Mitzvah Brigade

mitzvah1The focus and vision of the Mitzvah Brigade is to provide support to our members and the community.

The CBA Support Teams are in place. Members are reaching out for help. We have provided families with dinners, attended several minyans and kept in touch with members who had a lengthy hospital stays. Family helps family. The support team is here for you. It is not too late to get involved. There is always room for anyone who wants to be included on a team.

Unfortunately, we dont know who needs the assistance of the team. We need you to communicate with us when there is a concern. Please be assured that all information is held in confidence. Only people with a need to know status will have the facts. Congregation Beth Am has always considered our membership as extended family. Family helps Family. Let us help you and your family.

In the past, we have done projects such as preparing Mother’s Day and Christmas Day meals for the Ronald McDonald House. These were such successful projects that they will become annual event. We also honor our Bar/Bat Mitzva students with Shabbat candlestick holders.

What else is going on? Please look at what is on our calendar for 2016. Get involved by choosing one, two or all projects.

CBA CARE GROUP Contacts: Joanie Mayer, Lois Smith & Debbie Zelkowitz

Support Teams & Mitzva Meals:

There are 3 teams which rotate on a monthly basis. This project is in place to support our CBA members in time of need. The teams are asked to attend shiva minyans, deliver food to a family, make a personal contact and send a card letting the family know that CBA is there for them. The team leader is responsible for contacting members of her team when there is a need for assistance. The support team also includes members of the Board of Directors.

Mitzva meals are prepared by members of MB on an as needed basis. The meals consist of lasagna or chicken, vegetables, a starch with the chicken, rolls and a dessert. The meals are prepackaged & kept in the freezer until needed. The monthly team leader contacts a family in need & is responsible for ensuring delivery of the meal. The meal is not just to be used when there is a death of an immediate family member. Meals have also been provided to CBA families who are struggling & could use a good home cooked meal.

mitvah2JFS FOOD PANTRY Contact: Norma Greenberg

Members of the Mitzvah Brigade have been volunteering on a monthly basis. At one time, teams were going twice a month.

Due to availability of support help, the teams now provide assistance on the last Monday of every month. The teams are made up of CBA members who work on a rotating schedule. They assist the employees at the pantry for two hours in the afternoon. The work is not very challenging but proves to be very rewarding. Workers are asked to fill shopping bags based on a list of available food, give out the food bags to the people who come to the pantry, stock the  shelves, weigh food when a private donation arrives and check food for expiration dates.


Candlesticks are presented during Saturday morning Bar/Bat Mitzvah services by a MB member. On-line sign up is available or let Lori know.

SECOND HARVEST FOOD BANK Contact: Chairperson Lois Smith (CBA member since 1989)

Second Harvest collects, stores, and distributes donated food to more than 550 feeding partners in six Central Florida counties: Brevard, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Seminole & Volusia.

As part of this team, we try to select a family night when even our young members can assist by going to the warehouse to sort food for distribution. Signup is online and dates are announced well in advance. Code for online signup is A262. It is a fun and meaningful evening for all!

RONALD McDONALD HOUSE Contact: Becky Goldstein

We cook meals as a group there 1-2 times per year (ex Valentine’s Day & Mother’s Day) to assist families.

SAFE HOUSE OF SEMINOLE COUNTY Contact: Marcia R. (previously Helene G.)

Center offers security for abused women & their children.

Donations of paper goods, soaps, toothbrushes, toothpaste, dental floss, shampoos, linens, etc. are always appreciated.

Infant & toddler clothes as well as Adult Women’s shoes to wear on job interviews are needed.

We deliver fresh fruits every month. MB members bring fruit to our meetings that are then taken to Safe House.

CLARCONA ELEMENTARY SCHOOL Contacts: Mati Harac  407-865-7900,  Karen Lipkind  352-729-3385

School was “adopted” to help their underserved students. School does not receive Title 1 benefits.

(MB member Rachel Shapiro teaches there)

  1. Emergency Food Pantry

Currently 1040 students with 850 participating in free or reduced school lunches. This school does not receive Title 1 benefits.

Food collection is done to help stock an emergency pantry. Our volunteers have packed 850 bags of food that kids took home on the last day before Thanksgiving, Christmas and Spring breaks.

Donations have come from within CBA as well as from outside CBA which has enabled us to purchase food from Second Harvest Food Bank to bag & send home with kids.

We have enlisted the aid of other charities, “tapped” big donors, hosted “events”, arranged for pick up and deliveries to the school, and more, all for the purpose of obtaining nourishing food for these children.

  1. Clothes Closet

We collect clothing (particularly jackets when the weather turns colder). Clothing racks used at the school for organizing the clothing were donated by MB members.

In general, clothing can be dropped off at CBA. The clothes should be in good condition and clean. No used undergarments.

  1. Tutoring/Mentoring Contact: Rachel Shapiro

MB members volunteer their time to assist teachers in the classroom or help students with specific assignments.

Sign up through the OCPS Additions program to be registered as a volunteer. (, click on “parents”, “volunteer”, school links)

Must be renewed yearly in August for the upcoming school year.

Let Rachel S. know so she can assist in placing people at the school.

 I-DIGNITY Contact: Norma Greenberg

IDignity was created to assist the disadvantaged in Central Florida to navigate the complexities of obtaining their personal identification, such as birth certificates, Florida ID cards and Social Security cards. These documents are essential to fully participate in our current day society.

The documents that IDignity provides are required to apply for employment or school, obtain access to most shelters, vote, seek help from many social service programs, open a bank account or cash a check, secure housing or overcome many other obstacles to becoming self-sufficient.

IDignity has expanded to hosting events in Seminole, Volusia and Brevard Counties. In addition, IDignity is in formal discussions with the Orange County Corrections Department to host events within the jail.

Members of the Mitzvah Brigade join together with other faith communities to assist those in need. First, and foremost, is helping them to obtain their birth certificates as this will open many doors for them. We help guide them through the process, helping to fill out forms, notarizing papers, assisting with obtaining their drivers license and social security cards. We remember that these are people and we treat them with kindness and respect.


Our Mitzvah Brigade is a place where the women of our community, of all ages, come together to do community projects. Response to the community action projects has been amazing and is a sign that this is truly an area which hits right at the heart of our membership. With both long-term projects and one-time events, there is something for everyone!

Our meetings are invigorating! Not only do we discuss the status of ongoing projects, we welcome and encourage discussion of future plans to support our community. Just as important as the mitzvot, is the social aspect of establishing friendships with old and new CBA members.

Although we are a strong group, we cannot do the work alone. There is a need for continued support. We welcome all women to join our growing committee and also welcome any financial donations earmarked for the Mitzvah Brigade.