Temple announces opening of Family Table South


Adrienne Fleishman and her husband, Jerry, have long been committed to serving people in need. For the past eight years, the local couple, who are very involved with social action work at Temple Beth Abraham in Canton, has delivered food to families and senior citizens in Boston who cannot afford to buy groceries regularly.

“The need is great,” Adrienne Fleishman said.

Ann Hartstein, Temple Beth Abraham's social action chair, stocks the shelves before the first food distribution.

Ann Hartstein, Temple Beth Abraham’s social action chair, stocks the shelves before the first food distribution.

Jewish Family & Children’s Service (JF&CS) has long recognized the need to help provide food to people in as many communities as possible. JF&CS has sponsored a food pantry on the north shore and wanted to do the same in the Boston area and on the south shore. Last summer, when Fleishman found out that JF&CS had contacted the Temple Beth Abraham community about using the Washington Street location for a food pantry, she said, “Let’s go!” She added that the synagogue thought that it was a great charitable venture to undertake.

JF&CS opened Family Table South at the temple, which held its first food distribution on October 18. The launch and dedication of the temple’s food pantry will take place this Sunday, November 22. A second Family Table is located in Waltham.

More than two dozen families have preregistered for Family Table South. The majority of the families will have food delivered to them. The others will make their own selections during a two-hour block of time at the temple called Market Place.

Fleishman, the onsite coordinator for Family Table South, acknowledged that using a food pantry can be a difficult step for someone to take. “People are uncomfortable with any kind of food pantry,” she said. “They’d like to not have to partake. There’s a stigma attached. I wish there wasn’t.”

Donating food to the needy is a longstanding tradition at Temple Beth Abraham. The congregation brings bags of food to the Canton Food Pantry as a way to mark their new year at Rosh Hashanah and also donates pies at Thanksgiving. Several synagogues in the greater Boston area have been involved in collecting food for years to help supplement food pantries, with each synagogue assigned different food items, such as rice and pasta. Temple Beth Abraham collects peanut butter and kosher soups.

Fleishman said that Temple Beth Abraham has plenty of room in the social hall to host the Market Place shoppers and to store food and supplies. Shortly before Rabbi Navah Levine received the letter from JF&CS inquiring about using the temple for Family Table South, the Canton Board of Health had just certified the temple’s kitchen. The temple will also stock fresh produce and frozen foods for distribution.

“We had an extra freezer and a small refrigerator,” Fleishman said. “This just fit in with our community service.”

Fleishman emphasized that Family Table South is available to anyone. “We are offering the service to the Canton community and the greater south shore community,” she said. “People can contact JF&CS at 781-647-5327.”

JF&CS has provided exceptional human service and health care programs, guided by Jewish traditions of social responsibility, compassion and respect for all members of the community, for the last 150 years. JF&CS currently serves more than 400 families each month in 108 towns across eastern Massachusetts. That number includes families living in 45 towns south of routes 93 and 128 in towns from Dedham to Quincy.

Family Table is the only kosher food pantry in the greater Boston area. Individuals who wish to donate food items to the Family Table can obtain a copy of the food donation list by sending an email to familytable@jfcsboston or calling the number above.

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