Congregation Beth Am: Serving Our Community

Early on a brisk September Sunday morning, eighteen Congregation Beth Am members gathered to deliver food around the community. Trucks and cars were loaded sky-high with stacks of boxes full of food for the holidays. Volunteers of all ages set out to deliver 100 packages of food to over 150 families throughout several neighborhoods in the Northwest Suburbs of Chicago. The recipients were grateful and smiled upon receiving the holiday package, and the Beth Am members felt they were making a difference! Everyone felt the excitement and joy that acts of kindness elicit. Some of the recipients are so happy they offer volunteers candy or chocolates. These treats are brought back to the Beth Am food pantry for the next donation opportunity. The feeling of gratitude and joy exudes from families that now have special meals for the holidays. The mitzvah (commandment) of giving food for the holidays is known as Maot Chitim.

Maot Chitim (Ma-OAT Ch-EE-teem) is a Jewish tradition during the holiday season, typically during Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) and Passover. Maot Chitim involves delivering food to the less fortunate. Maot Chitim translates to "Wheat money" because it meant that the poor would be provided with money for food, especially Matzah ( Wheat cracker) during Passover.

Over the years, Maot Chitim has evolved into collecting food donations to distribute during holiday times. The Maot Chitim Federation of Greater Chicago was established in 1908. Since then, they have helped over 16,000 in-need families during holiday times (Maot Chitim).

Congregation Beth Am is a synagogue located in Buffalo Grove that is heavily involved with charity and food collection. Throughout the year, CBA has food pantry drives and is involved with charities that give back to the less fortunate in their community and surrounding neighborhoods. Charity or "tzedakah" is a core value of Beth Am: "We engage in acts of lovingkindness, compassion, social justice, and tzedakah. We help heal our world and the community in which we live." (Congregation Beth Am) Maot Chitim is one of the many ways Beth Am gives back to the community. During holidays and throughout the year, Beth Am continues to serve the community. Every two weeks, the Beth Am Food Pantry distributes over 60 bags of food to families in need. Beth Am is also collecting stuffed animals through October 18, 2022, to give to children in need through the organization Zac's Zoo. There are countless ways CBA chooses to serve our community.

If interested in donating or receiving food donation services, please call 847-383-5017 or email:

Choose Kindness. Find Joy. Repair the World.


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