by Sergio Carmona
Jewish Journal, April 8, 2022
Money raised through an ongoing partnership between a synagogue and a Jewish social services agency is providing food to vulnerable individuals and families in Palm Beach County who face food insecurity.
Since 2013, Temple Emanu-El of Palm Beach and its congregants have raised more than $81,000 for Ferd & Gladys Alpert Jewish Family Service in West Palm Beach through a program that replaces flowers with food.
Rabbi Michael Resnick of Temple Emanu-El noted that it is customary at many synagogues for the congregants to sponsor flowers that are displayed on the bimah for Shabbat. However, the synagogue encourages people who want to give to donate a food basket in lieu of donating a flower arrangement. The money collected for the food basket is then donated by the synagogue directly to Alpert JFS to help feed families in need in Palm Beach County.
“In 2009, a member of our congregation approached me and asked if instead of flowers, could we collect funds to be donated to Alpert JFS for holiday food baskets,” Resnick said in a news release. “I agreed, and that tradition quickly became a weekly tradition.”
As part of the partnership, the synagogue presented a check for $18,750 to the agency and its food insecurity program. Specifically, the money will fund the Alpert JFS Kosher Food Pantry and overall efforts to reduce food insecurity in Palm Beach County.
Marc Hopin, the agency’s chief executive officer, said in the news release, “Alpert JFS is committed to ending food insecurity and hunger in our community.”
“The generosity of Temple Emanu-El congregants allows us to give food throughout the year to individuals and families who are struggling with food insecurity,” Hopin continued. “The face of food insecurity can be homebound elderly living on meager incomes but can just as easily be young families facing financial challenges, setbacks, and job loss. No matter who they are, we are committed to helping.”