Through a program coordinated by the nonprofit agency Family Promise, members of HWS Hillel helped Temple Beth-El congregants convert classroom space into housing for approximately 14 homeless individuals at the synagogue on South Main Street.
“One of our core beliefs is tikkun olam, which means repairing the world. We believe that everyone has a responsibility to make the world a better place, both within and outside of your community,” says Hillel President Tzipora Glaser ’18, who is also a resident assistant on campus. “Our desire to stay engaged with Geneva aligns closely with the dedication of HWS, so we’re happy to support the work of Temple Beth-El and Family Promise.”
Students helped remove schoolbooks and furniture from classrooms that will house the temple’s temporary residents in coming months. Through Family Promise, displaced adults will access resources daily to help secure permanent housing and employment, while children will have transportation to and from school or daycare. For the region’s population, the organization provides an essential role in a county that lacks a homeless shelter available to the general public.
“No matter what your religion is, I feel like it’s important to be engaged and help your community when you can,” says David Reinharz ’21, who is also a member of the Hobart tennis team.
Founded in 1986, Family Promise is dedicated to aiding and creating opportunities for homeless families. The organization aids more than 750,000 people across the United States annually with the support of more than 180,000 volunteers. Through the program, more than 74 percent of families secure permanent housing within nine weeks.
Hillel’s afternoon with Temple Beth-El on Sunday was the group’s first service event of the semester. Hillel meets weekly for Shabbat at the Abbe Center for Jewish Life.