Tikkun Olam Holds its 12th Annual Project Prom

As prom season approaches, the excitement among high school students is palpable. Yet, for some, the anticipation is clouded by worries about the costs associated with this milestone event. Temple Emanu-El’s Project Prom empowers hundreds of high school seniors in New York City, offering them a boutique-style shopping experience where they can receive free prom ensembles.

For the 12th consecutive year, Tikkun Olam transformed our space into a bustling boutique, adorned with racks of dresses in all sizes, shelves of shoes, bags, and an array of accessories—all available free of charge. 

With a selection of over 1,000 dresses catering to more than 365 girls from 22 different schools, the event ensures that everyone has the opportunity to experience this milestone. Susan Kaufman, the Tikkun Olam committee chair, emphasized the inclusive nature of the initiative, stating, “the schools will invite girls who might not otherwise be able to afford to go to prom, so we work with guidance counselors so that we make sure that every girl in need gets a full, beautiful prom ensemble.”

What sets Project Prom apart is not only its scale but also its commitment to providing brand new attire. Through the generous donations from vendors within the community, every item in the room sparkles with the promise of a magical evening. We would not be able to host this event without the extreme generosity of our vendors:

  • Dress donations provided by Amsale, Mon Cheri Bridals, The Dessy Group, Adrianna Papell Group, Alex Evenings, Jump Design Group, Jovani  and the Levy Group 
  • Shoes and handbag donations provided by Steve Madden, Perry White Designs, Michael Kors, Frances Valentine, Tyler Ellis, Mundi Westport Group, Kayu, Nina Footwear and CJS Sales 
  • Jewelry donations provided by Deepa Gurnani, The Jewelry Group, Centric Brands Group, Kendra Scott and Kamilan Yuzovitskiy
  • Makeup donations provided by Orosa Beauty and Bobby Brown

It is essential to acknowledge the unsung heroes behind the scenes—over 100 volunteers from Temple Emanu-El and Park Avenue Synagogue selflessly dedicated their time and effort to act as personal shoppers to support students and ensure that every aspect of the event ran smoothly. A special thanks also goes to the Project Prom committee leaders as their constant dedication to this yearly event is how the magic happens! We are grateful to Debbie Halperin, Lori Vili, Rena Goldstein, Jennifer Rittmaster, Dana Covey, Abby Solomon, Eileen Melniker and Marlene Yokel for all their hard work. Thank you also to Karen Smul from Park Avenue Synagogue who has been the Project Prom in-house photographer for many years!

Project Prom showcases the impact of spreading joy and empowering young women, and is a unique way to introduce members of the Temple Emanu-El community to the myriad ways Tikkun Olam gives back to the larger New York community.

See ABC7’s coverage of this year’s Project Prom.

Thank You to Our Volunteers at Mitzvah Day

Tikkun Olam Volunteers and Project Leaders gathered in Wise Hall this past Sunday, March 17, 2024, to assemble over 2,000 packages containing more than 16,000 items, including provisions for food insecurity, to aid communities in need during Tikkun Olam’s Spring Mitzvah Day. We are grateful to the over 60 community members who arrived ready to …

Tikkun Olam Winter Mitzvahs

Tikkun Olam volunteers came together this February to assemble 75 Mishloach Manot packages for the Jewish Chaplains Council and 96 packages for East Harlem Community Partnership/Union Settlement. The Mishloach Manot packages included Purim treats such as Hamantaschen, candy and groggers to celebrate. The packages for East Harlem Community Partnership/Union Settlement featured hats, gloves, socks, arts …

Thank You to Our Volunteers at the Supply Drive for Israel

Thank you to all of our volunteers who contributed their time and energy to a worthwhile mitzvah for the Supply Drive for Israel. We received hundreds of packages and had 100+ volunteers from the Temple Emanu-El community join us to pack an impressive 842 items to be sent to Israel’s front lines. For our third …

Thank You to our Tikkun Olam Volunteers at the Children’s Christmas Party

On Thursday, December 28, Temple Emanu-El hosted the Children’s Village Annual Holiday party in I. M. Wise Hall. What a truly wonderful and festive celebration as over 125 children and their foster parents enjoyed a delicious meal and scrumptious desserts. 45 staff members from the Children’s Village also attended, as many of them work closely with the families. So many happy faces as each child received a Winter Wish that was age- and gender-appropriate from Santa Claus. The children were entertained with glitter tattoos and carnival games which were a huge hit!

These children may not have received a gift for Christmas this year, which makes this even more moving. This is the third opportunity Temple Emanu-El has had to host this party. Hopefully this will become an annual event! The theme was a “Christmas Wonderland” and Temple Emanu-El volunteers decorated I.M. Wise Hall and it looked very festive! A huge thank you to all who were there to support this very important cause. The children and their families were so excited and had so much fun. It is very difficult to express the emotion in the room that day. To see these young children so very happy for a short time during the day was overwhelming. Their lives are in a state of turbulence and Temple Emanu-El is so blessed to be able to provide support and a sense of community for a few hours during the holiday season to make their days a bit brighter.

The Children’s Village was founded in 1851, and today, their mission remains very much the same: they work in partnership with families to help society’s most vulnerable children so that they become educationally proficient, economically productive, and socially responsible members of their communities.

Many, Many thanks to Jesus Toribio, our staff, John O’Hara and Mark Heutlinger as without their support we would not be able to fulfill so many of our Mitzvah’s.

Temple Emanu-El and all of our volunteers are so blessed to be able to assist those who need support, showing that people within the community really do care as we share comfort, conversation and compassion.

Learn how you can get involved with Tikkun Olam at Temple Emanu-El.

