The Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion Soup Kitchen Beit Café, marking the Soup Kitchen's 20th anniversary, will take place on December 11, 2008.
The Soup Kitchen was created in 1988 in response to HUC-JIR students' desire to help the community that surrounded them. Those students recognized then, as they do today, the presence of individuals in need living in the Washington Square Park area. Recognition, however, was not enough, and so the HUC-J1R Soup Kitchen was created. Since then, HUC-JIR students' desire to help the community in which they live, work, and study has kept the Soup Kitchen operating as a place of vitality and transformation.
Twenty years later, the Soup Kitchen has grown and changed, as have the students and volunteers who have kept it running. Today the HUC-JIR/NY students continue to serve a hot sit-down meal to nearly 120 guests every Monday night. Honoring the Jewish tradition of “Hachnasat Orchim,” welcoming our guests, students try to create an intimate and comforting atmosphere by serving company at their tables and engaging them in conversation.
Each week students share this experience with youth groups, religious school classes, and adult volunteers from area synagogues who come to volunteer and to learn about putting the principles of Tzedakah and Tikkun Olam into practice. The HUC-JIR Soup Kitchen also offers a number of free services to guests: they distribute second-hand clothes in excellent condition and students and volunteers mend clothing.
More information on the HUC-JIR/NY Soup Kitchen is available at http://www.huc.edu/academics/continuing/soup.shtml.