AA-ACTS

AA ACTS – Awareness & Action to Abolish Child Trafficking for Sex

Ahavath Achim’s Social Action Committee established an initiative to address the issue of modern slavery in the form of trafficking of children for the sex trade. While we recognize this problem as a world-wide concern, the primary focus of this committee is on the community of greater Atlanta, Georgia.

AA ACTS strives to:

  • Create awareness within AA’s community, the Atlanta Jewish Community, and beyond about the issue of Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC).
  • Build a partnership of synagogues and other Jewish organizations that work together to end Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking (DMST)
  • Engage with interfaith and secular coalitions, human rights groups, government, law enforcement, and advocacy groups that share our enthusiasm and goals
  • Provide opportunities for volunteering with community agencies and programs
  • Participate in and host relevant education opportunities
Blood Drive

Ahavath Achim Synagogue has been a proud co-sponsor and host of the City Wide Blood Drive for more than 40 years. With the support of the Jewish War Veterans, Masonic Lodge 216 and the American Red Cross, the Blood Drive is held quarterly at AA on the first Sunday of February, May, August and November.

Mark your calendar now for the next blood drive on Sunday, November 5, 9:00 am - 2:00 pm

To reserve an appointment, visit the American Red Cross website and use code JWV. You can also contact Gail Solomon at 404.456.6171 or gailsol@gmail.com, and she will reserve a spot for you.

Chesed

AA is a caring and compassionate community. Caring for others provides an opportunity to add meaning to your life.

We can provide a variety of assistance and services for those in need. Please contact the Chesed Hotline to see if we can help you: chesed@aasynagogue.org or 404.355.5222 (x500)

AA Transportation Services

AA volunteers are available to provide transportation to and from services. Please contact the Chesed Hotline if you or someone you know needs a ride or if you wish to volunteer to provide transportation.

AA Souper Project

AA Souper volunteers prepare kosher, pareve soup and challah in the synagogue kitchen and deliver it with good wishes to those in our congregation who are ill, just home from the hospital or in need of special care. A little tender, loving soup spreads a lot of  comfort and cheer. Please contact the Chesed Hotline if you or someone you know needs a little healing soup.

Sharing Our AAbundance Collections

During the pilgrimage festivals (Passover, Shavuot & Sukkot), AA collects and distributes items needed in the Atlanta community.

Helping Hands

Give a little, give a lot… of time that is. Every now and then a little help goes a long way. Whether it is stuffing envelopes, manning a registration table, helping to host an event or just being there in time of need, AA Helping Hands are always eager to assist.

Chevre Kadisha

Chevre Kadisha is the holy society that prepares the dead for burial, according to Jewish tradition. The Tahara, the ritual cleansing and dressing of a body, honors and respects the body of the deceased as if it were still alive.

At AA, Chevre Kadisha is respected both for the services it provides the deceased and their families, and for spiritual and emotional opportunities it provides participants.

Cultural Arts

Since 1979, the Ahavath Achim Cultural Arts Series has presented annual chamber music performances featuring renowned local, national and international musicians, conductors and composers.

The live recital series is free of charge and open to the public. It generally features two concerts each year, one in the spring and one in the fall.

The concert series engages celebrated and accomplished artists, as well as significant young talent. Past performances have featured Maestro Robert Spano, distinguished conductor and music director of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (ASO), the late Zara Nelsova, world-renowned cellist, Cecylia Arzewski, internationally-acclaimed violinist and former concertmaster of the ASO, and the late Maestro Charles Schiff and his pianist wife, Edith.

In 2014, the Atlanta Chamber Players debuted a new chamber work commissioned especially for the series by AA members, Steven and Lynne Steindel, and composed by acclaimed musician/composer, Adam Schoenberg, entitled “Ahava” (Love).

For more information about the Cultural Arts Concert Series, contact Ivan Millender at ivanmillender@earthlink.net.

GaRRS

Georgia Radio Reading Service (GaRRS) is a nonprofit closed circuit radio station whose mission is to improve the quality of life for every Georgian who is blind, visually-impaired or has difficulty with access to the printed word by broadcasting current information via sub channel radio transmission and streaming on the internet. GaRRS broadcasts daily newspapers, current magazines, books, public service announcements and other community information. GaRRS programs are broadcast 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. All content is broadcast either live or recorded by more than 500 volunteers. If you would like to be a GaRRS volunteer, like many of our congregants, please contact Marty Kwatinetz at zaydekw@comcast.net or 404.812.1734.

Greening Group

Join us in preparing for a sustainable future by lending a hand with our gardening group. Help us promote single stream recycling, collaborate on environmental issues, maintain beautiful daffodils, and work on the Atlanta Stones 200 Project, in which stones are set to represent children who were lost in the Holocaust.

For more information about how to become a volunteer, contact Myrtle Lewin at aagreening@gmail.com.

Gun Violence Prevention

Following Mass Shootings in California - A Statement by Outcry (Georgia clergy speaking out against gun violence and urging action)

“As clergy, we pray fervently for the victims of the shootings today in California.
We pray for their families and friends who will always feel the loss of their loved ones.
We pray for an end to the senseless violence and needless suffering.”

“With two mass shootings in less than a week and more than 21 this year, it’s time for policy makers to passing common sense gun laws an urgent priority.”

