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Social Action Tzedek Team

Are you interested in getting involved with Kol Rinah Social Action?

Kol Rinah Tzedek Team (Social Action) Mission
The Social Action Team builds a relational culture of pursuing tzedek, or justice, at Kol Rinah. We aim to be the rallying point for tzedek in our community. Furthermore, we seek to develop leaders within our community who can advance the cause of tikkun olam, repairing the world, locally and globally. 
Interested in being involved, Contact:
Kol Rinah Social Action Survey
Please take a few minutes to tell us what social action topics you are interested in:

May 2023 Tzedek Team News

Calling all gardeners, crafters and doers! Join the Kol Rinah community for Mitzvah Day 2023 on Sunday, May 7, from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm, with lunch provided at no charge by the Brotherhood. Sisterhood will again provide snacks.
This year, we have offered our communal efforts to even more non-profit organizations. We have organized a blood drive with ImpactLife. We will be making stress balls to aid in the rehabilitation of veterans at the VA, crafting blankets for the patients at BJC Hospice, assembling soup mixes for the Harvey Kornblum Jewish Food Pantry, packing dinners for Operation Food Search, and writing letters to thank Israeli Soldiers for their efforts through, among other activities. And “good conduct dog” Lola will again join us as we make pet toys for the Humane Society of Missouri.
We also hope to enrich the natural environment of Kol Rinah by installing plantings to prevent erosion on our grounds. We need everyone, from expert gardeners to those willing to dig the holes, to volunteer their time and expertise to make this happen.
While young families will find activities (and hot dogs) that they will enjoy, Mitzvah Day needs the efforts of congregants of all ages to complete the projects organized for the day.
If you have not yet signed up, please do so now! Sign up here to attend and here to reserve a time to donate blood. Everyone, from ages 2 to 102, can help us make a difference in our community!
Denise Field
Tzedek Team Communications Co-Chair

March 2023 Tzedek Team News

Mitzvah Day 2023 is Sunday, May 7! The Tzedek Team invites congregants of all ages to participate in a day of Tikkun Olam, repairing the world. Activities will begin at 11:30 am, just as KoREH classes end, and will extend through 1:30 pm.
Over 100 people attended Kol Rinah’s inaugural Mitzvah Day last May. As a community, we packaged over 40 meals for families in need distributed through Operation Food Search, donated and boxed pounds and pounds of food for the Jewish Food Pantry, created blankets for the young children in the care of the Crisis Nursery, made dog toys for the canine residents of the Humane Society of Missouri, donated books to Ready Readers and learned about the works of many other non-profit organizations that serve the St. Louis area.
Mitzvah Day 2023 will succeed only if you help.
Do you have a favorite non-profit you would like us to support? Share your input by serving on the Mitzvah Day Planning Committee. Our next meeting will be Wednesday, March 15 at 7pm, via Zoom. Contact Denise Field for the link.
Show your enthusiasm for the event by signing up for the Mitzvah Day Host Committee.
Be a volunteer on May 7. If you can lead others in a joint project, move a table, put up a sign, or just greet folks at the door, we need you as a volunteer! Over 30 of your friends and fellow congregants volunteered at Mitzvah Day last year. Please join them!
And, of course, plan to attend and invite your friends and family to join you!
Please contact Mitzvah Day Chair Denise Field at for more information or to volunteer to help.
Denise Field
Tzedek Team Communications Co-Chair

January 2023 Tzedek Team News

Seeking Volunteers to Plan Mitzvah Day in the Spring
The Tzedek Team at Kol Rinah is seeking volunteers to help plan our second Mitzvah Day. This event will take place on Sunday, May 7. It’s a day of service and fun for all ages.The event takes place at our congregation with different organizations featured from our St. Louis community. Hands-on activities gave everyone an opportunity to participate. There were flower pots to plant and decorate, food kits to assemble, and blankets to make, just to name a few of our activities. The event requires a team to brainstorm service projects, reach out to community organizations, and plan details of the day to ensure everything runs smoothly. If this sounds like a project for you and you'd like to volunteer or learn more, contact Denise Field,
Cindy Kalachek
Tzedek Team Communications Co-Chair

November 2022 Tzedek Team News

Mark your calendars and sign up for our next Blood Drive, taking place on December 13 from 3-6pm. Sign up with this link:
As we approach this fall and winter holiday season, the Tzedek Team hopes you will consider adding a few more food and pantry items to your shopping cart and donating them to the Harvey Kornblum Food Pantry. Donation bins are conveniently located at the shul.
Finally, the Tzedek Team is seeking new leadership positions for our committee. If you are interested in ways to engage our Kol Rinah community in pursuits of social justice, please consider serving on our steering committee or attending our monthly meetings. We meet virtually on the third Thursday of every month at 8:30 pm.
Benjamin Singer
Tzedek Team Chair
Cindy Kalachek
Tzedek Team Communications Co-Chair

