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Mitzvah of the Month

The Temple B’nai Abraham Social Action Committee continues the spirit of Mitzvah Day/Week throughout the year with a Mitzvah of the Month. Each month, congregant families have an opportunity to help families and individuals in Essex County who find themselves in need.
Ruth Ross
TBA Social Action Committee Chair
At a time when the community is suffering, no one should say, “I will go home, eat, drink, and be at peace with myself.  
– Babylonian Talmud Taanit, 11a.

July 2024 Mitzvah of the Month


Well over 90% of teachers spend their own money on school supplies and other items their students need to succeed. In low-income areas, many school districts do not send home a “school supply list,” so only a few students come in with the supplies needed for class. The school may buy a few things, but it is never enough. Thus, teachers end up buying the rest themselves.

For most of us, purchasing school supplies is just another item to tick off when getting the kids ready for school. However, in other parts of Essex County, an additional expense like this can be an onerous burden.

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Description automatically generatedThis month, the Social Action Committee, in partnership with the Jewish Learning Program PTA, asks our congregants to donate school supplies, so teachers and needy families don’t have to forego food, rent, and other basics to purchase these necessities.

By the way, Staples is having a BIG sale on school supplies! Click the link! Next-day delivery to Temple B'nai Abraham is free for orders over $25. Send it to: 300 E. Northfield Rd., Livingston NJ 07039, Attn: SAC

SUGGESTED DONATIONS (Please purchase items for grades K-6) :                             

  • Glue, scissors, rulers
  • Crayons, pencils, markers and erasers
  • Single-subject notebooks, pocket folders, 3-ring binders
  • Wide-ruled 3-hole paper, index cards
  • Pencil boxes and planners
  • Clean, gently used backpacks


  • Drop off items on Tuesday, July 30; Wednesday, July 31; and Thursday, August 1, from 9 AM to 4 PM on a cart outside the Temple entrance.
  • Please register so we can plan transport of these items to the agencies that need them. Please email Ruth Ross or Bob Singer to register your participation. If you cannot get to the temple, we will stop by to pick up your donation.


Education means teaching a child to be curious, to wonder, to reflect, to enquire. The child who asks becomes a partner in the learning process, an active recipient. To ask is to grow.” —Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks

Previous MOTMs

June 2024
We donated menstrual products because periods don't take a summer vacation.

May 2024
We cooked and served Shabbat dinner for JESPY House residents in South Orange.

April 2024
We supported Family Promise with donations of groceries and grocery store gift cards.

March 2024
Congregant families make brown bag lunches for food insecure families.

February 2024
The Social Action Committee, Sisterhood, Teen Tikkun Olam and Makom assembled 100 after abortion care kits with NCJW-Essex for Planned Parenthood to distribute to clinics in Northern and Central New Jersey.

December 2023
For December 2023, TBA congregant families are asked to contribute a pan of meatless baked ziti or spinach lasagna to ease the food insecurity faced by our Essex County neighbors.

October 2023
TBA virtually hosted four families during the week of October 22. Family Promise (formerly Interfaith Hospitality Network) helps homeless and at-risk families by providing shelter, social services and housing assistance through a community-based approach.

September 2023
As is traditional, we collected packaged food during our High Holy Days food collection. 

August 2023
Diapers & Such We collected diapers, wipes and diaper rash cream, etc., so needy families and adults don’t have to forego food, rent, and other essentials to purchase these necessities.

June 2023
PBJ Sandwich Initiative with Livingston Neighbors Helping Neighbors
We helped LNHN to deliver sandwiches to St. Ann’s, St. Michael’s, and St. John’s churches in Newark.

May 2023
In partnership with Sisterhood—The Women’s Connection, congregants donated menstrual products, so women and girls don’t have to forego food and other necessities to care for their personal needs each month.

April 2023
Two collections provided hundreds of pounds of fresh vegetables for a food pantry (with help from Early School and JLP families) and groceries, supplies, and support for families helped by Family Promise (formerly Interfaith Hospitality Network). 

March 2023
Two collections provided paper goods for low income families (SNAP benefits do not cover them) and kosher for Passover foods for the Bobrow Kosher Food Pantry. 

February 2023
TBA congregant families contribute many pans of meatless baked ziti or spinach lasagna to ease the food insecurity faced by our Essex County neighbors. 

January 2023
Members generously donated 136 hats for adults and 50 children’s hats. Tara Ehrenkranz delivered them to Joi’s Angels to be distributed to homeless people during this cold winter.

December 2022
Members generously made dozens of pans of baked ziti  which were distributed by Livingston Neighbors Helping Neighbors to local families facing food insecurity. 

November 2022
Members of SAC participated in the Second Annual Journey for the Living Walk and exercise challenge to benefit the Mark Schonwetter Holocaust Education Foundation, which supports Holocaust education for students in schools around the country and provides funds necessary for educators to implement Holocaust curriculum into their lesson plans.

