First Tikkun Olam Day on soldiers in Iraq

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Everyone understands what it means to be far from home.

That’s why two women at Peninsula Temple Sholom in Burlingame decided to plan the synagogue’s first official Tikkun Olam Day around helping brighten the day of soldiers in Iraq.

“No matter your political views on the war, at least we could all reach out to people away from home who yearned for taste of home,” said Kathy Glass, who has helped coordinate PTS’ Tikkun Olam Day, to be held on April 29.

“Even our children can understand what it means to be far away,” she added. “They’ve all been to camp and know what it’s like to receive a care package when you’re missing home.”

The ultimate goal of Tikkun Olam Day is to engage the entire congregation in something meaningful, and that allows for a range of involvement. The adults have coordinated large donations, the teens have helped publicize the event by passing out flyers, and small children have made soldiers good luck charms.

“If we can ease the life of a member of the armed forces, we can feel good about that,” said Rabbi Kim Ettlinger.

The synagogue hopes to fill at least 500 boxes.

On April 29, congregants and volunteers will gather at the synagogue to assemble the boxes and write letters to the soldiers. Soldiers who’ve returned from Iraq will be there to speak about their experience overseas. The rabbi and cantor also will lead study groups and song sessions.

Peninsula Temple Sholom will take donations for soldiers’ care packages through April 23. Accepted donations include: nonperishable food items, toiletries, DVDs, CDs, games, books and magazines. Keep in mind each care package is the size of a shoe box. The synagogue will also accept monetary donations to offset the cost of mailing the boxes, which cost $8.10 each.

Donations can be dropped off or mailed to the synagogue, Attn: Tikkun Olam, 1655 Sebastian Drive, Burlingame, CA 94010.

Stacey Palevsky

Stacey Palevsky is a former J. staff writer.