When Ariel Shore was 5, her family began a tradition that would shape her for her entire life: Along with five other families in Lower Merion, they rotated hosting Shabbat dinners, round robin-style.
“It was one night a week when our families came together for brachot, good food and lots of laughter,” Shore said. Those nights taught Shore the importance of Jewish values — the power of community and the joy in caring for those around you.
Today, 23 years later, their Shabbat tradition is still going strong. But as Shore has grown older, her idea of a Jewish community has expanded.
By the time she graduated from Ithaca College and returned to Philadelphia, she began to see all of the broader Jewish community as her community. She knew she had a lot of care to give, and that there were so many people who deserved it.
“Helping the local Jewish community live and thrive is so important to me,” Shore said. So when she heard about the opportunity to serve as a house captain at the
Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia’s Rebuild 2018, she happily signed up.
Every year at Rebuild, close to 100 volunteers from NextGen, Jewish Federation Real Estate and Habitat for Humanity of Philadelphia join together to help older adults in Northeast Philadelphia with household tasks that they might not otherwise be able to accomplish. Volunteers change lightbulbs, clean windows, paint, flip mattresses and perform minor repairs.
For her part, Shore and her team replaced the cracked sidewalk in front of the house of Sylvia Genoy, a Holocaust survivor. “The day is not just about fixing and repairing and calling it a day,” Shore said. “We’re coming together to provide a sense of comfort and peace of mind for someone who has been through so much.”
In a few weeks, Shore will jump into action again, this time serving as co-chair of Cook for a Friend, a fun and impactful evening in which NextGen volunteers cook nourishing kosher food for homebound older adults in our Greater Philadelphia Jewish communities. For Shore, volunteerism comes down to one simple motivator: compassion.
“When you take a step back and become aware of those in vulnerable situations across Philadelphia, what is really stopping you from giving back? You always can make time for what is important to you,” Shore said.
We should all aspire to be as compassionate as Shore.
Hungry for Change Conference: Fighting Food Insecurity from Israel to Philly
Have you ever thought about living a greener life? Would you like to know more about where your food comes from? Do you worry for those who have trouble accessing nourishing food — including more than 11,000 Jews in the Greater Philadelphia region — and have you wondered what you can do to make a difference?
Then “Hungry for Change,” our upcoming conference on American and Israeli strategies for food security, recovery and justice, is for you.
On Nov. 11, we’ll bring together luminaries from across the American and Israeli food system to discuss their work and their insights.
The process of increasing food security, justice and reducing waste is complex, requiring the work of farmers, government officials, community organizations, social advocates, food pantries, restaurants and grocery stores. That’s why, through keynote addresses, panel discussions and tours of local organizations, Hungry for Change will consider food systems from every angle.
The morning before the conference, you’ll have your choice of touring one of Greater Philadelphia’s leading food access organizations including The Common Market, The Deaver Wellness Farm, KleinLife and the Mitzvah Food Program, or the Jewish Relief Agency.
At the conference, you’ll hear keynote addresses from the CEO of Israel’s largest food rescue organization; the executive director of Israel’s national food bank; the CEO of Hunger Free America; and the co-founder of Friends by Nature, a community empowerment group for Ethiopian-Israelis.
Panel discussion topics will range from innovation in food pantries and congregational organizing to preventing harassment in the restaurant industry and finding inspiration in our Jewish traditions. To ensure the work continues after the conference is over, meetups throughout the day will offer small groups the chance to learn from one another and plan ongoing action.
The Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia is proud to partner with Hazon Philadelphia to bring this important conference to our region. For more information or to register for Hungry for Change, visit jewishphilly.org/hungryforchange.