A Message from Tikkun Olam President Susan Kaufman to the Thanksgiving Dinner Volunteers

Thank you to all of the amazing volunteers who gave their time on the Sunday before Thanksgiving for Tikkun Olam’s annual dinner. I would like to express my extreme gratitude to the Thanksgiving Committee: Debbie Halperin, Rebecca Weisberg, Lori Villi, Shelly Katz and Marlene Yokel, who worked tirelessly and committed countless hours to make this …

Together in Strength and Hope: Reflections on the March for Israel Rally

November 15, 2023 Yesterday marked a historic day for our community and the entire Jewish people. Nearly 300,000 of us gathered at the National Mall in Washington, D.C., for the March for Israel rally, surpassing the record set by the March for Soviet Jewry in 1987. Temple Emanu-El is proud to have played our part …

Thank You to our Tikkun Olam Volunteers

Tikkun Olam volunteers came together on October 19 to assemble 300 toiletry kits filled with 12 essential items for vulnerable populations across New York City. Our support to The Urban Outreach Center helps those facing food and housing insecurity have access to crucial items such as hygiene kits and other basic resources.

The Urban Outreach Center is an Upper Manhattan-based nonprofit with a vision to end the hunger gap in East Harlem and the Upper East Side. Working to ensure access to all types of material necessities beyond those found at many food pantries, The Urban Outreach Center provides healthy foods, personal hygiene items, clothing, and social services. The Urban Outreach Center helps more than 65,000 New Yorkers per year to find food, social services support, and many other critical necessities.

We would like to express our gratitude to our volunteers Jodi Weisel, Eileen Melniker, Susan Warren, Judith West, Miriam Reines, Rena Goldstein, Phyllis Brodsky, Roz Pretzfelder, Pete Webb, Mark Heutlinger and Eileen Ames. Their commitment to helping those less fortunate is a true Mitzvah.

Learn how you can get involved with Tikkun Olam at Temple Emanu-El.

Thank You to our Emergency Supply Drive for Israel Volunteers

Thank you to all of our volunteers who contributed their time and energy to a worthwhile mitzvah for the Emergency Supply Drive for Israel. We received hundreds of packages and had 35 volunteers from the Temple Emanu-El Nursery School Mitzvah Committee and Tikkun Olam Committee join us to pack 50 large duffle bags to be sent to Israel’s front lines and hospitals. The critical efforts were featured on CBS and included on Fox and NY1 in stories about the conflict in Israel.

During the five-day drive in which people could either drop off supplies in the temple’s lobbies or make purchases from an Amazon wish list, thousands of the requested items were donated, including more than 200 tourniquets, 350 QuickClot, 500 combat wound dressings, 300 vent chest seals, 200 pulse oximeters and more.

Through our members’ incredible support, Temple Emanu-El has:

  • Sponsored an ambulance for Magen David Adom, Israel’s national medical emergency services agency.
  • Provided vital funding to Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon, which suffered significant damage last week due to rocket fire from Gaza and is on the front lines of treating injured survivors.
  • Collected over 2,100+ first aid items for IDF units and 400+ packages of baby formula for hospitals through our Emergency Supply Drive.

In the face of conflict, our community embodies the ethos of shared responsibility, binding individuals together in a tapestry of empathy and compassion. Whether offering assistance to the affected families or lending a listening ear to those in distress, the power of communal unity remains a beacon of light in the darkest of hours.

Thank You to our Tikkun Olam Mitzvah Project Volunteers

Tikkun Olam volunteers came together on August 8 to assemble 240 backpacks filled with 21 essential items for students from The Children’s Village in time for the start of school.  Our support helps vulnerable children and teens in NYC on their journey towards well-being, belonging and independence.

The Children’s Village was founded in 1851, and today, their mission remains very much the same: they work in partnership with families to help society’s most vulnerable children so that they become educationally proficient, economically productive, and socially responsible members of their communities. They believe that there are three keys to a child’s success: education, work, and lifelong relationships and they help children develop and nurture life-long relationships with family, friends, and mentors.

We would like to express our gratitude to Eileen Melniker, Susan Alexander, Roz Pretzfelder, Marilyn Ezzes, Jodi Weisel, Phyllis Brodsky, Susanne Fischer, Barbara Fox, Diane Bialick and Tess Tarantino who volunteered for many hours to complete this very meaningful Mitzvah. Without their continued commitment to helping those in need we would not have been able to provide these essential supplies for students.

Learn how you can get involved with Tikkun Olam at Temple Emanu-El.

Children’s Village Thanks Emanu-El Tikkun Olam

Temple Emanu-El’s Tikkun Olam Committee received a wonderful thank you email from Children’s Village Inwood House Director Valerie Worthy for the temple’s Project Prom donations.

THANK YOU!!

Words cannot explain the “GRATITUDE” we are sending from the Inwood House Residential and School Base Programs.  The in-kind “Project Prom” donations we received from the entire Development Team allowed us to be a dynamic support to young adults in Foster Care, Domestic Violence Shelters and low-income housing, who could not afford to buy prom dresses or shoes this year.

It was such a rewarding experience to support these young adults, and we could not have done any of this without all of you and the generosity of the donors.

Please send them a huge “Thank You!”

Thank you all once again and have a wonderful day.

Valerie Worthy
Director, Children’s Village Inwood House

Kudos to the Tikkun Olam Committee, Project Prom volunteers, all of our donors and our corporate partners!

Learn how you can get involved with Tikkun Olam at Temple Emanu-El.

A Big Thank You to Our 2023 Project Prom Team and Partners

by Susan Kaufman Chair, Tikkun Olam Committee A huge thanks to the more than 80 volunteers who helped assist over 360 young women to prepare for their senior proms! We could not hold this event without your continued support and guidance. The room was filled with laughter, smiles and lots of giggles! The event was …