Sunday, May 29, 2016 Iyyar 21, 5776

A Pre-Passover Mitzvah Project

April 17, 2014 By:


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(From left) Stephanie Weiss, Elizabeth Grutzmacher, Hillary Kotzen, David Abrams, Sheara Young, Liz Fineman, Hannah Alexander, Heather Grutzmacher and Diana Eisner.

Each year at Passover, we retell and relive the timeless tale of a people’s exodus from slavery to freedom. The Haggadah story admonishes us that our exodus is not complete until we give others the freedom to live independently, in comfort and with dignity.

Last Sunday, 130 members of Federation’s Renaissance Group — an affinity of Jewish men and women ages 45 and under — partnered with staff and skilled crafts persons from Habitat for Humanity to make this Passover a happier one for 13 low-income Northeast Philadelphia homeowners. 

They painted, planted, stripped torn carpet, removed cracked concrete, cleaned out air-ducts and installed air conditioners and other appliances, swept away cobwebs and crab grass and much, much more.

Each of the homeowners — all of whom are clients of Rhawnhurst NORC, an initiative jointly funded by Federation and Cath­olic Social Services to help older adults remain connected to their communities — received carbon monoxide detectors, generously donated by Renaissance member Scott Lipner, who heads sales and operations at Emergency Response Associates.

Each homeowner also received a special gift from Federation — a Hamsa, the hand of God — revered by multiple faith communities for its protective powers.

Leah Howard, Mitzvah co-chair for Renaissance along with Lee Berman, congratulated the group for “making a huge difference in our community.” Renaissance member Justin Brooks, who sits on the board of Federation’s Center for Social Responsibility, thanked both Renaissance volunteers and their Habitat for Humanity counterparts for “enabling older adults to continue to live safely in their own homes and remain connected to their communities.”

For more information about Renaissance Group and its upcoming calendar of mitzvah projects, call Melanie Krutzel at 215-832-0861 or email: [email protected].

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