September 2022 Tzedek Team News

Resolution for the New Jewish Year, 5783: Pursue justice with Kol Rinah
Sign up to work the polls this November; donate food, blood, and time!
In this past year, we have made strides in our synagogue and surrounding communities by hosting blood drives, cleaning a local stream, collecting food donations, helping Beyond Housing re-organize one of their locations, and advocating for just causes, rooted in Jewish texts and tradition. We hosted Kol Rinah’s first Mitzvah Day and look forward to growing it in the future. In this year ahead, we will continue to pursue acts of lovingkindness and social justice.
This new year, we are inviting you to consider pursuing acts of tzedek (justice) through Kol Rinah’s Tzedek Team. You can sign up for a single event or commit to joining our team and bring your ideas to our monthly meetings. Officer roles are available.
You are invited to participate in a few ways:
1. Support democracy in November and earn $200! Sign up to be an official St. Louis County poll worker this November at Those with a Republican party preference are especially needed because every poll requires a bipartisan team. Please notify Kol Rinah member Aaron Schwartz,, once you’ve applied so we can keep track of how many Kol Rinah members are participating. This is part of the national More Perfect Union: Jewish Partnership for Democracy.
2. Bring food donations for the Jewish Food Pantry to Yom Kippur Kol Nidre services. There is a bin marked for collection of food items for the Harvey Kornblum Food Pantry. So anytime you come to shul, bring non-perishable food to donate.
3. Save the date for December 13 to donate blood. Our 2nd annual winter blood drive is Tuesday, December 13 at 3-6pm at Kol Rinah. Signup coming soon.
4. Join our monthly meeting! The Tzedek Team meets virtually on the fourth Thursday evening of each month at 8:30pm. To join our meeting, please contact Benjamin Singer,, with “Tzedek” in the subject line to let him know you’ll be joining and get the Zoom connection.
Become a Tzedek Team leader. Our chair is finishing 2 years, so we are seeking a new chair and some other officer roles. Let Benjamin know if you’re interested.
Here’s to a sweet new year pursuing justice together!
L’Shanah Tovah!
Benjamin Singer -Tzedek Team Chair
Cindy Kalachek- Tzedek Team Communications Co-Chair

July 2022 Tzedek Team Article

Mitzvah Day Rocked!
Thank you to all who helped make Mitzvah Day a success! A special thank you goes to Co-Chairs Denise Field and Penny Alper, the Mitzvah Day Committee and the Tzedek Committee who planned this great event, overseeing the many details and logistics needed to make it happen. The Women's Social Group, Sisterhood, Brotherhood, KoREH, ECC and USY served as wonderful co-sponsors. Much of the behind the scenes work was made possible by Tovah Enger, Stacey Hudson and Melissa Bellows. The day wouldn’t have happened without the Kol Rinah community – you showed up with piles of children’s books, bags of canned food, and a spirit that was ready to take on the tasks at hand.
To recap, the outside organizations that participated - representatives of JCRC, Show Me Integrity, Ready Readers and the Humane Society of Missouri attended in person.  We also completed projects to benefit the Harvey Kornblum Jewish Food Pantry, Operation Food Search and the
St. Louis Crisis Nursery.
We hope this event becomes a cherished tradition in the future of Kol Rinah. AND, we believe that Mitzvah Day is just the beginning: we look forward to many opportunities (for all ages) for KR to engage in activities to benefit those in need in the larger St. Louis community. All are welcome to join the Tzedek Committee – we meet virtually on the 3rd Thursday of the month at 8:30 pm. Contact me at

May 2022 Tzedek Team Article

Mitzvah Day is Sunday May 15!
Kol Rinah’s Mitzvah Day is only days away! Join Kol Rinah to make a difference in the lives of people in St. Louis and beyond.
There will be activities for all ages to perform tikkun olam and repair our world. Organizations like the Harvey Kornblum Jewish Food Pantry, the Humane Society of Missouri, Operation Food Search, Ready Readers, Beyond Housing, and Crown Center for Senior Living among others will benefit from our activities. A special thank you goes to all of those who worked hard to make this day a memorable and meaningful event and Stacey Hudson and Melissa Bellows for their time and energy in making this day a success. Thanks to the ECC, KoREH and Sisterhood who have been wonderful co-sponsors of this event. We are grateful to Denise Field for her leadership and guidance in making Mitzvah Day a success.
Let’s start Mitzvah Day off on a great note! Bring some cans of food for the Harvey Kornblum Jewish Food Pantry (find a list of needed items here) or a couple of new or gently used children’s books to donate to Ready Readers.

