By Matan Peled
Director of Youth Engagement
Congregation Keneseth Israel
On March 14, Congregation Keneseth Israel and our youth group, KITY, were part of a great interfaith community effort. The Barn, a wonderful non-profit organization that cares about the needs of the wider interfaith community, had its annual chili cook-off with more than 60 chili stands from representatives of all faiths throughout the Lehigh Valley. All the proceeds from the event went toward building a new playground for the students at Ramos Elementary School in Allentown. The school’s current playground was built decades ago with capacity to support 100 children, but the school today has 900 students who need to share this one piece of equipment.
Sharon Land, KI social action chair led this effort “With a mighty hand and outstretched arm…….” (Deuteronomy 26:8). She exemplifies the giving spirit that our Jewish community is committed to.
Eric Rappaport, Keneseth Israel’s house chef, and Joshua, his son and chef-in-training, won The Judges’ Choice Best Salsa Award out of the over 60 teams that were competing.
“It was great to be part of this interfaith community fundraising effort, and to be able to represent Keneseth Israel throughout the Lehigh Valley. I loved sharing time with my son and doing something good for the betterment of our community. This, I think, brings up the real value of Tikkun Olam – repairing the world,” Rappaport said.
Through the generosity of the over 550 people who came to share in the seventh annual chili cook-off, gross proceeds of $7,600 from the event went toward the renovation and expansion of the Ramos playground.
If you feel that you also want to be part of this great effort and efforts like this in the future, please call the Keneseth Israel office at 610-435-9074. Donations can also be made to the Barn via KI.