Bar/Bat Mitzvah Volunteer Projects

Volunteer Projects

Community service is a wonderful opportunity for children to see they can make a contribution to society.  And the 13 hours of volunteer work that is part of the synagogue’s Bar/Bat Mitzvah program can be achieved in a range of ways. The following list is merely a starting point.  This list is posted and will be updated periodically. We suggest checking out several organizations and projects and taking into account the students’ interests.  Parents are responsible for speaking directly with the personnel involved in the volunteer program, assessing whether the program and personnel are right for their children and making their own arrangements.  We also suggest calling ahead to ask the organization whether it needs help at that time. At least a month before their Bar/Bat Mitzvah, students should give a written confirmation of their hours and a description of their work to Education Director or the Rabbi at the synagogue.  The confirmation should come from the organization for which the student is volunteering, if applicable.  Otherwise, it should come from a parent.  Students may concentrate on one organization or project, or work on several.  Pairing up with a friend can be a fun option. The students’ work will be recognized at the Bar/Bat Mitzvah service and a letter of appreciation will be awarded at that time.  Congregation Beth Israel and its Social Action and Education committees take no responsibility for overseeing or supervising the activities or the personnel involved in the activities. If you have suggestions or questions, feel free to contact Lisa Weisser at Lisa Jewish Organizations

Congregation Beth Israel

Contact: The Education Director at . Typical activities: helping teachers during class. The synagogue also runs, under the auspices of the Jewish Federation of Central New Jersey, a Kabbalat Shabbat program at Ashbrook Nursing Home in Scotch Plains on Friday afternoons.

Israel Support Committee

Contact: Conrad Nadel 654-3169. Typical activities: helping with various projects relating to Israel.

Jewish Community Center

1391 Martine Ave., Scotch Plains. Contact: Simone Klein at  889-8800.

Jewish Family Service

655 Westfield Ave., Elizabeth. 352-8375.Typical activities: helping out with projects such as food and toy drives.

Jewish Federation of Central New Jersey

1391 Martine Ave., Scotch Plains. Contact: ask for the operations manager, 889-5335.

Mitzvah Clowns

Contact: Joel Horowitz 908-654-0666. This three-hour training session is designed for students in grades 6 to 12 and teaches special skills and clowning techniques so participants can perform in the community as a mitzvah.

Community Organizations and Governmental Agencies

Buddy Ball

Woodbridge Township Recreation Department, 1 Main St., Woodbridge. This municipal sports league offers basketball, soccer, baseball and hockey for disabled children. Contact: Woodbridge’s director of parks and recreation, (732) 634-4500 ext. 4105 and ask for Vito Similluca. Typical activities: participating in the sporting events.

Emmanuel Cancer Foundation

1815 Front St., Scotch Plains. Contact: Barbara Kopel, executive assistant, 322-4323, ext. 17. Typical activities: helping with special events/projects and doing clerical and computer work.

Community Food Bank of New Jersey

31 Evans Terminal Road, Hillside, 355-3663. Typical activities: sorting cans and other containers of food and labeling food. Contact: Traci @ ext. 221 or Faye @ ext. 294

Interfaith Council for the Homeless of Union County

905 Watchung Ave., Plainfield. Contact: Coordinator of volunteer services, 753-4001 ext. 16. Typical activities: helping with office work, doing arts and crafts projects with children while their parents attend meetings at the council, and assisting with other projects.

Red Cross

Westfield, 321 Elm St., Westfield, 232-7090. Contact Suzanne Anderson with volunteer and youth services at .Donate Halloween candy to the military, make personal item packages.

Salvation Army Soup Kitchen

1005 East Jersey St., Elizabeth. Contact: Captain Hollie Leonardi at ext. 11,  352-7057. Kitchen is open specific days each month.

Salvation Army Soup Kitchen

Grace Episcopal Church, 600 Cleveland Ave., Plainfield. Contact: MaryJo Buck, coordinator for soup kitchen at 908-719-1092 or email . Kitchen is open specific days each month. Students need adult supervision.

Scotch Plains-Fanwood YMCA

1340 Martine Ave. Contact: Joanne Sprague, volunteer coordinator, 889-8880, ext. 112

Scotch Plains Food Pantry

Scotch Plains Municipal Building, 430 Park Ave. Contact: Marie Davis, 322-6700, or Congregation Beth Israel member Pam Brooks, 889-5157. Typical activities: marking and sorting cans, sponsoring collections and helping out with other projects.

Scotch Plains Parks and Recreation Department

Scotch Plains Municipal Building, 430 Park Ave. Contact: Steve Dahl at 322-6700, or email Typical activities: helping with parks cleanup, office work, and sports and preschool programs.

Scotch Plains Senior Housing Corp.

2002 Lake Ave., Contact: Kenneth Shatten, 654-1313.

St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center

P.O. Box 159, 575 Woodland Ave., Madison. Contact: Lori McCann at 973-514-5920 to learn of the center’s current needs, which include food and supply drives.

Summit Animal League Inc.

Contact Felicia Barz, 665-1186, 15 Gales Drive, Apt. 3, New Providence, or P.O. Box 1446, Summit, 07902. Typical activities include donating food, collecting items for a flea market and being involved with pet adoption days and other projects. Check with Felicia about the league’s current needs.

Washington Rock Girl Scout Council

Go to for more information.

Westfield YMCA

728 Westfield Ave: Rosemary Castellone, volunteer coordinator, 908-233-2700 ext. 268

Health Facilities and Organizations

Ashbrook Nursing Home

1610 Raritan Road, Scotch Plains. Contact: Traci Roundtree , volunteer coordinator, 889-2588

Central New Jersey Jewish Home for the Aged

380 DeMott Lane, Somerset. Contact: Carrie Santiago, volunteer director, (732) 873-2000 ext. 2145. Typical activities: escorting residents to onsite events, playing cards, delivering mail and reading to and chatting with residents.

Clark Nursing and Rehabilitation Center

Old Raritan Road and Westfield Avenue, Clark. Contact: Elayne Alpert, volunteer coordinator, 396-7100. Typical activities: playing balloon volleyball, running Bingo games, playing Scrabble and other games, escorting residents and doing office work.

Cranford Health and Extended Care

205 Birchwood Ave., Cranford. Contact: Ella Montague, volunteer coordinator, 272-6660. Typical activities: reading to and playing cards or games with residents, doing arts and crafts activities, and pushing residents in wheelchairs to onsite activities. The center will try to match the interests of students and residents.

McCutchen Friends Home

112 Linden Ave., North Plainfield. Contact: Rosemary Lithgow, activity coordinator, 908-755-4243. Typical activities: chatting with residents, and playing card or board games.

Overlook Hospital

99 Beauvoir Ave., Summit. Contact: Gwendolyn, supervisor of junior volunteers, 522-2099.

Visiting Health Services of Union County

526 North Ave. East, Westfield. Contact: Anita Weinberg, executive director, 233-3113. Typical activities: helping with computer work, doing mailings and stuffing envelopes.

Internet-Based Projects is the home page for the Kids Care Clubs. It lets students know how to set up such clubs and suggests service projects that help the needy on the local and global levels .

Self-Directed Projects

Organize a collection of items, such as toys, clothing or nonperishable food to be donated to an organization of the student’s choice.

Date-Specific Projects

Fanwood Department of Public Works

Contact: Clint Dicksen, 322-7404. Typical activities: assisting with the annual Earth Day cleanup.

Jewish Federation’s Super Sunday (December)

1391 Martine Ave., Scotch Plains. Contact: Dot Sandberg, operations manager, 889-5335.