December - Gemilut Chasadim


December - Gemilut Chasadim (Acts of Loving Kindness)


Jewish Tradition

Different than tzedakah, gemilut chasadim, or acts of loving kindness, is charitable giving that is personal, not financial. It’s a broad, general, concept for all mitzvot (good deeds).

Every day is an opportunity for acts of loving kindness. They range, they’re diverse, but doing a mitzvot is wonderful all the same. Examples can be feeding the hungry, clothing the needy, or comforting a friend going through a hard time.

At Temple, December is Mitzvah Month, which is the time for many volunteer and mitzvah opportunities that are free and open to all. Below you will find a variety of projects:

  • Mitzvah Carnival
    • For grades K to 8 – Come to Religious School on Sunday, December 8, and participate in Mitzvah Carnival! There will be a wide variety of Mitzvah projects from which to choose!
  • Adopt-A-Family
    • Volunteers buy individual gifts for families in need who are clients of Family Service Association. We will gather on Sunday, December 15, at 12:00 Noon to wrap, sort, and bag the gifts by families, and to enjoy lunch! A sign-up form to purchase gifts will be available soon.
  • Tzedek Thursday at the Holocaust Memorial & Museum
    • On Thuursday, December 19th at 10:00 AM we will be going to the Jewish Community Center (JCC) to assemble Hanukkah gifts for San Antonio's Holocaust survivors. Afterwords, we will be delvering the gifts. RSVP to Ross Halfant at [email protected] - spacing is limited! 
  • Hanukkah Party at Adante Senior Living
    • Volunteers are needed for a SAJSS Hanukkah Party at Adante Senior Living (2702 Cembalo Blvd., off NW Military Hwy) on Sunday, December 22, at 2:00 pm. Contact Geri Gregory at 210-733-9135, ext. 120 or email [email protected] if you can help.
  • First Responders Christmas Meal Service
    • Families will bring Christmas Dinner to various fire and police stations throughout San Antonio. Five options to choose from:
    • Cook a meal at home with your family and deliver on Christmas Day to an assigned fire station or police station.

      Come to Temple on Christmas Day to pick up a meal and deliver to an assigned fire station or police station.

      Come to Temple and cook for our Christmas Day deliveries. (December 22, 23, 24, & 25) Sign up by contacting Geri Gregory at [email protected] or 210-733-9135, ext. 120.

      4) Buy groceries for our Temple cooks - must be delivered by December 21st!

      5) Bake Christmas Cookies to deliver to the First Responders (at least 2 dozen, but more are welcome!).

  • Haven for Hope Meal Service
    • Volunteers spend 1-1/2 hours to serve Breakfast (6:00 am) Lunch (11:00 am) or Dinner (4:30 pm) in the St. Vincent dePaul Kitchen to the homeless in Haven for Hope’s Prospect Courtyard on Christmas Day, Wednesday, December 25. Contact Geri Gregory at [email protected] or 210-733-9135, ext. 120.
  • Ronald McDonald House
    • Volunteers answer phones on Wednessday, December 25th for two Ronald McDonald House (RMH) locations, so RMH staff can celebrate the holiday at home - 227 Lewis St., between San Pedro & McCullough, near the Temple, and Children’s Hospital of San Antonio, 333 N. Santa Rosa. The three shifts for volunteers are 9:00 am to 12:00 pm, 12:00 to 3:00 pm, and 3:00 to 6:00 pm. Volunteer duties include answering phones and assisting/checking-in families. Volunteers must be at least 18 years of age. Contact Liz Medina at Ronald McDonald House directly to volunteer at 210-614-2554 or e-mail.

Contact Geri Gregory or Ross Halfant for additional details.



  • Film:
    • Kindness is Compassion (2014)
      • The impact and infectiousness of human kindness and compassion.
    • A Little Princess (1995)
      • When young Sara is sent to a boarding school by her well-meaning World War I-bound father, the imaginative girl makes the best of things by entertaining her friends with fanciful tales.
    • Pay it Forward (2000)
      • The story of a social studies teacher who gives an assignment to his junior high school class to think of an idea to change the world for the better, then put it into action.
    • The Blind Side (2009)
      • Michael Oher, a homeless black teen, has drifted in and out of the school system for years. Then Leigh Anne Tuohy and her husband, Sean, take him in. The Tuohys eventually become Michael's legal guardians, transforming both his life and theirs.
    • For children:
  • ELITalks: (Allows individuals and organizations to cultivate, transmit, and curate Jewish ideas and thoughts through digital conversations.)
  • TED Talks:
  • Books:
    • Kindness Matters” by John Magee
      • This book aims to encourage you to make a commitment and conscious effort to carry out acts of kindness and to engage with the principle of the Kindness Matters 30 Day Challenge.
    • “Doing Good Better” by William MacAskill
      • Most of us want to make a difference. We donate our time and money to charities and causes we deem worthy, choose careers we consider meaningful, and patronize businesses and buy products we believe make the world a better place. Unfortunately, we often base these decisions on assumptions and emotions rather than facts. As a result, even our best intentions often lead to ineffective—and sometimes downright harmful—outcomes. How can we do better?
    • “The Seventh Most Powerful Thing” by Shelley Pearsall
      • It was a bitterly cold day when Arthur T. Owens grabbed a brick and hurled it at the trash picker. Arthur had his reasons, and the brick hit the Junk Man in the arm, not the head. But none of that matters to the judge—he is ready to send Arthur to juvie for the foreseeable future. Amazingly, it’s the Junk Man himself who offers an alternative: 120 hours of community service . . . working for him.
    • “Unlikely Brothers” by John Prendergast
      • As a curious, driven, and emotionally wounded twenty-year-old, J.P. made the life-changing decision to form a “Big Brother/Little Brother” relationship with then seven-year-old Michael, who was living out of plastic bags and drifting from one homeless shelter to the next with his mother and siblings.
    • “Notes from the Midnight Driver” by Jordan Sonnenblick
      • 16-year-old Alex decides to get even. His parents are separated, his father is dating his former third-grade teacher, and being 16 isn't easy, especially when it comes to girls. Instead of revenge though, Alex ends up in trouble with the law and is ordered to do community service at a senior center where he is assigned to Solomon Lewis, a "difficult" senior with a lot of gusto, advice for Alex, and a puzzling (yet colorful) Yiddish vocabulary.
    • For children:

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