Submission #342 by Olam Tikvah Men's Club - Fairfax, VA (1147)

Submission information
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified)
Wed, 2013-05-01 18:38
173.192.238.77
I have read the General Guidelines, "Nuts and Bolts" and Program Advanced Planning (Excel Spreadsheet) Documents
Club Name
Olam Tikvah Men's Club - Fairfax, VA (1147)
Annual Gleaning for the Poor
Club Representative
Person completing form
Robert
Watts
Club President at time of Convention
Eric
Rothberg
Club President Now
Eric
Rothberg
Shomrei Ha’aretz

Page 1

The Olam Tikvah Men’s Club conducts an annual gleaning for the poor at a synagogue member couple’s farm, engaging members and families of all ages in collecting vegetable for a local food bank. The goal of the program is to engage the community in performing and learning about the mitzvah of gleaning and performing tzedakah for the poor.
The Olam Tikvah Men’s Club has sponsored two annual gleanings of vegetables at the Gainesville, VA “Stoney Lonesome Farm” of OT members Esther and Pablo Elliott (just outside the DC metro area), in memory of their son Hirsch who was stillborn in July 2009. OT Asst. Rabbi Ita Paskind participate in the gleaning, and at the first on September 25, 2011, she discussed the the mitzvah’s connection to Sukkot and the Jewish values of protecting the environment. The second gleaning took place at the Elliott’s farm on October 21, 2012, and at this events there was a short introduction about the farm, the mitzvah of gleaning, and gleaning's connection to helping those in need and protecting the environment.

Both events were huge success both in terms of participation and the results.

Over 50 volunteers—including families from the Men’s Club, the Olam Tikvah religious school and preschool, Cub Scouts from OT’s Pack 1818, and GMU Hillel members participated in each of the gleaning. Given the limitation on the numbers that could participate, given the size of the farm and the task, both gleanings were oversubscribed and people RSVP’ing at the last minute had to be turned away.

With respect to the results, at the first gleaning we collected almost 200 pounds of green beans and tomatoes that were donated to the Capital Area Food Bank, and at the second gleaning the community picked a large quantity of lettuce and carrots to donate to the food bank.

The program was organized by current Club Co-President Eric Rothberg (who was Social Action Chair at the time of the first gleaning) and did not require a large amount of organization and publicity. A few notices in the synagogue Shabbat Bulletin and the monthly newsletter, a couple of notice in the monthly Men’s Club e-mail to membership, and some publicity through religious school and Cub Scout channels were sufficient to produce an overflow turnout. Of course, it is difficult to reproduce in a heavily populated area where a club is unlikely to have farmers as members, but if a farm is available this is a very positive, easy to organize and productive activity.

Page 2

Self Assessment
This program performed a mitzvah set forth in the Torah: “And when you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap all the way to the edges of your field, or gather the gleanings of your harvest; you shall leave them for the poor and the stranger; I the Lord am your G-d.” (Vayikrah/Leviticus 23:22)

The events were extremely popular with members of the synagogue community of all sizes, and involved the club in a very positive activity related to two important mitzvot. While simple, it was an innovation for the synagogue for members to perform such a “hands on” activity, and about 25% of the members of the club participated.
In addition to the Shomrei Ha'aretz purpose, the event attracted many younger families and younger men, consist with the FJMC hador haba initiative. Thus it met the tagline elements of both Innovation and Community, and as it was organized by the Men’s Club for the entire community, Leadership as well.
Original Program
Previous Submission
Yes