Beth Am Synagogue:
Connecting to Congregants & Community During COVID-19
May 11, 2020
Dear Beth Am Family and Friends,
Did any of us ever really imagine how drastically our lives and those of our family, friends and community would be changed by the Covid-19 virus? And yet, as the days have stretched into weeks and now into months, it is difficult not to become anesthetized to the amount of human suffering that Covid-19 has inflicted. One of the worst things that can happen to all of us is to become inured to what we hear and see about the impact of Covid-19 and to think that there is NOTHING we can do to make a dent in such a huge problem. But that kind of thinking is self-defeating and we urge you to continue to help others throughout the pandemic. And by helping others, not once but repeatedly, you will also raise your own spirits during this challenging time.

This week’s report continues to highlight several ongoing requests from organizations for donations and volunteers that serve our neighborhood’s residents. If you haven’t given to any of these before, please consider doing so, and if you have already contributed, please recognize that the needs are acute and will probably remain so for many months to come. Why not consider making a monthly donation instead of a one-time contribution? That kind of continued support will go a long way toward maintaining stability of services.
There are two NEW ways to make a difference: 1) Please consider a donation that will provide free pulse oximeters to those with coronavirus who need to be closely monitored. There is critical data that shows that deaths from the coronavirus can be avoided through careful monitoring of oxygen levels; and 2) Volunteers are needed to help package and deliver food boxes for hungry Reservoir Hill families. Both efforts are described more fully in the Neighborhood section below.

We end this edition with a Note of Hope: Despite these dire times, our neighborhood organizations are also seeking ways to inspire and enrich the lives of our neighbors! Two new programs for young people in the community are also described in the Neighborhood section below.

Again, we are grateful to you for your attention AND YOUR ACTIONS to support our Beth Am, Reservoir Hill and extended communities.

--Congregant to Congregant (C2C) ◊ Beth Am Social Action Committee (SAC) ◊ InForOf Inc. (IFO)

Congregant to Congregant (C2C)
 Makes calls to check-in with Beth Am members to provide connection and support from other members of the synagogue community
  • Make outreach calls to Beth Am members who are ill or have recently lost a loved one.
  • Help extend C2C services by making regular calls to Beth Am members who would benefit from a connection or check-in with another Beth Am member on a regular basis.
  • To volunteer, call or email Joyce Keating at: (410) 358-5477 or joyceskeating@yahoo.com
Our Neighborhood  
Identifying and responding to our community partners’ needs in Reservoir Hill, Central West Baltimore, and Baltimore City.
  • Volunteers Needed to support Beth Am as new Food Distribution Site.  Beth Am has agreed to be a food distribution site as part of a network of sites organized by Thread and Baltimore Corps. Beginning Sunday, May 17th, we will distribute 125 boxes of food every other Sunday, primarily from Beth Am, with the possibility of delivering some boxes to families in need. Each box contains enough food to feed a family of four for two weeks. Volunteers will be needed for various functions. If interested, contact Evan Serpick at serpick@gmail.com.

  • Contribute and Help Spread the Word: Coronavirus Equity Campaign for Pulse Oximeters -- $1000 Matching Gift Challenge from Eliyah Burg's Bat Mitzvah Donor Advised Fund.  Lower income communities, especially communities of color, are disproportionately suffering from COVID-19. Pulse oximeters are in high demand and short supply, many having been purchased by people of means. They are potentially life-saving devices in this pandemic. We are working to purchase and distribute as many as we can in Reservoir Hill and to others in Baltimore City who would benefit from them but cannot acquire them for themselves. We met our first goal ($4000) in three days but have discovered that the need is much greater. To donate or learn more please click here.

  • CALL TO ACTION – Make Cloth Face Masks for our neighbors in Central West Baltimore: Beth Am ally and longtime community leader for Central West Baltimore, Ray Kelly, is urgently seeking face masks to distribute to community members as his organization, Citizens Policing Project (CPP), works with Baltimore City on a messaging campaign to continue to educate residents of 21217 about best practices for social distancing and keeping themselves and their family safe. Ray and his team are canvassing Penn North and surrounding neighborhoods with palm cards, posters and masks (desperately short supply) to distribute. Please contact Cindy Paradies @ cparadies09@gmail.com or 410-804-2883 if you can be helpful in identifying mask supplies to be donated immediately or if you want to volunteer to make masks for this project. Our very own Judith Shagrin has a pattern for making masks, which she reports is very easy to use (Easy to Sew Pattern). Also Judith is willing to work with any helpers who don’t have a sewing machine but are willing to cut the fabric and lining – reach out to her at janeaddams5@gmail.com

  • Jewish Volunteer Connection is seeking volunteers to work remotely with Saint Francis Neighborhood Center’s youth to support them in their distance learning (SFNC Virtual Tutoring volunteers). If you would like to volunteer or want more general information, please visit www.jvcbaltimore.org/covid19.

