New for 2012: GRJ Tzedakah Project

Tefillah – prayer.

Teshuvah – return/repentance.

Tzedakah – justice.

So the Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur liturgy says. All vital parts of the psychospiritual high holy day journey, not just for us but for the communities we are part of in this interwoven world.

This year, organised by Michelle Stein and on a level we’ve not attempted before, we are encouraging everyone who is part of Grassroots Jews to give something of themselves in the name of Tzedakah, in order to help others who are in need.

We are inviting, you, the GRJ community to give (not just money! not even money!) as individuals, in a way that speaks to your heart, but also as part of the community, dedicating an act of service to the GRJ Tzedakah Project.

Here’s what we are suggesting. Think of it as a menu – you choose!

1. Make a loan on, as part of the Grassroots Jews Lending Team, to help alleviate poverty. is incredible: you literally lend money to someone who needs it in a developing country, microfinancing their proposal as they work to become financially independent. They pay the money back – interest free – over a period of time, after which you can withdraw the funds or re-lend them to someone else who needs. It actually costs you nothing but it helps people to help themselves (cf Maimonides: “The greatest level, above which there is no other, is to strengthen the name of another… by giving him a present or loan, or making a partnership with him, or finding him a job in order to strengthen his hand until he needs no longer [beg from] people.”).

In order to make your Kiva loan as part of the GRJ Tzedakah Project join the ‘lending team’ here, and choose straight away from the projects and people who need your loan:

2. Add your own Tzedakah project or pledge to the GRJ registry of Tzedakah! On the Tzedakah registry link in the top menu (and here) you can leave your name and let the community know what you are doing as your act of Tzedakah. It could be anything – an act of giving of your choosing. What we ask is that it is during the Hebrew months of Elul or Tishrei (19th August – 16th October).

3. Give clothes and goods through World Jewish Relief’s Gifts in Kind programme: Bring clothes, toiletries, blankets, shoes and/or household products along to GRJ this Rosh Hashanah, to donate to impoverished communities in Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union. We will be organising to donate them, as a Grassroots collective, to World Jewish Relief’s Gifts in Kind programme:

4. Join a group of Grassroots Jews community members who will visit the local Jewish Care home on the afternoon of the second day of Rosh Hashanah, as part of a Taschlich (ritualistic ‘casting off of sins’). If you would like to join this group, please email with ‘Tzedakah Project’ as the subject title.


Grassroots leyning belongs to everyone, not just the professionals

One of the unique features of the Grassroots community is that each year we create an entire community together.

Nowhere is this more true than with regards to the torah readings. For many communities, it’s considered the preserve of the professional torah reader. At Grassroots, the torah reading is a part of the service that belongs to everyone.
26 people, 14 women and 12 men, volunteered to leyn last year, 15 of whom did it for the first time. Several of them afterwards said it was the most amazing part of their Grassroots experience.

We want you to take part in this tradition. Whether you’re a first timer or a seasoned reader, you’re invited to join our team of leyners for this year’s line up.

The torah readings for the High Holidays are brief, no more than 4-7 sentences. So if you’ve never done it before it’s is a great place to start. Our goal is to enable everyone to take part.
To facilitate the learning process, we’ve created an archive of recordings, which may be found here: Individual coaching is also available.
If you want to take part, please select one of the torah portions at and email your preference to
Your contribution will enrich your own High Holiday experience, as well as the experience of the whole community.

Much love from Grassroots