Social Action Updates

Food Donation Event Kickoff April 9
The kickoff event for a food donation event will be a presentation during Shabbat services on April 9th. Erica Steen, the director of the Jewish Food Pantry, will be speaking about food insecurity and issues specific to the St. Louis area. From April 25th until May 15 (Mitzvah Day), we will be collecting items for donation to the Food Pantry. Here are the items needed:
Any non-perishable food that is NOT expired and not in a glass jar
- Proteins: tuna, peanut butter, nuts
- Soups and stews
- Pasta
- Fruits and vegetables in cans
Toiletries – full size but not oversized – think about what you would buy for your family
Cleaning Supplies and paper goods – laundry detergent, hand soap, toilet paper, paper towels
Dry Pet Food
Advocacy Against Bill Allowing "Guns in Churches"
A bill currently being heard in the Missouri legislature would change the provisions regarding guns. Whereas currently it is illegal for anyone to bring a firearm into a house of worship without the explicit permission of the faith leader, this would shift the law to make it permissible unless houses of worship post specific signs of specific sizes and fonts in specific locations explicitly banning firearms from their premises.
This bill, HB 1464 (full text here)—which would allow guns in houses of worship and on public transit—has already passed the House and is now in the Senate in the General Laws Committee.  
While we have been told there is a good chance this bill does not move forward and so at this time we are not holding a press conference or doing anything large-scale that would rile people up give it more energy, we do want to do what we can to make our voices heard in opposition to this bill. (Text from Rori Picker-Neiss of JCRC.)

March 2022 Tzedek Team Article

Save the Date for Mitzvah Day: Sunday, May 15!
Kol Rinah’s Tzedek Team is thrilled to announce that Kol Rinah is holding Mitzvah Day! Save the date of Sunday, May 15! We need members of all ages to have fun, build relationships, and do some good deeds for worthy causes! Mitzvah projects will start at the synagogue and might even make it to various sites around St. Louis!
How you can help: If you have an idea for a project, know an organization that could use helping hands on a Sunday, or would like to participate in Mitzvah Day as a group (such as a shul auxiliary, club, or department), please reach out to Co-Chair Denise Field at Thank you to our other Mitzvah Day Co-Chairs Penny Alper and Sherri Besmer for helping us build an event that will bring the whole shul together.
In other news: our first blood drive was a success! We had 21 donors, and ImpactLife collected 16 units of blood, which could save up to 48 lives. Thank you to those that donated and especially to Katherine Tynan, who organized the event. Come donate again on Sunday, June 12. Our nation still has a major blood shortage, so your participation really saves lives.
Finally, congratulations to everyone who was elected to or is serving in an officer capacity with the Tzedek Team: Advocacy Co-Chairs Dr. Scott Kaar and Lauren Brenner, Interim Direct Service Chair Rhonda Bilger, Organizing Co-Chair Richard Gavatin (who needs a co-chair to serve with him!), Communications Co-Chairs Cindy Kalachek and Jaron Asher, and Chair Benjamin Singer. We also welcome new participants Becky Mollett, Dan Buchalter, and Alan Garelick who attended their first meeting.

January 2022 Tzedek Team Article

Join the Tzedek Team Steering Committee!
Are you interested in issues of social justice and the pursuit of tzedek in our Kol Rinah and greater St. Louis community? Kol Rinah’s Tzedek group is seeking new members to join our steering committee. Join us and play an integral role in the planning of programs and activities that address a range of Tzedek issues informed by our Jewish values including: addressing climate change, other public policy advocacy, and looking out for our community’s most vulnerable citizens, just to name a few. We officially meet on the fourth Thursday of every month at 8:30 pm.
Please sign up to join Tzedek here:
Blood donors needed January 30. Sign up now! Kol Rinah needs 20 people to sign up to give blood on Sunday, January 30! We currently have 3. Help us get to 20 donors! Sign up TODAY to donate blood at

November 2021 Tzedek Team Article

A big thank you to Laura Horwitz for leading the breakout discussion on social action during High Holiday services.
Perhaps you were inspired at the turn of the Jewish New Year to get involved in Kol Rinah activities? The Tzedek Team would like to extend an invitation to you to join our group. We meet once a month (always the last Thursday of the month at 8:30 pm) to plan ways for our synagogue to pursue justice and Tikkun Olam as a community. Diverse interests and experiences are welcome!
Spread the joy of Hanukkah by participating in Hannukkah Huigs this season. This program, jointly sponsored by Jewish Family Services and Women's Philanthropy is seeking donations of unwrapped, new toys, books and games for their Hanukkah Hugs Store. Donations of wrapping paper, tape and gift bags are also welcome. There will be a collection box at Kol Rinah until November 14. For questions about this program email Women's Philanthropy:
Finally, save the date of Sunday, January 23 for Kol Rinah’s Blood Drive (more details to come as the date arrives). Healthy adults who are at least 17 years old, and at least 110 pounds may donate. One pint of blood has the potential to save up to three lives!

