NEW YORK, Oct. 2, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- UJA-Federation of New York, in celebration of volunteerism and community building, is providing $123,000 in grants supporting local community service projects for Jewish Social Action Month (JSAM), which coincides with the Jewish month of Cheshvan, running Saturday, October 5 through Sunday, November 3, 2013.

UJA-Federation's support for JSAM helps people from different backgrounds work together in community-based social action projects that aim to make life better for thousands more individuals and families. Each of the 31 community service projects funded throughout New York City, Long Island, and Westchester include a strong Jewish education component and a volunteer opportunity, in collaboration with multiple community groups.

"Jewish Social Action Month is a terrific way to connect diverse segments of the Jewish community in New York, enabling them to make a positive impact on the community, while building a stronger collective Jewish identity," said Neil Steinberg, JSAM's chair. "Throughout the month, UJA-Federation anticipates engaging more than 3,500 volunteers in service to their community."

The grants, distributed through UJA-Federation's Commission on the Jewish People, fund projects at a variety of agencies, including Jewish community centers, Hillels, human-service agencies, synagogues, and day schools. Each volunteer project focuses on a specific area, such as the environment; poverty and low-income populations; the elderly; the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) community; children with special needs; hunger; addiction; domestic violence; sex trafficking; emergency preparedness; mentoring programs; and community restoration and beautification.

Volunteer opportunities include:

  • On Staten Island — clean up a cemetery. The Parshat Chayei Sara Cemetery Clean-Up Project involves the greater Jewish community in helping Hebrew Free Burial Association (HFBA) maintain its historic Silver Lake Cemetery on Staten Island. Volunteers will rake leaves, remove debris, trim overhanging branches, and prune vines that are climbing on tombstones. HFBA's goal is to sensitize its volunteers to the end-of-life needs within the Jewish community.
  • On Long Islandcreate emergency "Grab & Go" bags for seniors. The Jewish Association Serving the Aging (JASA) Long Beach Senior Center, working in collaboration with Temple Emanu-El Long Beach Religious School, Youth of Young Israel Long Beach, and the Oceanside Jewish Center Sisterhood Mitzvah group, created the intergenerational Emergency Preparedness Project, which provides Jewish homebound seniors with practical information and resources in the event of an emergency such as Hurricane Sandy. Volunteers will assemble "Grab & Go" emergency bags to be delivered to seniors who are homebound and who receive home-delivered meals.
  • In Westchester — Knitzvah Corps. Congregation Emanu-El will launch Knitzvah Corps, bringing together people of all ages to knit and crochet chemo caps for Gilda's Club, a community for the support of individuals who are living with cancer.

For more information about JSAM and how to volunteer, please visit

About UJA-Federation of New York

For more than 95 years, UJA-Federation has been a central force for communal planning and philanthropy in the New York Jewish community. Through UJA-Federation, almost 60,000 donors pool their resources to help people in need, inspire a passion for Jewish life and learning, and strengthen Jewish communities around the world — to address the issues that matter to us most as Jews and as New Yorkers. Working with nearly 100 network beneficiary agencies, synagogues, and other Jewish organizations, our reach spans from New York to Israel to more than 70 other countries around the world, touching 4.5 million people each year. Because we do the most good when we do it together. For more information on how to donate or how to volunteer, please visit our website at

About Jewish Social Action Month

Jewish Social Action Month (JSAM) transforms the Jewish month of Cheshvan from a month without Jewish holidays into a global month celebrating volunteerism and community building. By funding 31 JSAM programs with participants from 100 organizations in the New York area, UJA-Federation is bringing together Jews from different backgrounds to collaborate in community-based social action projects that will help make life better for thousands more individuals and families. Now in its eighth year, JSAM takes place from Saturday, October 5 – Sunday, November 3, 2013 in all five boroughs, Long Island, and Westchester.

Shari Harel, 212.836.1884,