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Temple Avodah in Oceanside lends a hand amid crisis

Members donate to Mount Sinai South Nassau, soup kitchens

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With coronavirus pandemic numbers increasing across Nassau County, Temple Avodah, in Oceanside, has ramped up its efforts to help the community.

Congregation members recently raised $6,000 to donate three meals to front-line workers at Mount Sinai South Nassau hospital in Oceanside, and have also taken part in many other charitable events around town.

“The members of the temple have been extraordinarily supportive, not only of the hospital workers, but of the community itself,” Temple Avodah President Gil Balanoff said. “We’ve been actively involved in a number of charitable events to try and help out local people as well.”

The temple donated dinners to the hospital back on May 14, breakfasts on May 20 and lunches on Nov. 22 as part of a Thanksgiving week donation. Balanoff said that temple members waited six months for the latest meal because they realized that supporting front-line workers wasn’t as necessary over the summer and into the fall after the initial wave of infections in the spring, when many local residents and business owners donated meals to hospital staff. Additionally, he said, it was important to show hospital workers that the community still supported them during the Thanksgiving holiday.

Balanoff said the goal was to make the staff’s Thanksgiving a little brighter, especially because many had to work during the holiday, and it was hard for them to gather with their families because of the uptick in coronavirus cases. “It takes a toll on them,” he said, “so anything we can do to make things better for them, we’re happy to do it.”

Dana Sanneman, MSSN’s executive director of external affairs and development, said hospital staffers were grateful for the temple’s donations, as well as the community support they have received since the pandemic peaked in the spring.

“From the beginning of the Covid-19 crisis, the outpouring of support from our community has warmed our hearts and provided a tremendous boost to the hospital’s hardworking staff,” Sanneman said in a statement. “We are grateful for the continued generosity of Temple Avodah and thank them for all they have done for Mount Sinai South Nassau during this challenging time.”

Balanoff said the goal of members collecting money was two-fold, as they helped to support front-line hospital workers with meals and patronized local businesses by purchasing food from them to feed the workers, including Delicious Moments in Baldwin and Frank’s Steaks in Rockville Centre.

“Things have been slowing down a little at the hospital,” Balanoff said, “but now they’re ramping up. The whole idea was our members from the temple really wanted to thank the hospital workers for the incredible work that they did.”

In addition to supporting the hospital, the temple has also started a collection of hats, gloves, scarves and money to donate to local homeless shelters, and is hosting a food collection for the Long Beach Soup Kitchen.

With coronavirus cases on the rise again, Balanoff said, temple members were pleased to be there when the MSSN employees received the meals, and noted that they expressed their gratitude for the effort.

Balanoff said he was grateful to the congregation for pooling its resources to help support front-line workers and those in need in local communities.

“I really want to emphasize the fact that our members were so generous and they didn’t hesitate for a moment when we decided that we were going to make a donation,” he said. “People came out in numbers that were extraordinary. Every little bit helped, and everybody tried to pitch in. It was very successful.”