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January 30, 2004 - Image 47

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2004-01-30

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s n T

1 N




Sheltering The Homeless

Beth Shalom volunteers extend warm welcome.



Story Development Editor


Miriam Blake, 15, and
Rachel Sherman, 16, both
Oak Park, prepare salad
or lunch.

Above: Adam Barth of Oak Park, David Moiseev of
Huntington Woods. and Boris Milter of Oak Park, all
15, help prepare sack lunches.
Right: Julie Grodin of Huntington Woods and Miriam
akham, Avram Fikhman and Mariya Bruell of Beth
Shalom's Circle of Friends group volunteer to help the

or a week in mid-January, more
than 100 volunteers from
Congregation Beth Shalom in
Oak Park played host to 30
homeless clients of the South Oakland
Royal Oak-based SOS is a shelter with-
out beds, relying instead on area churches
and synagogues to house its clients one
week at a time. The shelter day begins in
the late afternoon and concludes the fol-
lowing morning. Visitors slept on mattress-
es in classrooms and were able to use the
shower in the bride's room.
Volunteers of all ages helped cook, serve
and generally make people feel welcome,
said Ian Zitron of Bloomfield Hills, site
coordinator and chair of the Beth Shalom's
social action committee.
"We made spaghetti, meatballs, garlic
bread and lots and lots and lots of `bug juice,'
then we sat and ate with them — then I got
a warm fuzzy feeling inside," said Esther
Taxon, 15, of Oak Park, a student in Beth
Shalom's high school program.
"This year we did something different,"
Zitron said. "Because the weather was so bad,
several people asked if we could let people
spend Shabbos in the shul. About 20 stayed
all Shabbos and two came in for the service."
This is Beth Shalom's ninth year in the
SOS program that also benefits from annual
participation by Adat Shalom Synagogue,
Temple Kol Ami, Temple Israel and
Congregation Shir Shalom.
The goal of this week-long mitzvah
project, Zitron says, is to make people feel
welcome. Volunteers stay and talk with the
visitors into the evening. Rarely do volunteers
see the same guests from year to year.
Happily, the SOS program is pretty successful
in helping the individuals get on their feet
'After getting to know someone," Zitron
said, "I always like to say, 'It was lovely to
meet you. I hope we never see you again.'" El





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