  • New Lens Director of Partnerships, Zoe Reznick Gewanter: I want to share an opportunity for youth in our neighborhood and beyond. Youth Rising Coalition led by the Presbytery of Baltimore, Jubilee Arts' Youth in Business, Maryland Institute College of Art and New Lens is organizing to support youth entrepreneurs and young people who want to earn income from their passion in this unprecedented time. Virtual Listening Sessions will be taking place on May 12th at noon and 7pm to guide organizing efforts. Young entrepreneurs ages 14-24 who want to voice their needs and ideas, earn compensation, promote their business and build their network are encouraged to join--recruitment is open for participants and leaders. Contact zoe@newlens.org for more and registration information.

  • No Boundaries Coalition, which serves Central West Baltimore and is an important community partner of Beth Am, had to close down its Saturday “Fresh at the Avenue” produce market when all public markets were closed in the City. In the way that so many community-led nonprofits are innovating during this challenging time, No Boundaries has created “The Central West Baltimore Buying Club” which provides an opportunity for residents in 21217 to still have access to fruits and vegetables as was offered at the market, and much more including but not limited to grocery items, household cleaning supplies/disposables, heat and eat meals, and more all while enjoying free delivery directly to their homes.  A huge thank you to the Beth Am Community for donating to our Fresh Feeding Fund. Together, we have raised $2800 to feed families in 21217! If you haven't yet made a contribution, click here to pay it forward for families in need during this turbulent time. Email sache@noboundariescoalition.com with questions. 

  • Reservoir Hill “Little Free Pantry: Several of our congregants have created a “Little Free Pantry” on Linden Ave. right across the street from German Park in Reservoir Hill. Feel free to drop off non-perishable goods and cleaning supplies to the LFP, which are available to anyone in the neighborhood. They just come by and pick up what they need!  The mini pantry movement is a grassroots, crowdsourced solution to immediate and local need. Whether a need for food or a need to give, mini pantries help neighbors feed neighbors, nourishing neighborhoods. You can read more about this innovative and resourceful movement and how to create your own Little Food Pantry here:  Little Free Pantry Movement.

  • RHIC and @grahamprojects have partnered up for an amazing creative community project >>> The Whitelock Art Crosswalk Project and we need your ideas and input! Read more about the project here - http://eepurl.com/g2bwr5

  • Saint Francis Neighborhood Center, serves 75 children in after school programming and their families who live in Reservoir Hill and Penn North. All of these families live below the poverty line. SFNC has done an incredible job of responding to its families’ urgent needs and is also innovating new programs (for example an online certification program for parents in coordination with Harford Community College). SFNC’s most urgent need is the replenishment of its Emergency Fund, which has been used to supply families’ nonperishable food, cleaning supplies, toilet paper and even pay such things as utility bills for out of work parents. Since the pandemic hit, demands on its Emergency Fund has increased 1800%. SFNC has raised $24,600, 33% of which has been donated by Beth Am members. Thank you to all!! As we all know, this is just the beginning of the surge in the many needs for SFNC families. We hope you will continue to support our important neighborhood partner with a donation to the SFNC Emergency Fund.

Baltimore City
  • Beth Am will host its second virtual COVID Expert Panel, organized by the COVID task force, on Sunday May 17 at 7pm via Zoom. Details are still being determined, but the focus will likely be on the ins and outs of COVID testing, and there will be an opportunity to field questions from community members/attendees. Attendees are encouraged to submit their questions to the panel ahead of time, using an online form.

  • Visit Jewish Volunteer Connection’s COVID-19 Community Response, which includes opportunities to volunteer safely outside your home, opportunities to volunteer using technology from your home, things you can make at home (casseroles, masks!) and donate now or later, and a list of in-kind donation needs. JVC is also going to support folks who want to create virtual “Parties with a Purpose” to support group opportunities (a bunch of friends, family members, etc.) coming together to work on an initiative to address a COVID-related community need.  



  • Go to the Baltimore Votes website to make sure your registered to vote in the June 2 election, which will held primarily by mail, check that the Board of Elections has the correct address to mail your ballot, and sign up to participate in the Party at the Mailbox.

 

National
  • If you have not already done so, complete the census at 2020census.gov