Temple Shalom Cantor Rose Eberle singing with local Church leadership at Church on the Square in The Villages at an interfaith event.
Focus on The Social Action Committee
“Our goal is to integrate ourselves into the community,” says Sandy Solomon, Chairperson of the Social Action Committee for Temple Shalom. “Most of our programs are educational.” One of those programs is the Inter-Faith Thanksgiving Service which seeks mutual understanding and tolerance and usually involves two or three local churches. “Sheldon ran the service in the past, but this year it was held at The United Church of Christ. While their pastor led the service, Sheldon and our Temple were still an integral part of it,” says Sandy.
The Committee also strives to connect with local school districts. Steve Lowe, another member of the ten person Committee, successfully contacted the Sumter County School Board and showed them the film Paper Clips, a documentary about students from Tennessee who create a unique monument for Holocaust victims. “The Superintendent of Schools was so impressed,” says Sandy, “that teachers from the district came to the Temple to see it.” Thanks to the efforts of this committee, the Sumter County School District put a holocaust program into their middle and high schools. The Committee is trying to do the same thing with the Marion County School Board. Sue Kirschenbaum, another Social Action Committee member, is trying to bring Chanukah into local schools and member Charlotte Newman is trying to connect with other Jewish organizations in the area so that we can learn from each other and share ideas.
For the past five years, The Social Action Committee has supported the Martin Luther King Commemorative Breakfast held every January at the Savannah Center. Sandy Solomon is on the board of the Commemorative Committee and the representative from Temple Shalom. Last year Sheldon was a keynote speaker with an audience of over 500 people. “This year we have 42 people from Temple Shalom who will be attending the breakfast on January 8th,” says Sandy. But educating the community is not the only benefit of this breakfast. Profits from the breakfast and money from individual donors like Wal-Mart go toward college scholarships to students who have shown promise in activism and community support. Last year, the Temple was also able to give $2,200 of the profits to The Villages Hospice.
2011 Interfaith Holocaust Rememberance Day at Temple Shalom involved representatives from Temple Shalom and several local churches
Three years ago, the Temple celebrated Israel’s 60th anniversary. “We had a program that included speakers, Israeli food and music - it was wonderful,” says Sandy. But perhaps the best event the Committee was ever involved in, and one that embodied the heart and soul of the group, was an outreach program to the community that was the brainchild of Herb Braman. “Gail’s late husband was a Catholic and belonged to St. Mark’s too,” says Sandy. “Herb knew that a lot of people in his church had never been to a temple. Once we had our own building, he suggested inviting them to see what we’re all about. We had a great response - people just kept coming. Sheldon was great! He opened the Torah, showed them what Hebrew looked like and explained the stained glass windows. People asked questions and it was so enlightening.”
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Gary Kadow of Save Our Soldiers (SOS, a soldier support group), Guest Lecturer at May 2011 Brotherhood Spousal Appreciation Day
November 11, 2011 Honor Our Veterans Shabbat Service
Temple Shalom and its members actively participate on an annual basis soliciting food donations for the local Seeds of Hope food bank.
Stan Goodman of Temple Shalom and the The Villages Dixieland Band entertain at 2013 Seeds of Hope food and fund raising event, held at Temple Shalom
The Social Action Committee is not only committed to educating and interacting with the greater community, but also devoted to interaction and education within the temple. “We host mini parties for new members to make them feel comfortable,” says Sandy. For the past three years, the group has also run the successful Jewish Film Series. December’s movie was A Woman Named Golda and last year a number of foreign films with Jewish themes were featured. Admission to the films is free.
Watch for information about these upcoming events sponsored by the Social Action Committee
The Social Action Committee is always looking for new members and new ideas. For more information, contact Sandy Solomon or Lois Podoshen. Their contact information is in the Temple members directory, and, or, you can securely log in to the Member's Only webpage.