- Karsh Center
While the winter Omicron spike brought an unwelcome sense of deja vu to our city these last few months, the Karsh Center remained nimble, focused, and determined to safely pivot once again, and continue to provide services to our community, which continues to feel the heavy impacts of the pandemic. Amidst this time of challenge, our community came together to end the year with joy, service, and connection, providing inspiration for all we can do together in this new year. Just a few of those highlights are featured below.
2022 starts strong!
We’re proud to have kept the momentum going as we started the New Year. This includes teaming up with the Religious School to host WBTYHelps students from the Irmas and Glazer Campuses in February and March for their volunteer orientations at the Karsh Center, and hands-on service projects in support of our Food and Nutrition Security programs. We look forward to hosting WBTYHelps students from the University Campus later this spring!
In February, Wilshire Boulevard Temple and the Karsh Center continued the tradition created by University Synagogue, hosting the 2022 Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count’s Brentwood site. The annual homeless count is a critical activity for understanding the needs of some of our most vulnerable community members, and getting data that helps advocate for resources and services for this population. Our profound thanks to the dozens of volunteers who made the Brentwood Count possible, and the hundreds who participated across L.A. County, providing a clear answer from this community to the question posed by Homeless Count organizers, “they count, will you?”
At the end of December, the Karsh Center welcomed in the parents and caregivers of more than 450 children for our Annual Holiday Toy Giveaway, inviting caregivers to Karsh to pick out a toy for their child in our “winter wonderland.” This event took a village, and we are grateful to Brawerman Elementary School, Religious School, and Early Childhood Center as well as the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles for hosting toy drives; Baby2Baby for including our community in the Family2Family program; Temple congregants and Karsh Center volunteers for securing additional corporate donations; Brawerman East parents who transformed the Leanse Ratner Family Food Pantry into a true winter wonderland; and our Karsh volunteers and staff who hosted families at this exciting event.
Christmas meals at the VA
Despite the impacts of Omicron and the rare bit of inclement weather, we provided some respite and joy during the holidays for residents who live in transitional housing at the VA in Westwood. On a very rainy Christmas morning, Karsh volunteers and Temple members, Dena Bloom (Karsh Center Board President) and Robert Klyman picked up individually packaged hot brunch meals from Denny’s and delivered them on behalf of the Karsh Center to the VA. Thanks to Dena and Robert’s efforts, with the support of the dedicated staff of the VA, the Karsh Center provided a warm Christmas brunch to 170 veterans!