Gemilut Chasadim, literally meaning “the giving of loving-kindness,” is a fundamental social value in the everyday lives of Jews. It is a mitzvah that an individual completes gemilut chasadim without the anticipation of receiving something in return. There is no fixed measure of gemilut chasadim, which is one reason why rabbinic teachers articulate the importance of doing it all the time. Some examples include clothing the naked, feeding the hungry, burying the dead, and visiting the sick.
One of the ways we incorporate these principles at Kehilath Israel Synagogue is by reaching out beyond the four walls of our building, to help those in need. Each year volunteers from our congregation gather to engage in a variety of community service activities across the Kansas City metropolitan area. These activities could be singing at the local senior living facility, sorting and packing food items at our local Harvester’s food bank, or assisting in other ways at organizations such as Ronald McDonald House (a home away from home for children with cancer and their families during hospital stays) and Safe Home (a domestic violence shelter), just to name a few.
Provides another venue for our members to help bring comfort to those who are ill, frail or lonely. Our volunteers have an opportunity to visit our members in the local hospitals, senior residences or at people’s homes, providing companionship, meals, shopping or other services that they cannot do for themselves. This is our way of demonstrating to our members that they are not alone.