The Jewish month of Cheshvan is often called “bitter” by the rabbis — Mar Cheshvan — because it is holiday free. No huts, no apples and honey and no fasting (phew!). But even though this month is devoid of ritual obligations, we as Jews have other values that are just as important as blowing a shofar on Rosh Hashanah, such as service. Jewish Social Action Month (JSAM), October 7-November 7th, is the perfect chance for us to commit ourselves to social action and to make Cheshvan a month of joy and deed.
For the sixth year in a row, KolDor (which translates to “Voice of the Generation”) is spearheading this month long campaign of Jews working to effect real change in the world, starting with their own communities. JSAM’s website,cheshvan.org,points the way towards ample volunteering opportunities that range from helping with elderly and children to fundraising for worthy causes. They aim to provide every age and interest group a way to get involved. Whatever your flavor of service, you will find an event to sink your teeth into.
Over a dozen organizations have received grants for projects slated for this month of service and the initiative has received support from all corners of the Jewish community. JSAMers are encouraged to add events to the site so others in their area can participate.
If you would like to participate in a JSAM event, here are a couple you can sign up for:
If you’re in Southern California, you can participate in TIKKUNFEST, which is set for October 24th in the Pico Robertson section of Los Angeles. In partnership with the Jewish Community Foundation Los Angeles, Repair the World and the LA Green Mile, participants will spend the day cleaning 18 city streets (which is affectionately called the “Chood” by Jewish residents). They will plant fruit trees, tend to gardens, paint and remove litter from the streets. This day of community service will end with a concert for volunteers. You can sign up for this event here.
Also on the West Coast, Repair the World’s Jon Rosenberg will be speaking at the Jumpstart Innovation Forum on Tuesday October 26th. This is a great opportunity to hear about the latest in Jewish social action and get in on the conversation. You can sign up for tickets, which are free, here.