“As a diverse interfaith coalition who disagree on many issues, we agree that to address the wave of gun violence in our communities - in our schools, our houses of worship -  prayer alone isn’t enough. We are in the midst of an epidemic. There are indeed ‘guns everywhere…’ 

“When do we start respecting lives enough to take action? When do we say it’s time to admit that ‘guns everywhere’ is a problem? How many families need to suffer before we can do what’s moral and right?”

Outcry is an interfaith clergy coalition that has played a key role in the campaign for commonsense gun laws, including protections for houses of worship as a result of 2014’s so-called “guns everywhere” law and this year’s potential campus carry and permit-less carry bills. You can learn more about Outcry at http://www.OutcryGeorgia.org/

The Hunger Project

The Hunger Project began as a way of weaving all of the hunger and food instability initiatives that currently run through our congregation into a collective to help share our resources, collaborate efforts, capitalize on the energy of those already involved and create a larger synergy.

Throughout Atlanta, the need for food assistance has grown and waste from our system of food distribution has reached epic proportions.

The Hunger Project in our synagogue offers amazing and diverse ways to be involved. Please take a moment to view all of our initiatives.

The Hunger Seder

The Hunger Seder is a spiritual and communal experience of framing the Passover experience through the lens of hunger, stemming from the traditional Seder’s command, “All those who are hungry, come and eat.” AA hosts the annual community-wide seder during Passover and partners with several community and social activist organizations to focus attention on food instability in our community.

Operation Isaiah

In 1990, Ahavath Achim started the Operation Isaiah food drive that has become a national program. AA continues to be the leading contributor among all the synagogues in the Atlanta area, and one of the largest contributors nationwide. Each year during the High Holiday season, congregants fill bins to overflow with cans of vegetables, jars of peanut butter, bags of rice, containers of dried beans and other food.

In 2015, the 25th Anniversary of the founding of Operation Isaiah at Ahavath Achim, the AA Synagogue family collected 60,139 pounds of food. That’s more than 30 tons of nutritious, high quality food for people in need. Our beloved synagogue fed more than 50,000 people a meal.

The 2017 Operation Isaiah Food Drive runs from September 21 – November 2.

Atlanta Community Food Bank

Generally, once a month, AA volunteers assist the Atlanta Community Food Bank’s Product Rescue Center sort and box donated food. In March 2015, the Food Bank recognized AA’s tremendous support with special bins, labels and packaging at the Product Rescue Center. AA became the prototype program for large donors that identifies food boxes as having come from specific donors.

The Atlanta Community Food Bank is located at 732 Joseph E. Lowery Blvd., NW, Atlanta, GA 30318.

Hunger Walk

AA has raised more money than any other synagogue, temple, church, religious school or other faith-based partner agency for the Hunger Walk for the past 15 years.

The Hunger Walk/Run — an annual 5K walk and “fun run” begun in 1984 — is a project of the Atlanta Community Food Bank that unites our community to raise awareness and critical funds for local hunger relief.  Proceeds from the event benefit the Atlanta Community Food Bank and other local nonprofit organizations that support food pantries, community kitchens, shelters and other programs for people in need of food assistance. These benefiting partner organizations help recruit participants and receive a percentage of the funds raised to support their direct hunger relief programs.

In its 33 years, Hunger Walk/Run has raised over $7 million for hunger relief – enough to provide 28 million meals!

Whether you choose to walk or run, you’ll join thousands of participants coming together to support our neighbors in need and celebrate achievements already made in the fight against hunger.

JF&CS Food Pantry

Congregation Ahavath Achim is collecting food to fill the JF&CS food pantry.  Food pantry barrels are  located in the synagogue lobby. Be sure that items are marked with a KOSHER symbol or are VEGETARIAN.

Share Our Shabbat - Food for Those in Need

Each Saturday, following Shabbat services, volunteers deliver Kiddush leftovers to the Task Force for the Homeless in downtown Atlanta.  This shelter serves approximately 50 people each night.  It is a Mitzvah to serve others and AA is privileged to provide this assistance to Atlanta’s homeless community.

Shelter Programs

AA continues the mitzvah of providing to people in need by supporting two homeless shelters in Atlanta. In March and November each year, AA provides meals to residents of the Zaban Couples Shelter. In December, January and March AA provides kosher food service to Shearith Israel Shelter that serves homeless women.

Ushers & Greeters

Ushers

The Shabbat usher is at the doorway of the service and directs congregants to specific seats if they are part of the Bar/Bat Mitzvah group, if they know they will have an Aliyah or need to find the restroom during the service. They also step forward to deal with any assistance a member or guest may need such as a medical emergency, a mobility issue, a request for a large print Siddur, or a hearing-expanding device. The usher is on duty with a smile and Shabbat Shalom till the end of the service. He/she may choose to close doors while the Rabbi speaking if the lobby becomes too noisy.

To become an usher contact Susan Schlansky at susanschlansky33@hotmail.com or 770.394.6719.

Greeters

Everyone who walks through our doors on Shabbat and Holidays is greeted with a warm welcome. This is made possible by our devoted members who are part of our greeter team. Being a greeter is an easy and fun way to connect with other congregants, meet new people and become an integral part of the synagogue. If you can smile and say “Shabbat Shalom” then you are a fully trained greeter. Greeters stay in the foyer in front of Ellman Chapel for approximately one hour on Shabbat and Holidays and take one-hour shifts on the High Holidays.

To join the greeter team contact Mildred or Marty Kwatinetz at zaydekw@comcast.net or 404.812.1734.