The Lotte Meyerson Tikkun Olam Committee is committed to continuing initiatives that support “repairing the world” in the larger Asheville community. Listed below are our most current efforts. We invite congregants to join us in this important work.
Here is the list of projects. Select any to go directly to the information on that project.
- Room in The Inn
- A-Hope Day Center Volunteers
- Gan Chesed, Our CBHT Sacred Garden
- Manna Food Bank and Mazon
- ABCCM Veteran’s Restoration Quarters
- Literacy and English Programs at CBHT
- Book Shares – Book Collection Project
- Preschool Reading Volunteers
- Annual Souper Bowl Fundraising
“Many of the women in the RITI program have been placed in permanent housing and for those who have been housed, the retention rate is over 85%! This program really works!”
Room in the Inn is Homeward Bound’s most community-driven program, with more than 1,500 volunteers from over 55 faith congregations mobilized each year.
Room in the Inn partners with local faith communities to provide shelter for up to 12 women. Each week, a different congregation opens its facilities to welcome the women as guests, offering a warm safe place for them as they work hard to move forward to permanent housing. The goal is to keep women without homes from sleeping on the street and risking their safety while building caring, supportive relationships with them, one week at a time.
Three weeks a year, volunteers from our congregation team up with St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, Congregation Beth Israel and the Ethical Humanist Society of Asheville. To volunteer either of these weeks for the following assignments, please select the “RITI Volunteer” button:
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A-Hope Day Center Volunteers
The A-Hope Day Center is an integral part of Asheville’s Homeward Bound, the non-profit agency in town responsible for offering services and housing to the homeless. Open from 8 am – 3 pm daily (Wed until 11:30 am), the center provides basic services (showers, mail, phone, storage) and builds relationships that lead people out of homelessness and into permanent housing. It’s the front door to Homeward Bound and to the community’s homeless service system. Due to a recent change in priorities, A-Hope is now manned by volunteers. We are looking for people willing to join a CBHT A-Hope Volunteer Team of 6-8 people to commit to help provide the basic services at the center from noon to 3 pm (except Wed.). The staff will train us. Please consider signing up to be part of a temple team to help meet this very important need in our community. Contact Sherrill Zoller, firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or are willing to help.
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Gan Chesed, Our CBHT Sacred Garden
Urban gardens are becoming more and more popular as people realize the benefits of growing food instead of grass. There are fewer pests and weeds to contend with within the city. Urban gardens provide more than just food to those who grow it. For example, gardens use less water than lawns, and the flowers provide a source of pollen for honey bees. The Garden Committee has done a great job maximizing the green space available on our Temple grounds. We have six raised beds, an apple tree, two fig trees, and an herb garden. Come walk through our herb garden. Take a snip, a sniff, maybe even a taste! The herbs are located to the right of the main doors as you enter the Temple. Each plant is labeled. Herbs are used for their medicinal properties, their culinary values, their fragrance, and even for religious ritual. The use of herbs dates back to biblical times. Remember the bitter herbs on your Seder plate? According to Mother Earth Living, 128 plants are mentioned by name in the Bible.
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MANNA FoodBank and MAZON “Together we can solve hunger”
MANNA FoodBank collects, stores, warehouses and distributes food to MANNA accredited non-profits throughout 16 counties in Western North Carolina. The partner agencies then distribute the food directly to families in their community according to their individual programs. CBHT works with MANNA to collect food and donations. During the High Holidays congregants are given grocery bags or donation envelopes to encourage participation in the food drive.
Congregants are encouraged to consider gifts during the rest of the year to honor special mitzvot through contributions to Manna or Mazon, the Jewish food relief organization. The local MANNA receives regular grants from MAZON, enabling the congregation to give in different ways to decrease hunger in our area.
Some of CBHT’s accomplishments:
- Raised dollars for 6300 meals thru Manna Food Bank and Mazon during High Holidays .
