In the Talmud, the mitzvah of feeding people is called Arukh ha-Shulhan, which means “making our table longer.” When we ensure other people have enough to eat, we are making our own table longer.
Over the past months, a core group of TBE volunteers have gathered at our temple to perform a meaningful mitzvah. Working like a well oiled machine over multiple three day/three hour sessions, volunteers at their stations cut, chop, prepare and package healthy and delicious meals. The kitchen is a buzz of activity, people working in harmony, preparing nutritious, delicious meals amidst inspiring aromas and lively and engaging conversations. To date, hundreds of meals have been distributed to food-insecure recipients in locations from Wellesley to the Greater Boston area. Volunteers range from those with deep cooking expertise to others willing to learn, ready to jump in to wash dishes, mop, sweep, and do whatever it takes to maintain the flow of operations. From beef teriyaki over udon noodles with vegetables to chicken and vegetable skewers over lemon rice with creamed spinach, all meals are prepared and packaged with care and nachas to provide nourishing, flavorful meals to families in need.
Inspired by Wellesley Village Church congregant Gary Arthur’s response to the pandemic-fueled rise in food insecurity, Rabbi Sisenwine’s vision for TBE to perform Arukh ha-Shulhan was realized. Gary’s Village Table initiative produces and distributes about 1000 meals a month to families in need. Our CASA committee, excited to take on this initiative, created TBE Table modeled after Village Table with excellent hands-on guidance from Gary.
As our initiative grows, more TBE volunteers will be welcomed in a variety of roles including shopping, cooking, cleaning and distribution, and partnering with communities in need. To date, meals have been delivered to Community Fridges in Dorchester, Mattapan, Allston, Cambridge and Roslindale, Dimock Health Center, Harvard Square Homeless Shelter, and to families attending the Trotter School in Dorchester.