October 2022
In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, SAC supported Comfort Project 360 by donating items for Barnabus Health's Comfort Cart, a mobile cart that delivers healthy snacks with a personal touch to patients undergoing chemotherapy or radiation, and Welcome Kits filled with items to soothe the body, mind and spirit.

June 2022
TBA congregants were so generous in June. First, some 20 families made homemade meals for Family Promise, formerly Interfaith Hospitality Network. A few weeks later, a collection of baby formula, cereal and food helped those dealing with food insecurity feed their children.

May 2022
The collection of fresh fruit and veggies helped folks get ready for Memorial Day Weekend. Livingston Neighbors Helping Neighbors distributed the produce to local shelters and other outlets helping those with food insecurity.

April 2022
Generous TBA congregants donated 3,300 menstual pads in packages of 28, 30, 32, and 36. Donations went to Grace Temple in Newark, Isaiah House in East Orange, and Livingston Neighbors Helping Neighbors to be taken to a church in Newark for distribution. Stacey Abenstein was the chair of this Mitzvah project. Sisterhood—The Women’s Connection partnered with the Social Action Committee on this project.

MOTM may 2022

March 2022
The March Mitzvah was a huge success. About 20 families made 50 trays of ziti and lasagne for local food pantries. 

February 2022 - TBA volunteers made PB&J lunches by the dozen for distribution to those facing food insecurity. 

TBA congregants showed up for this effort and knitted and crocheted and purchased so that kids, teens, and adults could stay warm: Grace Temple received 75 sets (hats, scarves, mittens — adults and kids); IMG_3437
Cleveland School, Newark, received 80 sets (kids);
Family Promise received 10 adult and 5 kids sets;
Livingston Neighbors Helping Neighbors received 300 sets; Isaiah House received 60 sets.


Members created snack bags, some with packets of instant cocoa, candy canes, and fruit. Others had a new pair of socks and maybe some cookies. These bags of holiday cheer were donated to Livingston Neighbors Helping Neighbors (LNHN), who then distributed them to St. Ann’s, St. John’s and St. Michael’s and St. Rocco’s Churches in Newark.

October 2021 Mitzvah: Keeping it Clean

A large collection of paper goods and household cleaning supplies were donated, even with the donation window shortened by inclement weather. The supplies were used by shelters and food kitchens in Newark. 

August 2021 Mitzvah: Diapers and Such

Members donated 2,800 disposable diapers, 730 baby wipes, 30 tubes of diaper cream, and 10 bottles of baby shampoo and body wash. The collection was sponsored by the TBA’s Social Action Committee, the TBA Early School and its Jewish Learning Program. These items were donated to Livingston Neighbors Helping Neighbors (LNHN), who delivered them to three churches in Newark – St. Ann’s, St. Michael’s and St. JHelenFarberTBA.jpgohn’s.

TBA member Helen Farber drops off her donation for August’s Mitzvah of the Month.

June 2021: 

Temple B’nai Abraham Social Action Committee co-chairs Janet Penn and Ruth Ross sort packages of feminine hygiene products collected, in partnership with the Sisterhood—The Women’s Connection, for the June Mitzvah of the Month. Over 5,400 sanitary napkins were donated. These products were distributed to Newark Emergency Services for Families (NESF) and to three churches in Newark through Livingston Neighbors Helping Neighbors (LNHN). 



Congregants made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and assembled breakfast/lunch bags filled with the sandwich, a pair of socks, a piece of fruit, and a snack. Over 450 bagged meals were delivered to four Newark churches by Livingston Neighbors Helping Neighbors. The JLP and Teen Tikkun Olam partnered with the Social Action Committee on this activity.

APRIL 2021: PRODUCE FOR POSITIVITY.  Temple B’nai Abraham’s congregants donated over 400 bags of vegetables and fruit—bagged potatoes, onions, carrots, apples, and oranges—to be delivered to food insecure residents of Essex County by Livingston Neighbors Helping Neighbors. Committee co-chairs Janet Penn and Ruth Ross estimated that, with an average of four pounds of produce in each bag, the total collected was around 1,600 pounds

March 2021: TBA congregant families contributed pans of meatless baked ziti to ease the food insecurity faced by our Essex County neighbors. Livingston Neighbors Helping Neighbors (LNHN) picked up the ziti meals from the Temple and delivered them to neighbors in Livingston and Newark.

February 2021: This collection secured warm hats for adults, teens and children, scarves, mittens, and gloves. Many, many bags were filled and Nick Santinelli from Livingston Neighbors Helping Neighbors (LNHN) came to TBA to collect the generously donated items for delivery to three churches in Newark for distribution. What a mitzvah!

Tue, July 23 2024 17 Tammuz 5784