September 2021 Tzedek Team Article

The Kol Rinah Tzedek Team cleans up nicely—for our planet!
Mazal Tov to our Rabbi Shafrin who will be serving on the national Rabbinical Assembly’s Social Justice Committee (SJC)!
Join Laura Horwitz and Tzedek Team Chair Benjamin Singer for an illuminating, Tzedek-themed breakout discussion during the high holidays. Learn more in the high holidays information.
Thank you to the Kol Rinah members who participated in our “Reverse Tashlich” event on August 8. Due to the hard work of Tzedek Direct Service Chair Katherine Tynan and the other volunteers who persisted in seeking out garbage in the heavy vegetation, we filled several garbage bags with trash! Removing debris helps the ecosystem thrive, on-site and downstream in the Mississippi River. Howard Granok saw some fish in the deeper parts of the creek, which is encouraging. Thank you to all who came out and cleaned up. We are so grateful for your help in keeping our waterways clean and looking forward to next time.
Thanks to all who came to our August 22 bagel brunch to learn about the Sierra Club’s Mayors for 100% Clean Energy initiative, which is an on-going municipal based clean-energy organizing campaign to build relationships/power in communities about clean energy adoption. The challenge calls on mayors – regardless of political party and municipality size – to support a vision of 100% clean and renewable energy in their communities. The Missouri Public Service Commission uses these commitments to inform utilities’ long term plans (Integrated Resource Plans) and hold them accountable for a transition to clean energy. Thanks to Tzedek Advocacy Co-Chair Dr. Scott Kaar for organizing the event.
Cindy Kalachek
Tzedek Team Communications Co-Chair

July 2021 Tzedek Team Article

Cleaning streams, sending cards to seniors, and more!
There is much going on with the Tzedek team! Opportunities are popping up both in and outside our Kol Rinah community and we hope you will get involved. First, we are beginning One-on-One conversations with our congregants. Why? We believe that meaningful relationships are the key for building a movement for justice. This will take the form of one-on-one conversations (for approximately 30 minutes) in which we find out more about our members and what they care about. Stay tuned for a Tzedek member to contact you.
In the month of June our committee participated in a training led by JOIN (Jewish Organizing Institute and Network) that supports Jewish leaders in their pursuits of organizing for justice both inside and outside of the Jewish community. We will be using the organizing skills we are learning to build meaningful relationships and find out what our community cares most about.
Thanks to all writers and artists of all ages who are helping us send caring greeting cards to residents at Crown Center and Brentmoor. If you would like to help by writing five cards to seniors, you can pick them up and drop them off at Young Families events or at the NEW shul office!
Need FREE kosher meals for your kids? KiwiKids offers free, kosher meals for families with children ages 1-18. There are no income eligibility requirements or location restrictions. Pickup is Wednesday evenings from 5-5:40pm at Torah Prep. You MUST register each week by Monday at 6pm. To join via email please reach out to For more information, visit
Finally, August 8th at 9:30am join us for stream cleanup in UCity. We’ll meet at the Ruth Park Trail entrance on McKnight, and receive supplies and instructions to beautify this local branch of the River Des Peres.
If you’d like to get added to our email list and calendar invitations, please contact Jaron Asher, or Cindy Kalachek,

May 2021 Tzedek Team Article

Join a Tzedek Initiative at Kol Rinah!
Seeking Leaders, Gardeners, Compassionate Communicators and Advocates
"Justice, justice shall you pursue, that you may thrive and occupy the land that the LORD your God is giving you."
Parashat Shoftim, Deuteronomy 16:20
With these words as our inspiration, Kol Rinah’s Tzedek team endeavors both to build relationships that strengthen our community and improve the world (Tikkun Olam.)
We work on initiatives in a variety of different areas of justice. We are seeking volunteers to help with our endeavors. For example:
  • Establish a Tzedek Ambassador in each Kol Rinah committee, department, and auxiliary. Interested in being a Tzedek Ambassador? Contact Skylar Swim,
  • Create a Mitzvah Garden outside the new building to grow vegetables for food pantries. Got a green thumb or ideas? Contact Food Security Chair Katherine Tynan,
  • Communicate with residents at the Crown Center. We will supply care cards and deliver them, too. Interested? Contact Direct Service Chair Dr. Sherri Besmer,
  • Advocate to improve people's lives in our region. Contact Dr. Scott Kaar, or Jessica Igielnik,
Many more events and initiatives are being planned.
If you’d like to get added to our email list and calendar invitations, please contact Jaron Asher, or Cindy Kalachek,
Fri, June 9 2023 20 Sivan 5783