Food Bank Network of Somerset County with its largest annual single donation, often weighing in at up to 5,000 pounds. Congregants accompany the donation to one of the network’s food banks and assist with shelving the donations.
Our relationship with the Food Bank Network extends year-round. Each month, temple members staff one of the network’s pantries and assist in the distribution of food to the pantry’s clients.
Educators in the religious school introduce our students to issues of hunger and food insecurity, and to Torah’s command that we work to address these issues. Through age-appropriate programs, students explore ways in which they can alleviate food insecurity in their communities. When students reach their teen years, they are given the opportunity to join with our youth group on its annual Midnight Run into Manhattan to distribute food and other essentials to New York City’s homeless.