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Social Action

OT's Social Action program is committed to tikkun olam (repairing the world) and projects are done throughout the year to benefit our community.

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Social Action in Isolation | Combat RacismSpecial Projects | Ongoing Initiatives

Social Action in Isolation

If you are looking for ways to support those in need in our community during this difficult time, please consider supporting the following initiatives with our partner organizations: Food For OthersINOVA Blood Services, FACETSthe Katherine Hanley Family Shelter and Fairfax County Communities of Trust.

Olam Tikvah's Social Action Committee has committed funds to support our partners at Food For Others, FACETS and the Katherine Hanley Family Shelter. During this difficult time, these organizations are experiencing a much greater demand for their services. A check can help them get scarce resources. We encourage you to support these organizations individually as well. You can mail a check to them with a letter or card enclosed and signed by you and your family.

Jump To:

Food For Others | Blood Drives | FACETS | Katherine Hanely Family Shelter | Mask Donations | Bikur Cholim

Food For Others

OT's donation to Food For Others will support our ongoing Power Pack Program (P3), which helps feed students at Annandale Terrace Elementary whose families rely on free and reduced school meals.

You can support their mission to help feed people in poverty in Fairfax County by mailing a check to:

Food For Others
Attn: Annie Turner, Executive Director
2938 Prosperity Ave
Fairfax, VA 22031

To direct funds specifically to the Power Pack Program, write "OT P3" in the memo line of the check.

Inova Blood Drives

The need for blood in our region has not subsided. You can still make a blood, plasma or platelet donation at select Inova blood donation centers with extended hours to facilitate safe social distancing. To donate, you must make an appointment in advance. Click here to read INOVA's COVID-19 Blood Donor Services precautions, find a list of open donation center locations and make an appointment to donate.


Olam Tikvah's Social Action Committee has committed funds to support FACETS to help provide tents, sleeping bags, bug spray, and flashlights to people in encampments, and hygiene items and cleaning supplies to the children and families living in local low-income housing communities in our area.  

You can support their mission to provide access to affordable housing to Fairfax County residents by mailing a check to:

Attn: Joe Fay, Executive Director
10700 Page Ave
Building B
Fairfax, VA 22030

Katherine Hanley Family Shelter

Olam Tikvah's Social Action Committee has committed funds to support the Katherine Hanley Family Shelter's most pressing need: to house shelter residents who are high risk or have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in isolated motel rooms to avoid an outbreak at the shelter.

You can support their mission to provide safe housing and supportive services to victims of domestic violence by mailing a check to:

Katherine Hanley Family Shelter
Attn: Nurijan Ahmedova
12970 Katherine Hanley Ct
Fairfax, VA 22030

Homemade Mask Donations to Communities of Trust

As masks are now a requirement in Virginia, we are partnering with Communities of Trust to donate homemade masks for communities in need. The immediate need is for 2,500 masks for foster care families, homeless shelters and food banks. Masks can be tie or elastic, but should have 2 layers and be 100% cotton. Please launder finished mask(s) prior to drop-off. If possible, please place 1 or 2 masks in individual ziploc bags to minimize handling from us to recipient. Drop off your finished mask(s) at the home of Debra Mendelson (find her address in the OT Directory). You will see a labeled bin outside the front door for your contact-less drop-off. If you have any questions, you can email Debra at

Communities of Trust is an organization dedicated to combating racism and serving the needs of the most vulnerable in our community.

Bikur Cholim of Greater Washington

Are you looking for a way to help the ill and elderly during the pandemic? Consider supporting Bikur Cholim of Greater Washington. They care for the physical and emotional needs of the Jewish ill, the elderly, and their caregivers in the community. Click here to learn more.

Combating Racism

Our society needs tikkun olam right now. Help us take steps toward repairing the world by joining our Social Action Sub-Committee on Racism. We share resources with one another with the goal of better understanding the difficult topic of race for ourselves and explore ways to present meaningful, significant materials and learning opportunities to the OT community. To join the committee, email Clare Bachner.

So You Want to Talk About Race Social Action book discussion, Sundays, April 18, May 23, June 13, 4:00-6:00pm. We invite you to begin or continue on your personal racial equity learning journey by participating in a three-part facilitated book discussion of So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo. Together we will practice having open and honest conversations about policies and practices that perpetuate racial and social inequities. Facilitated by Judith Cabelli and Beverly Moses. Register here.

