TELEM Service Learning for Jewish Teens

TELEM programs build the next generation of engaged Jewish citizens by forging a compelling connection between social action and Judaism. TELEM integrates volunteer service with learning and reflection, enabling students to build a habit of service connected to their Jewish identity.

Max Fran Litner 2020

2020 Fran Litner TELEM Service Award

Congratulations to Max, this year’s winner of the Fran Litner TELEM Service Award!

Max has been a dedicated participant in Congregation Agudath Achim’s TELEM program since it began in 2016. He currently volunteers with the children living at the Conway House family shelter, and has a gift for engaging and connecting with those he serves. Max is also a dedicated volunteer at Horizons for Homeless Children and Family Table. In nominating him for the award, his TELEM educator said: “He makes repairing the world look easy and fun and makes other people (like me) want to do more of it.”

Max was presented with the award on Saturday during Congregation Agudath Achim’s zoom Shabbat service.

TELEM is honored to recognize Max for his commitment to volunteer work. This award was launched in 2013 in honor of Fran Litner, the longtime Education Director of Temple Beth Emunah, Brockton. Fran was a passionate champion of TELEM. The Fran Litner award is given to a Jewish teen from the South Area who best exemplifies Fran’s commitment to TELEM and service to the community.

What Volunteering Means to Us

As brothers, we have been participating in Family Table for almost three years. We go once a month, and meet at Temple Sinai early in the morning. We take a half-hour bus drive to the Family Table in Waltham and work there for three hours. Despite three hours sounding like a long time to work, the time usually flies by.

At Family Table, our usual jobs include putting out and arranging canned soup, as well as sorting varieties of food by their expiration date. Different temples and organizations donate food, and it is our task to bring it from the pantry and onto tables to sort them into organized piles.  This way, if the recipient has a special diet such as kosher or low sodium, they can get the soup they need. We often do these tasks together, and we work alongside other Family Table participants who attend Temple Sinai.

We have done other volunteer work as brothers at our schools and in our community in Cambridge. Family Table is special to us, however, because we find importance in appreciating how lucky we are to have enough good, healthy food at home. It feels good to come back to the same place, knowing what our role is, and knowing that we are making a difference in the community. Because we are brothers two years apart, we have shared many experiences, but working together at the Family Table is special because we are working as a part of something bigger than ourselves to try to help the community.

Isaac and Eli D.
Temple Sinai of Brookline TELEM volunteers