investing in the black community
As one small way to enact our anti-racist values, Havurat Shalom decided to invest in Black economic empowerment by buying $2,000 worth of 7-year notes offered by Ujima, a Boston non-profit dedicated to democratically funding local businesses and projects that benefit Black, Brown and working-class communities in Boston. Ujima’s voting members – Boston residents of modest income – identify critical needs within the community, and based on these priorities, determine which investments Ujima funds, thus creating, at least on a small scale, a market driven by democracy rather than capitalism. To learn more about Ujima’s democratically-driven structure and priorities, check out their 2021 Annual Report.
diversifying the little free library
We may have our differences on many things at the Havurah, but I think we would all agree we love books. And one way we share this love is with the Little Free Library in front of the Hav. People take a book and leave a book and there's a lot of activity in and out. But is there enough diversity in the books? Are children seeing books that reflect who they are? Inspired by the Little Free Diverse Library project started by Sarah Kamya of Arlington, MA, we will now be adding diverse children's books to our little library and possibly some adult books, too. Some of them we will buy, and others, we hope, will be donated. If you would like to donate any of these books, please put them into the box on the front porch so they can be gradually added to the Little Library.
Diverse children's books in the little free library. Photo by Meredith Porter.
Tzedakah crafts project
In the winter of 2020, Havurah members combined knitting with a winterwear drive. We made, collected and donated 37 hats, 9 scarves and 5 pairs of gloves. At least 22 of the hats were hand knit for this project. We donated them to Mutual Aid Medford and Somerville (MAMAS), Second Chances and the Material Aid and Advocacy Program.
Knit hats, scarf, a skein of thread and knitting needles. Photo and knitting by Monica Holland.
Havurat Shalom is a member of Somerville Interfaith, a group working to help refugees in Somerville. One of the things Somerville Interfaith does is to give gift cards to the supermarket Market Basket to refugees who aren't allowed to work yet. The Havurah has a box near the front door with the Market Basket logo on it. You can put $25 Market Basket gift cards there, or checks made out to Havurat Shalom that specify 'gift card' in the subject line to help support refugees in our community. Or, if you're donating on-line, specify that your donation is for a Market Basket gift card. And thank you!
make a house a home
In May 2019, Havurat Shalom participated in the Somerville Homeless Coalition's Make a House a Home program. SCH provides homeless and near homeless individuals and families with individualized supportive services. Their Make a House a Home program focuses on families and individuals who are moving into an apartment, but do not have the resources to make their apartment "home." SHC provided the large furniture such beds and dressers. Havurat Shalom held a housewarming and collected the items to outfit the kitchen of a newly housed person.