JTS Evening of Learning: Racial Justice and Jewish Values, Sunday, May 2, 6:30pm. Please join us for the seventh annual Evening of Learning, an opportunity to study in-depth with JTS’s renowned scholars. Study sessions will explore a range of subjects including racism and reparations, Abraham Joshua Heschel’s teachings on racial justice, and race and reproductive justice. Click here to learn more.

Interfaith Communities for Dialogue Statement Against Racism

Olam Tikvah has joined on in signing the ICD letter which states that as a network of faith-based and associated organizations, Interfaith Communities for Dialogue (ICD) promotes mutual understanding and positive relationships among diverse people in and around Fairfax County. In our respective faiths, and in our ICD mission, we promote the values of inclusiveness, integrity, mutual respect and trust of ALL people. The full letter can be read here.

Special Projects

Our special projects have been suspended during the pandemic. Please check out our Social Action in Isolation options above for ways to help our community during this time. We look forward to resuming the projects below when it is safe to do so.

Blood Drives. Each winter and spring, we sponsor an INOVA blood drive to help the community. Please take part in this wonderful mitzvah at our synagogue and help support the constant need for blood donations. Requirements: Weigh 110 lbs, be in good health, be 17 years of age (16 with parental consent form completed), be at least 56 days since your last whole blood donation. Olam Tikvah's sponsor code is 3124. You can give at select INOVA blood donation centers. To learn more, contact Lori Zobler.

Food For Others/Power Pack Program (P3). Food For Others is a local non-profit food bank and food rescue operation serving Fairfax and Arlington Counties. The Power Pack Program provides elementary school-aged students in our area with a pack of food that they can bring home and eat over the weekend. To support this effort throughout the year, please drop off any of the following items in the donation bench in the main lobby:

  • Mac & Cheese cups,
  • Tuna/Chicken Salad kits with crackers,
  • Pasta cups,
  • Chef Boyardee microwave cups, etc.,
  • 100% Fruit juice boxes or Capri Sun juice pouches,
  • Shelf stable milk
  • Please: no glass containers

To make a monetary contribution to the Power Pack Program to help us buy items to complete each pack, send a check to Olam Tikvah with Power Pack in the memo line. For more information, contact Shari Boyett.

Chanukah Outreach. We have special Chanukah celebrations at The Virginian and at the Brown/Berish Group Home. To volunteer, contact Clare Bachner.

Christmas Shoeboxes for So Others Might Eat (SOME). Help provide Christmas gifts to the homeless by packing a shoebox with necessities to donate to SOME. Click here for a full list of shoebox items.

Christmas Gifts for the Katherine Hanley Family Shelter. Donate small stuffed animals for children and gloves and socks for adults at the Katherine Hanley Family Shelter. Donations can be left during the month of December in the collection box in the main lobby. To learn more, contact Mimi Krauss.

Christmas Eve Shelter. Each year, an area church opens its doors to the homeless on Christmas Eve and our Social Action Committee provides volunteers for the evening. In 2019, the shelter will be at Messiah United Methodist Church, 6215 Rolling Rd. Volunteers are needed for the overnight and early morning shifts. To volunteer, contact Clare Bachner.

Christmas Breakfast at the Katherine Hanley Family Shelter. Prepare food for Christmas breakfast at the Katherine Hanley Family Shelter. Volunteers are needed to make quiche and other breakfast foods in advance, and to make pancakes and serve residents at the breakfast. To volunteer, contact Mimi Krauss.

Christmas Meals on Wheels. Take the place of normally-scheduled Meals on Wheels volunteers on Christmas Day so that they can enjoy Christmas with their families. To volunteer, contact Clare Bachner.

Martin Luther King Day Interfaith Outreach. Every year, OT partner with congregants from other churches and mosques to buy, prepare and serve food to people residing in the Bailey’s Shelter. Click here to learn more. Please contact Eric Rothberg if you are interested.

Valentine's Day Party. OT congregants provide an activity-filled party for the children residing at the Katherine Hanley Family Shelter. To volunteer, contact Mimi Krauss.

