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At Congregation B’nai Jacob we are engaged in Tikkun Olam, repairing the world, through projects that address hunger, homelessness, and refugees in our community. These projects all offer various ways to participate.  You can volunteer in person, contribute home-cooked or store-bought food, or donate much-needed funds.  These projects also offer welcome opportunities for our community to collaborate with other synagogues and churches.The list below describes our ongoing Social Action projects.  Whatever you choose to do, your participation makes a difference and is very much appreciated.


Columbus House and Abraham’s Tent

Columbus House provides shelter, food, and services to people who are homeless.  CBJ regularly collaborates with other local synagogues to provide Christmas Dinner for Columbus House clients.  We also participate in Abraham’s Tent, a Columbus House program in which a different synagogue or church hosts twelve carefully screened homeless men overnight for a week during the cold winter months. Most recently we partnered with United Church on the Green in New Haven. The men slept at the church, and we helped provide meals, fellowship, and overnight supervision.  Although Abraham’s Tent has been on hold since 2020, CBJ has held fundraisers every year since then instead of volunteering in person. Click here for more information  Kate Ezra, Deborah Fried, and Gary Leibowitz are the chairs for Abraham’s Tent and Columbus House.

January 15-21, 2024

Please mark your calendars for Congregation B’nai Jacob’s week to help the homeless this coming winter.

 Here is a link to the online SignUp


We will provide pantry items, lunches, snacks, dinners, evening companionship, and gift cards for 10 homeless men.  We will not ask anyone to stay overnight!

Thank you in advance for continuing the Congregation B’nai Jacob tradition of generosity to those in great need.




CBJ was proud to support efforts to send more than two hundred care packages to IDF soldiers as they bravely respond to the terror attacks on Israel and protect our homeland. Michal Gilmore, a native Israeli and Ezra parent, initiated and led this project to coordinate our community's donations, as well as finding a passenger willing to take MANY extra suitcases of items, working directly with El Al to secure reduced luggage fees and ensuring that her own family met the shipment once it landed at Ben Gurion this week. The shipment was driven directly to an IDF base for distribution. Each of the 240 packages included a t-shirt, underwear, socks, neck gaiters, rain poncho, blister cushions, leukoplast tape, deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste, protein bag, hydration pack, ear plugs and most importantly a hand-written card to show our love and support.


B'nai Jacob showed up big time with donations and to inventory and pack the items. We also opened our doors to non-members including non-Jewish community participants who were so giving of their time and resources. Local synagogues, Ezra Academy, Israelis in CT, PJ Library were just several of the many organizations who requested and delivered large donations. It was a whirlwind week of collecting, sorting, packaging, labeling, card making while also sharing in our pain and sense of helplessness as many hands came together to complete the project. 



Thanks to Rabbi Shapiro, Marty Halprin, Barbara Goldstein, Karl D'Lorio and Stacy Dworkin for facilitating B'nai Jacob's hosting of this effort.


Chapel on the Green

Every Sunday afternoon Trinity Church on the Green, located at 230 Temple Street in New Haven, provides a meal and a short prayer service to people in need.  One or two times a year CBJ prepares and serves the food and distributes useful items like gloves or toiletry kits to the clients. We have even developed our own special version of this project, which we call “Sukkah on the Green.”  Click here to learn more about Chapel on the Green





Chesed is a CBJ committee that cares for those in our own community who have suffered a loss or illness. Chesed will deliver a kosher catered meal to families sitting shiva. When it was possible to join together to cook in the CBJ kitchen, we made vats of chicken soup and dozens of matzo balls, which we froze and delivered to congregants recovering from serious illness.  Some Chesed activities were paused during the Covid19 pandemic, but hopefully will resume soon.


Downtown Evening Soup Kitchen

DESK, located in downtown New Haven at 311 Temple Street in the Center Church Parish House,  provides dinner to about 300 needy people a day, 365 days a year. CBJ members have historically volunteered on the second Sunday of every month, but help is needed on other days as well.  We often participate in the DESK Thanksgiving food drive, donating frozen turkeys, canned goods, and money.  Click here to learn more Kal Watsky is our chair.





Food4Kids is a program of Jewish Family Service of Greater New Haven that provides supplemental, nutritious, ready to eat food to children in the New Haven schools who are at nutritional risk. The food items are pre-packaged and placed in the children’s backpacks every Friday afternoon for weekend use.  Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic volunteers were needed to help pack and deliver the bags of food, and hopefully this activity will resume soon. Click here for more information Ginsberg and Abby Silbert are the co-chairs.


                                                                 Isaiah’s Fast

Every year during the High Holidays, CBJ participates in a food drive to benefit the Jewish Family Service Food Pantry, which serves clients throughout the New Haven area.  Bags are handed out on Rosh Hashanah, and everyone is asked to return them on Yom Kippur filled with nonperishable food items.  Recently we have collected more than 3,000 pounds of food a year!  Click here to find out more about the Jewish Family Service Food Pantry. 




The Jewish Community Alliance for Refugee Resettlement 

JCARR is a coalition of six synagogues and the Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven for the purpose of resettling refugee families. As a co-sponsor group with IRIS, JCARR has resettled seven families, from Afghanistan, Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq, and Syria. JCARR volunteers help with housing, health care, social services, employment, education, and adapting to a new culture and new country.  Click here for more information. Kate Ezra and Sheldon Natkin are co-chairs for JCARR.

Mitzvah Garden:
CBJ’s vegetable garden provides fresh produce to the clients of the Jewish Family Service Food Pantry.  Volunteers commit to tending the garden for a week from June to September to prepare the garden beds, plant, weed, water and harvest, with occasional help from communal “work parties” during peak times in the growing season. Working in the garden is a fun way for individuals and families to experience nature and the satisfaction of providing healthy food to the hungry.  Mara Ginsburg is the chairperson for the Mitzvah Garden.



Mon, May 20 2024 12 Iyyar 5784