“If I am not for myself, who will be for me? But if I am only for myself, who am I? If not now, when?” – Ethics of the Fathers, 1:14
Tzedakah is often thought to mean charity, but it actually means righteousness, fairness or justice. At Congregation Kol Ami we work to create tzedakah in our community year-round with our mitzvot.
Each quarter, to repair the world and help us recognize the impact we can have on our community, we sponsor three distinct programs:
Tikun Olam are Hebrew words that mean “healing the world”, conveying the message of the ancient prophets — Amos, Isaiah, Jeremiah and Micah, among them — that it is incumbent upon us to help make the world a better place through the mitzvot we perform.
We present this annual award to an individual or organization, in and beyond Philadelphia, to recognize stellar achievements that promote understanding and dialogue among people of different faiths, races and ethnicity. The individual who is honored is presented with a piece of artwork of Moredechai Rosenstein.
Past recipients have included:
Hanukkah at Kol Ami is not only about receiving, but also about giving. In our effort to give back to the community, each year our Social Action Committee organizes and promotes a HanukkahWeek of Giving. During this week, members can join in a range of hands-on opportunities for helping, or take advantage of donation opportunities. In the past, Kol Ami members of all ages have sung at the Abramson Center for Jewish Life, collected toys and clothing for Cradles to Crayons, and much more.
One of our most successful ongoing projects is the purchase of holiday gifts for children in local foster care through our relationship with Concern, a non-denominational foster care provider agency. Concern, a recipient of our Tikun Olam Award, provides us with a wish list for all of their children. We assign one child to each Religious School class, and provide for the rest through donations. In 2009, we were able to provide gifts for approximately sixty children.