Community Synagogues: Collaborating for Good

During the last six months, we have seen community agencies and organizations across the board collaborate on an incredible array of new initiatives, both to address the impact of the pandemic on different demographics within the community, and to respond to the myriad challenges facing our community partners. For instance, in our June issue, we highlighted how the camps, schools and the JCC came together to ensure our kids could enjoy a great summer of camp activities, albeit in a different format.  

Synagogues have also been actively engaged with community agencies and community members in new and heartfelt ways to ensure our most vulnerable don’t go hungry, and to support current and emerging needs. Here are some examples of their recent collaborations:

Food Security

  • Chabad of Richmond, Congregation Beth Tikvah and Kehila Society of Richmond have joined forces to ensure that more than 100 community members receive healthy, nutritious meals as well as regular home-style Shabbat dinners; and
  • Congregation Beth Israel has teamed up with Jewish Family Services (JFS) to help manage food drop-off logistics for Project Isaiah and the first-ever COVID Drive-Thru Drop Off on September 29.


  • Or Shalom has been working closely with our Seniors Services Committee, and has offered the assistance of their Gemilut Chesed volunteers to help socially isolated seniors with errands.

Community Recovery

  • Temple Sholom has just launched their High Holy Day Half-Shekel campaign, and this year they have offered congregants an opportunity to direct 25% of their donation to Jewish Federation's Community Recovery Fund. By doing so, they are effectively collaborating with all our partner agencies: all funds raised will be used specifically to support community services and programs impacted by COVID-19.

Participation in Jewish Life

  • Congregation Har El played an active role in Jewish Federation’s Connect Me In Free Challah Delivery Program, serving as a delivery point for North Shore families participating in the initiative;
  • Congregation Schara Tzedeck and JFS have been working together to deliver weekly “Shabbat in a Box” meals to more than 300 older adults and isolated community members; and
  • Congregation Schara Tzedeck and Burquest Jewish Community Association each partnered with JFS to ensure community members could celebrate Rosh Hashanah at home and enjoy traditional holiday foods. Several hundred “Rosh Hashanah in a Box” packages were assembled and delivered from their respective facilities to seniors, JFS clients and families in the Lower Mainland and the Tri-Cities.

These initiatives are just a few of the ways synagogues continue to support and enrich our communities during the pandemic, and we are very grateful. For more information about their High Holiday services and wide variety of online programs and support services, have a look at our COVID-19 resources or visit your synagogue’s website.