Photo Exhibit Chronicles 200 Years of Community Involvement

Press Contact: Nina Jacobson
Office: (212) 678-8950

January 26, 2006, New York, NY

Dozens of students and adults, each at their own table at P.S. 125, read together; a "Great Job!" is followed by laughter and a hug. A hot meal is delivered daily to individuals living with HIV/AIDS on the Upper West Side. The Ansche Chesed and Stephen Wise Homeless Shelters are staffed. More than $20,000, raised through the annual tzedakah (charity) campaign, is distributed to close to forty charitable organizations, religious and secular, in New York, across the US, and the world.

Every day for the past twenty years, the Va'ad Gemilut Hasadim: Center for Community Outreach of The Jewish Theological Seminary, has provided a variety of opportunities for JTS students, faculty and staff from each of JTS's five schools to volunteer in the local New York City community and beyond. A photo exhibit chronicling the Va'ad's twentieth anniversary of serving the community will be on display Monday, February 13 through Friday, February 24 in The Library of The Jewish Theological Seminary, 3080 Broadway (at 122nd Street) in New York City.

Today, more than four hundred JTS community members participate in Va'ad–sponsored programs each academic year. Its motto, "Helping Out for Heaven's Sake," underscores the fact that although Va'ad volunteers are not paid for their efforts, the rewards that they receive are substantial. Through gemilut hasadim, deeds of loving kindness, the Va'ad transforms what is taught and learned at JTS into action.

Among the Va'ad ongoing programs are partnerships with God's Love We Deliver (hot meal deliveries), Everybody Wins! (reading literacy), the Broadway Community Inc./Soup Kitchen, Cancer Care and Women in Need, Inc. The Volunteer Leadership Program, designed to create a group of educated and dedicated volunteers, was recently formed. Va'ad programming is generously supported by Susan and Jack Rudin.

Exhibit hours are Sunday, 9:30 a.m.–9:00 p.m.; Monday–Thursday 8:00 a.m.–9:00 p.m.; and Friday 8:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m. (or JTS closing time). Admission is free; photo ID is required. Further information about the exhibition and the work of the Va'ad is available by contacting Adam Pollack at (212) 678–8916.

Editors/Reporters: The media is invited to the exhibit reception at 12:15 p.m. on Thursday, February 16. For further information please contact Sherry S. Kirschenbaum in the Department of Communications at (212) 678–8953 or email.

Founded in 1886 as a rabbinical school, The Jewish Theological Seminary today is the academic and spiritual center of Conservative Judaism worldwide, encompassing a world–class library and five schools. JTS trains tomorrow's religious, educational, academic and lay leaders for the Jewish community and beyond.

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