Am Yisrael helps ‘repair the world’
Rachel Prero (right) of West Rogers Park makes bag lunches with Julie Levy of Skokie Oct. 28 to be distributed to the homeless in Chicago as part of the annual Tikkun Olam Fair at Am Yisrael Synagogue in Northfield. | Ryan Pagelow—Sun-Times Media
Updated: December 2, 2012 6:07AM
NORTHFIELD — Members of Northfield’s Am Yisrael Synagogue spent their Sunday morning not only attending services, but providing services to the community as well.
As part of its annual Tikkun Olam mitzvah project, synagogue members assembled more than 150 bag lunches, prepared more than 150 bean soup mixes, collected supplies for hospital patients and held a blood drive.
“The idea of Tikkun Olam is to help repair the world,” said Marcia Adelman, a member of the Tikkun Olam committee. “The idea was the world was fractured at its creation and people have to do what they can to repair the world.”
The team effort included donations of wheat bread, apples, raisin cookies and other snack items from The Grand Food Center, which were used to make the bag lunches.
After completing the task, the lunches were driven to the Two Li’l Fishes Shelter, 941 W. Lawrence Ave., Chicago. 2012 marks the fourth straight year Am Yisrael has assisted the shelter.
“We want people to understand that everybody who comes to a shelter or soup kitchen is not a bad person,” said Two Li’l Fishes Program Coordinator Isaac Barrantine. “It can happen to anybody. We’re very appreciative because sometimes we have no funding at all.”
The bean soup mixes were placed in Ziplock bags and taken to the Northfield Food Pantry for distribution while the goal was to have 50 people to donate blood.
Volunteer Eric G. Matlin headed the blood drive and hopes to see the Tikkun Olam project expand beyond the members of Am Yisrael.
“We want to make it a real community thing,” Matlin said. “The blood drive really resonates with me because it’s the gift of life. No matter how tough the economic times everyone can give blood.”
Tikkun Olam is composed of selfless acts of charity universal to all religions and encourages service to society by helping those in need. The day has proven to be a very inspiring event to those involved.
“One of the nice things is
having a choice of projects and a lot of times if something is completed our members will move on to another project,” Adelman said. “People have found it to be a very exciting, fulfilling morning. Even though you cannot fix everything, the results are tangible things you can find useful. Our job is to try and help.”