Families invited to experience Shoreshim's 'quality time'
By Deborah Moon Seldner
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For young families in today's busy world, quality time together is at a premium.
That's the reason Shoreshim has become so popular, according to Levia Friedman, co-chair of Congregation Neveh Shalom's Shoreshim Committee, which invites young families from throughout the community to its monthly programs and Tot Shabbat and ShabbatKids services.
Typically Shoreshim's holiday events draw more than 100 people. The Hanukkah dinner attracted more than 150. Shoreshim, which means "roots" in Hebrew, sponsors a monthly activity, which includes a tzedakah project, as well as Tot Shabbat and ShabbatKids services the first and third Saturday morning of the month. These family services meet at 10:15 a.m. and are followed by a light kiddush lunch.
"We are creating a place for quality family time," said Friedman, noting that separate events for just parents or just children don't seem to be as appealing to many families. "And it's all the better that it forms community and makes people feel they are part of something bigger."
"Shoreshim is an entry point for a lot of young families who end up joining Neveh Shalom," she added. "You go once and you feel part of it and you just keep going."
Co-chair Wendy Vollen added that including a tzedakah project is an important part of Shoreshim.
"It's important to us for the kids to understand we're not just having a party," said Vollen. "Part of Jewish life is helping others and helping the community."
This year, under the theme "Share the Bounty," the children have collected food for the Sunshine Pantry, brought supplies for needy families and donated items for dogs at a local shelter. The flyer for each event includes a description of that month's tzedakah project and tells families what they can bring to help that agency or family.
Vollen said Shoreshim provides social, educational and Jewish activities for families. Recently, she said, organizers have provided handouts for parents with ideas on how to bring Jewish practice into their homes.
Shoreshim's next event will be a tree planting and ivy pulling program at Tryon Creek State Park in honor of Tu B'shvat, the new year for the trees. Families will meet at the park on Terwilliger Boulevard at 9:30 a.m., Jan. 23. Friedman encouraged families to come experience the fun of Shoreshim.
In addition to planting trees and pulling ivy to help the environment, families will participate in a treasure hunt "with real treasure." Jewish environmentalist Jordan Epstein, who also leads the group's tot Shabbat, will lead a trek through the park. Doughnuts, hot chocolate and coffee will be served.
For more information on Shoreshim, call Friedman at 503-295-2262 or Vollen at 503-243-2002. To be included on the mailing list for Shoreshim events, call Congregation Neveh Shalom at 503-246-8831.