Social Action Committee
By helping others, we enrich ourselves and strengthen our own community.
Clothing for Spring Lake Elementary School
A large box of winter jackets, hats, scarves and mittens was brought to Springhill Lake Elementary School. We will continue to collect warm outerwear for the children throughout the winter. They would also appreciate gently used backpacks. There is a box in the cloakroom for collection purposes. Those who would prefer to donate money to the effort can send a check made payable to Mishkan Torah with Social Action in the memo line.
Greenbelt Food Bank
The basket for collecting food for the Greenbelt Food Bank is in the cloak room. These days the pantry is always in need.
Cookies at the Bridge
Several years ago, Mowatt Memorial United Methodist Church on Ridge Road started a program called "Cookies at the Bridge,” in which two volunteers offer cookies (store-bought or homemade) to Eleanor Roosevelt High School students crossing the Spellman footbridge over the Baltimore-Washington Parkway from Greenbelt East to Old Greenbelt when school lets out in the afternoon each day. The program was in response to an increasing frequency of reports of teenage fights erupting on or near the bridge during that time of day. According to the program organizer, Ellen Noll, no serious fights have occurred since the volunteers started showing up. And the students very much appreciate the edible treats Ellen is looking for more volunteers. She would be delighted if Mishkan Torah would be responsible for handing out cookies one day per month from 3:15 to 4:00pm. Typically two volunteers go per day. If we can get 10 people who are willing to volunteer twice per school year, we can support our local community and youth in a very tangible way while strengthening our connections with another faith-based congregation nearby. If you would be interested in participating, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a note in the social action mailbox in the synagogue office.
Kashrut and Ethical Kashrut
On Sunday, March 6 at 2:00 pm, Rabbi Jonathan Cohen will review the basics of kashrut and discuss how the concepts inherent in kashrut are being applied today in what is sometime called "eco-kashrut." The ethircs of our food choices - including the treatment of animals, the environment, and the people who harvest and process our foods - become significant considerations in such intentional-eating systems. This class is part of the Social Action Committee's series on food and Judaism. Rabbi Cohen's discussion will utilize this handout.
Climate Change and Food Security
On March 28 at 7:30pm, Lewis H. Ziska, PhD--a plant physiologist with the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) in
Beltsville, Maryland presented a talk entitled, “Climate Change and the Future of Food.” Here are the power point slides for his presentation.
In this overview on the impact of carbon dioxide and climate change on food security, Dr. Ziska presented data from a number of sources that document the likely changes in temperature, carbon dioxide, and water on crop quality and production, and identify other biological interactions with pests, weeds, and diseases. In addition, he discussed adaptation strategies, focusing on exploiting genetic and intra-specific variability within plant germplasm as a possible means to maintain agricultural production in the future.
After graduating from the University of California, Davis, Dr. Ziska first served as a Smithsonian fellow and later became the project leader for global climate change at the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines. Since joining USDA in 1998, Dr. Ziska has published over 100 peerreviewed research articles relating to climate change and rising carbon
dioxide. These articles address: agriculture and food security; weeds and weed management; invasive species; and plant biology and public health. Dr. Ziska is a recent contributor to the 2014 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report (food security chapter) and the 2014 National Climate Assessment (public health chapter). His work has appeared in Scientific American, USA Today, CBS Nightly News, National Geographic, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal. Dr. Ziska is the author of Weed Biology and Climate Change (with Jeff Dukes, Wiley Press) and the editor of
Invasive Species and Global Climate Change (with Jeff Dukes, CABi Press).
Light refreshments will be served.
Our Annual blood drive was held on November 22, and 8 pints of usable blood was collected. This was not as much as in past years, but any amount is always needed and welcomed. Special thanks to Andrea Weiss and David Norken for all their hard work in setting up and coordinating this event with the Red Cross.
On October 22, Mishkan Torah members made soup and cupcakes for Empty Bowls, a fundraiser at Greenbelt Community Church for Help by Phone, a local organization that helps the homeless and the hungry in Greenbelt. Many Mishkan Torah members attended the event on October 24, which helped the church reach its goal of $5000. The church mentioned
Mishkan Torah's participation and expressed its appreciation and we, of course, appreciated the opportunity to participate. Thanks to Sara Rosen and her magic kitchen crew who made 5 large crockpots of soup and cupcakes. Mark your calendar the next Empty Bowl fundraiser is in two years.
Joelle Novey gave an Interfaith Power and Light presentation. There was an interesting and lively discussion among MT members and members of the community about the Jewish response to climate change
Walk for the Homeless
"Reverse Taschlich" - Cleaning up Beaver Creek