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Temple Emanu-El of New York City Honors Associate Rabbi Amy B. Ehrlich by Building a School in Guatemala

In celebration of Associate Rabbi Amy B. Ehrlich’s 26 years of service to Temple Emanu-El of New York City, the Congregation donated $25,000 to build a school in Guatemala in her honor.   The gift was made earlier this year and the school in Chivaquib, Guatemala was recently completed.  The project was kept secret from Rabbi […]

In celebration of Associate Rabbi Amy B. Ehrlich’s 26 years of service to Temple Emanu-El of New York City, the Congregation donated $25,000 to build a school in Guatemala in her honor.   The gift was made earlier this year and the school in Chivaquib, Guatemala was recently completed.  The project was kept secret from Rabbi Ehrlich until it was announced during the Temple’s Mitzvah Day on November 9.  Needless to say, it was a big surprise.

The donation was given to Pencils of Promise (www.pencilsofpromise.org), an international and highly respected organization that not only builds schools but also ensures that every school continues to be fully operational.  The Chivaquib II Preschool and Primary School currently has 88 students and is expected to impact a total of 1,780 children over the coming years. The donation covered the costs of three new classrooms, serving a village of just over 1,000 people.   Photos:  http://bit.ly/1x6OQfn

On Mitzvah Day, when the school project was announced before the Congregation, Rabbi Ehrlich was deeply moved, surprised and almost speechless. She said. “This is beyond any hope that one could have. This is beyond words.”

“Rabbi Ehrlich is a treasure to our congregation and the Jewish community,” said Senior Rabbi Joshua M. Davidson. “Over the years she has inspired thousands to do the work of tikkun, ‘healing and repair.’ This school in her name demonstrates the impact she has had near and far.  It is a gift of our love for her.”

“Bringing Mitzvah Day to Emanu-El was Rabbi Ehrlich’s vision,” said Lynda DeLott.  “Finding this meaningful way to honor her and recognize her commitment to helping others on this anniversary seemed like a perfect fit.”

Mitzvah Day was started in 2005 as a way to create a greater sense of community among Temple members while helping others.  This year marks its 10th anniversary.   Hundreds of members of the Congregation participate annually as part of the activities of the Tikkun Olam Committee lead by Lynda DeLott.  The Hebrew word mitzvah commonly means “a good deed,” while tikkun olam can be translated as “repairing the world.”  The mission of the Temple’s Tikkun Olam Committee is “repairing the world, mitzvah by mitzvah.”

Mitzvah Day includes a wide range of service activities. This year’s projects included creating comfort totes for women under-going chemotherapy, assembling “Combat the Cold” bags for men and women who live on the streets, and “Heart to Heart kits” for families whose children are in the pediatric cardiology unit at Mt. Sinai Hospital. Other projects included creating art kits for children in the foster care system and “Sleep Tight” packages for formerly homeless seniors who are in DOROT’s Homelessness Prevention Program. In addition, volunteers made over 300 meal bags and baked hundreds of cookies to help feed those who are hungry.

Congregation Emanu-El of the City of New York is the world’s largest reform synagogue, founded in 1845.  www.emanuelnyc.org

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