Hypothermia Project. For the past several years, local churches in Fairfax County under the direction of F.A.C.E.T.S. (Fairfax Assistance Community Emergency Transit Services) take turns housing people who are homeless in their church for a week. They provide overnight shelter and meals throughout the winter season from November to mid-March. Congregation Olam Tikvah partners with Lord of Life and helps them for the first Sunday night to Monday morning coverage during the week they are assigned. To volunteer, contact Clare Bachner, or click here to learn more.

Help Our People Everywhere (OT’s Passover Meals on Wheels). Under the direction of the B’nai B’rith International Project H.O.P.E., OT congregants volunteer to drive Passover meals to Jews in our community who are experiencing financial difficulties. This community action project’s major goal is the collection and distribution of food packages to poor and elderly Jews during Pesach. Many Jews who cannot afford special holiday foods depend on B'nai B'rith members to provide matzah and the other Passover staples. To these people the remembrance is often as special as the needed food. To volunteer, contact Judy Gabel.

Chametz Food Drive. Each year before Passover, OT congregants donate their unopened chametz to Food For Others, our local food bank that is always in need of donated food boxes and cans.

Passover Outreach. We hold special Passover services at The Virginian and at the Brown/Berish Jewish Group Home.

Good Deeds Day. Each year at Congregation Olam Tikvah, our congregants and volunteers from Social Action, Men’s Club, Sisterhood, Religious School, Preschool, and youth groups participate in the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington's Sara & Samuel J. Lessans Good Deeds Day. We work on projects that help those in need in our community. In the past our projects included Sisterhood knitting for the Linus Project, making tuna casseroles for S.O.M.E., Men’s Club distribution of Yom HaShoah candles, Social Action making sandwiches for Bailey’s Crossroads Homeless Shelter, providing brunch for the Katherine Hanley Family Shelter, the preschool providing diapers for babies at Katherine Hanley Family Shelter, and the Religious School making get well cards for children at Fairfax Hospital. Click here to learn more about last year's projects.

Gleaning at Farmers' Markets. On Sundays from May-October, OT volunteers glean food from the various Farmers’ Markets and then transport fresh vegetables and fruits to the Katherine Hanley Family Shelter, Bailey’s Shelter, Food For Others, and other places where people are given fresh fruits and vegetables that they would not otherwise be able to have. Click here to read about OT's gleaning program in the Washington Jewish Week. For more information or to volunteer, contact Marc Berman.

Ongoing Social Action Outreach

Our ongoing outreach programs have been suspended during the pandemic. Please check out our Social Action in Isolation options above for ways to help our community during this time. We look forward to resuming the projects below when it is safe to do so.

Reading Mentors The Annandale Terrace Elementary School is in need of reading mentors. OT has participated in this outreach for the past 15 years. The commitment is for one hour a week  during the school day. The hour is decided by you in conjunction with the teacher's schedule. It is a wonderful program and the children benefit greatly from this individual attention. Please contact Clare Bachner if you are interested or have any questions about becoming a reading mentor.

The Virginian For many years, Olam Tikvah congregants have volunteered at The Virginian, a residential facility for Seniors in need of assistance. We provide twice a month Shabbat services to the residents there. In addition, special foods and services are celebrated for Rosh Hashanah, Chanukah and Passover. Please contact Elana Plotnick if you are interested in participating.

Brown/Berish Jewish Group Home Jewish Holidays are celebrated throughout the year at the Brown/Berish Group Home. The residents enjoy celebrating the holidays with services, activities, and food.

Monthly Interfaith Dinner Olam Tikvah members enjoy dining at various local restaurants with congregants of other religions. It is an opportunity to meet, interact informally with people of other faiths, and build new friendships, while experiencing excellent food. Please contact Judith Shamir if you are interested in participating.

Other interfaith events are planned throughout the year. Please contact Eric Rothberg if you are interested.

Tuna Casseroles for So Others May Eat Every month, synagogue members prepare and deliver tuna casseroles to So Others Might Eat (SOME). SOME is an interfaith, community-based organization that exists to help the poor and homeless of our nation’s capital. Simply prepare the casserole according to this recipe, freeze it and drop it off at OT on the third Wednesday of the month, no later than 8:00pm.

We also need drivers to help deliver the casseroles to SOME on Thursday mornings. If you are interested in this one-time commitment please call Leona Shoon at (703) 425-1880.


For questions about any of our Social Action projects, contact Social Action Chair, Clare Bachner.

Thu, June 17 2021 7 Tammuz 5781