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Bohm Social Justice Initiative


Over 700 volunteers from the Jewish, Muslim and other faith communities participated in the 2014 Jewish and Muslim Day of Community Service on Christmas Day, 2014. Many of the volunteers attended a welcome breakfast at the Daar Ul Islam Mosque, then fanned out to 22 different community service sites from St. Charles to downtown St. Louis City. The 2014 co-chairs were Jerry Hochsztein, Sophie Malik, Tony Mughal and Karen Silverman. Below are some pictures from the 2014 Day of Community Service. Pictured are volunteers at the Little Projects, Little Hands site (making no-sew blankets for St. Louis Crisis Nursery), volunteers at the Harvey Kornblum Jewish Food Pantry, Rabbi Noah Arnow of Kol Rinah at the welcome breakfast, and a group shot from the breakfast.



On Monday July 14, 2014, JCRC's Bohm Social Justice Initiative hosted 23 middle school students who are participating in Cultural Leadershi's new social justice/civil rights themed summer camp. The campers rotated between two community service projects: making greeting cards to benefits the non-profit groups Girls Love Mail and Ronald McDonald House and working in the JCC's Garden of Eden to harvest produce for clients of the Harvey Kornblum Jewish Food Pantry. The campers made 49 greeting cards/gifts and harvested 122 pounds of produce.

Below are some photos from the event.


Close to 170 people attended the 2014 Community Hunger Seder co-sponsored by JCRC and its Newmark Institute for Human Relations and the Office of Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs of the Archdiocese of Saint Louis. Collaborating agencies were Bread for the World, The Harvey Kornblum Jewish Food Pantry (of JF & CS of Saint Louis), Missouri Association for Social Welfare and Operation Food Search. Those attending the event, held at the Rigali Center, read from a special Haggadah that told the story of escape from slavery to freedom in terms of the problem of hunger. Participants learned about the ways they could help alleviate hunger through volunteering, donating and advocacy. The Seder was part of a national mobilization coordinated by the Jewish Council for Public Affairs and MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger.


Larry Welch of the Archdiocese of Saint Louis welcomes the group


Brother Lorenzo of Aquinas Institute gives a reading at the Seder

Group shot of the 170 attendees

Lou Albert, Executive Director of Jewish Family & Children's Service, reads from the Hagaddah


On Monday February 17, 2014 (President's Day), over 30 volunteers from the Jewish and Mormon communities held a volunteer day at Operation Food Search in University City. Organized by the JCRC and the Latter Day Saints community, this event brought together teens from the two faith communities to sort donated goods, to compost foods past their expiration dates and to learn more about the work of Operation Food Search. The afternoon ended with a discussion about ways the teens could continue to help those who suffer from food insecurity in the region. Teens from the Jewish community represented Central Reform Congregation, Congregation Shaare Emeth, Kol Rinah, Temple Israel, United Hebrew Congregation and Young Israel. Pictures from the event are below. The first photo show all of the teens before beginning the project.

Steve Baer, Volunteer Coordinator at Operation Food Search, showing the teens the warehouse where food is stored and sorted.


(left to right) Marcia Orgill from the Latter Day Saints community and David Bohm of the Jewish Community Relations Council, lead a discussion with the teens.



700 Volunteers Participate in 2013 Jewish and Muslim Day of Service

Once again in 2013, turnout was strong for the annual Jewish and Muslim Day of Service co-sponsored by JCRC and the Islamic Foundation of Greater St. Louis. Approximately 700 people volunteered, an increase over last year's number of participants. As in past years, volunteers went to 21 service sites. Sites included the Dar Ul Islam Mosque (site of a soup making project for area food pantries), Saint Louis Crisis Nursery, the Saint Louis Juvenile Detention Center, Almost Home, The Bridge and Gateway 180 (two area homeless shelters) as well as many other locations. Co-Chairs for the 2013 event were Roberta Gutwein of JCRC and Zubaida Ibrahim of the Islamic Foundation. Those attending the annual welcome breakfast heard from Dr. Waheed Rana on behalf of the Muslim community and Rori Picker Neiss on behalf of the Jewish community.


Pictured below, from left, are JCRC volunteers Noam and David Kantor at the Gateway 180 volunteer site with Fresh Strart bags created for clients of the shelter.

From left to right: Co-Chair Roberta Gutwein, Bohm Social Justice Initiative Chair Gerry Greiman, Co-Chair Zubaida Ibrahim.

Shown above are the volunteers for the Visits to Police and Fire Fighters site before leaving to deliver holiday cookies.

