Keneseth Israel and Social Action

Social Action has always been a key component at Congregation Keneseth Israel, so we have a wide variety of activities and initiatives. What moves you? Is it helping the needy? Aiding refugee families? Collecting warm coats and clothing for children? Feeding the hungry? Whatever your interest, you will find something in which to engage. And if you don’t – give us a suggestion or two!

Harvest 5K

Contact: Choty San Andres – 

This is a very popular annual event that combines a love of health and wellness with doing good in the world. Each year, the committee decides on a charity and runs a 5K race with the proceeds to benefit the chosen organization. Past recipients include Central Elementary School, the Victory House (a shelter for homeless vets) and this year will go to Habitat for Humanity. Virtual run, a 1K Fun Run, snacks, prizes, t-shirts and medallions make this a great way to give to others.

Central Elementary

Contact: Patty Carlis – 

– Cell: 610-730-4618

KI has been partnering with Central Elementary, located in Allentown, for a number of years and there is now a dedicated group of volunteers. They read to the kids, participate in school wide activities and help out as needed. We also collect supplies to supplement the children’s education with items ranging from snacks to prizes to copy paper. Central Elementary was the first recipient of our now annual 5K Race that occurs each fall.

Community Gardening

Contact: Sharon Land –

The Community Garden is a joint project with many participants – churches, synagogues, mosques, youth gardeners, and community groups. There are multiple locations throughout the area and the produce is given to local food pantries and soup kitchens. There are many ways to volunteer from the actual gardening, seed starting, website assistance and driving.

Warm Clothing Drive

Contact: Barbara Cohen-  

Warm clothing and jackets are collected every fall, coinciding with the Jewish High Holidays. They are distributed to a local high school who gives them out to their students as well as to those at other schools to kids who come to school without the clothing needed in this colder climate.

Annual Food Drive

Contact: Sharon Land –

Also coinciding with the Jewish High Holy Days is our annual food drive. Paper bags are given out at Rosh Hashanah and congregants and visitors are asked to bring them back at Yom Kippur filled with non-perishable food items. Many congregations do this, with the thought that the bags can be filled with all the food you do not eat at Yom Kippur. During the year, we are sometimes asked for a focused food drive for particular items that our local food pantry has a desperate need.

Refugee Resettlement

Contact: Elsbeth Haymon  

A very new initiative at Keneseth Israel, this large group of volunteers that includes people from other synagogues, are going through the training process so that our congregation can adopt a refugee family. Because of the political situation, we are unsure about the future of this program but we are proceeding with the hope that we will be able to ultimately be able to bring a family to the Lehigh Valley.

High Holiday Food Drive

Between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, we collect food for the Second Harvest Food Bank and Jewish Family Service Kosher Food Pantry. In the past, we received a very good response. This is an especially important time for food collection because of the troubled economy and the increased number of families in the Lehigh Valley who are ‘food-insecure.’ Please pick up an empty bag from the foyer after Rosh Hashanah Services and support this worthy cause by bringing back the bag full of nonperishable food items to Yom Kippur Morning Services.

Mitzvah Corp

Provide transportation to congregants, deliver meals for the home bound or mourner, and more.

The Habitat For Humanity house is completed!

The Salas-Paz family has settled in nicely. A big thanks goes to all the KI members who worked on the house and who donated funds towards building the house.

Yom Mitzvah & Warm Clothing Drive

Yom Mitzvah is an annual KI event where we come together to demonstrate our commitment to our congregation and our community. It is our opportunity to fulfill our obligation as Reform Jews to help repair the world. Click ‘more information’ below to see how you can be part of it.

Brownies for the Soup Kitchen

Sisterhood provides brownies to the soup kitchen every first Thursday of the month. We bring at least 12 trays. See how and when you can help.

Tzedakah Project

The sages have said that tzedakah is the highest of all commandments. We produce and distribute a tzedakah box and booklet to every family in the congregation.