- MANNA is able to leverage a one- dollar contribution into three meals for our neighbors in need throughout Western North Carolina.
- CBHT collected over 3,000 lbs of non-perishable items for MANNA FoodBank in the same drive during High Holidays
- Students who receive free or reduced lunch are given food packages on Fridays to take home in their backpacks which are designed to feed them over the weekend.
- The Tikkun Olam committee participates in assembling MANNA Packs on the first Friday of each month from 1-3pm. To participate in the MANNA volunteer team, contact Sandra Layton.
ABCCM Veterans Restoration Quarters
Six to eight volunteers prepare and serve lunch for up to a 100 homeless vets at the ABCCM Veterans Restoration Quarters and Inn on Tunnel Rd. at noon on the third Friday of the month. Serving lunch to the veterans is a rewarding mitzvah as it not only helps meet the nutritional needs of the men but also gives our volunteers a chance to interact with the veterans on a one-to-one basis. There are costs incurred in providing the meal which are subsidized by donations to our Tikkun Olam ‘Vets Shelter Fund’. To sign up to help with the meal, contact Hilary Paradise (email@example.com).
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Literacy and English programs here at CBHT
Literacy Council of Buncombe County and the LMTO Committee combine forces to offer English literacy classes here at CBHT. In fall 2017, we began holding evening classes each week for adults. The English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) program teaches oral English, reading, and writing to adults who have immigrated to the U.S. from around the world. Students’ most common goals in learning English are to improve their employment prospects, help their children in school, and pass the U.S. Naturalization exam.
Each student works with a trained volunteer tutor, either individually or in a small group of up to ten people. Tutoring takes place for two hours once each week at times and locations that are mutually convenient for students and tutors.
If you would like to participate by being a tutor, either for a class or one-on-one instruction, contact Literacy Council, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (828) 254-3442 x 204 to sign up for the four training sessions. Classes are held every other month.
Ashley Lasher is a temple member and executive director of Literacy Council. The Literacy Council, with over 200 volunteers, provides literacy education to approximately 350 students annually. We are proud to be part of this worthy effort to change lives and enhance opportunities.
For more information, contact Jenny Mercer at email@example.com.
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Book Shares – Book Collection Project
The Book Share project started at CBHT during the High Holidays of 2011. The goal of this effort was to put new or lightly used “picture books” in the homes of preschool children who may have literacy skill needs. Since that time over 5,000 books have been donated by Temple members during the Temple’s biennial children’s book drive. These donated books are given out at Book Share events held in the community, such as at local Head Start classrooms, Asheville YWCA, and at public schools at their Kindergarten Registration Day. During a Book Share event, children are given the opportunity to select books, have them read to, and take the books home for their home library. Please help us by saving your lightly used picture books for our next book collection!
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Preschool Reading Volunteers
The Tikkun Olam committee has instituted a partnership with local Head Start classes where congregation members can volunteer to assist in the classrooms. Head Start are government funded preschool classrooms for children from low income families to better prepare them for entering kindergarten. Literacy skills will certainly be a focus of this effort, but interested volunteers can serve in the classroom in a variety of ways. Books donated as part of the Book Shares initiative will become a part of this project as the books will be given to these children to take home to support their literacy development. The T.O. Education Group is always looking for more congregation members willing to volunteer to read with preschool classes. Please contact Sam Hausfather (firstname.lastname@example.org ) or Marty Mann for more information if you are interested.
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Annual Souper Bowl Fundraiser
Each February, the Lotte Meyerson Tikkun Olam committee hosts an annual fundraiser, the Souper Bowl. Teams of congregants, some in collaboration with religious school classes, cook interesting and delicious soups for all to taste. A small fee allows participants to taste all the soups and vote on winners in three categories. A raffle is also done. All proceeds benefit the social justice projects of the Lotte Meyerson Tikkun Olam Committee of CBHT. Wanted: volunteer(s) to take over leadership of this annual fun fund-raiser.
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