Read the article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch about the 2013 Day of Service

Photos from the 2012 Jewish and Muslim
Day of Service


Read the Blog by our JCRC Poverty Intern 2012

Karen Solomon Young Adult Service Initiative

One of the core tenets of Judaism is that Jews have an obligation to practice Tikkun Olam, repair of the world. As is written in Pirke Avot: “While it is not required of you to finish the task, neither are you free to desist from it.”

The Karen Solomon Young Adult Service Initiative, a project co-sponsored by JCRC in 2012 and 2013, provided an opportunity for young adults in the Jewish community to help “repair the world.” Ongoing volunteer projects geared to young adults took place at Gateway 180: Homelessness Reversed. Gateway 180 is an emergency shelter for women and children located in the City of St. Louis. Its mission is to provide a safe and nurturing environment designed to get women, children and families into transitional or permanent homes in under 30 days.

The Karen Solomon Young Adult Service Initiative was a project of the Jewish Federation of St. Louis. Co-sponsors of the program are the Jewish Community Relations Council of St. Louis, Next Dor STL and the Jewish Community Center of St. Louis.

What People have said about Volunteering at Gateway 180

“Gateway 180 is an amazing volunteer site.”

“Very organized and the clients appreciative.”

“ Volunteering at Gateway 180 was a heart-changing moment.”

“Spending time with the families and giving the children a chance to be kids really seemed to brighten their spirits.”


Solomon Initiative volunteers invited the children of Gateway 180 to the Next Dor house in the Central West End for an afternoon of Halloween Fun on Sunday October 27, 2013. They also welcomed Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri, who visited with the children and volunteers and thanked the volunteers for their community service.


Pictures from past Solomon events:

The Solomon volunteers enjoyed playing games, doing hula hoop and sharing cool summer treats with the children at the June 23 event.  June birthdays were celebrated too!

Eli Temkin and Emma Eisemann playing an elephant game with children at the shelter

Volunteer Ryan Lebow     

Allison Shore colors with one of the children    

Volunteers have a great time celebrating Spring at Gateway 180

The Solomon Initiative and Nishmah partnered on a wonderful event on Sunday April 19 at Gateway 180. Volunteers celebrated April birthdays and the arrival of spring with craft projects, face painting and juggling. A wonderful time was had by all!

Photos from the event are below.

From March Event (below):

Alec Engelberg in St. Patrick's Day garb plays with the children in the shelter

Volunteers at CRC prepared food packages for clients of Gateway 180 homeless shelter

   A volunteer helping a resident               Alec Engelberg with a resident of Gateway 180

2012 Fighting Poverty with Faith Event a Success

Fighting Poverty with Faith
November 11th, 2012
Harvey Kornblum Jewish Food Pantry

Every year the JCRC participates in a national effort known as Fighting Poverty with Faith.  This year, on Sunday, November 11th, sixteen students gathered tovolunteer for two hours at the Harvey Kornblum Jewish Food Pantry.  They helped pack bagswith foodthat would be picked up throughout the week by local clients.  This volunteer day served as an educational experience for the youth as well.  In a small discussion, they were challenged to think about the prevalence of hunger in the St. Louis area as well as the difficulties they would face if they were in a situation in which they received help from the food pantry. In total, they packed over 200 bags of food that would be distributed to the food pantry’s clients throughout the following week.

Molly Loughran, JCRC Fall 2012 Poverty Intern     Fighting Poverty with Faith student participants
and Don Meissner, Harvey Kornblum Jewish Food  in action
Pantry, talk to the students about how to pack
bags for clients of the food pantry




National Resources:

Mazon: A Jewish Response to Hunger (national non-profit dedicated to preventing and alleviating hunger among people of all faiths and backgrounds)

Bread for the World (national group that advocates for policies that reduce hunger at home and abroad)

Feeding America


Local Resources:

Feeding Missouri

Harvey Kornblum Jewish Food Pantry (part of Jewish Family & Children’s Service)

Operation Food Search (a food bank serving the St. Louis bi-state area)

Watch the Ladue View story about the 2011 Hunger Seder



Social Justice refers to the recognition of social inequality and the commitment to rectify through action, service, and education. 

Social Action is our ability to mobilize on behalf of a cause – volunteering, advocating, teaching, mentoring, giving resources/goods or money.

Please see our Volunteer and Donate Goods pages to learn more about how YOU can get involved.

For more information contact Gail Wechsler (314) 442-3894 or


"It is not for you to complete the work, nor are you free to desist from it."
Rabbi Tarfon, Pirke Avot 2:20



Jewish Community Relations Council of St. Louis | 12 Millstone Campus Dr. | St. Louis, MO 63146 | 314-442-3871 |