Here’s a riddle. How can a guilty pleasure like going shopping be turned into a good deed?
The answer’s simple. When shopping benefits worthy organizations and helps support local businesses, it becomes a community-oriented activity with a feel-good ripple effect.
That is the idea behind the upcoming Dean Street Stroll in Englewood, according to Joan Ornstein. She’s the co-vice president of the Bergen County section of the National Council of Jewish Women.
On Thursday, November 14, 12 shops on Dean Street will donate 10 percent of all sales on that day to NCJW-BCS and to the sisterhood at Temple Sinai of Tenafly. Proceeds will support, among other things, local programs addressing hunger, children, and seniors.
Participating merchants in the Dean Street Stroll include Arielle’s Gallery, Anac Designs, Atrex Shoes, Ayesha Studio Jewelry, Engle Shop, Engle Shop Too, Florentia Boutique, Marcia’s Attic, Marcia’s Attic Kids, Medici, Portage, and Pumpkin & Bean. All the stores will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
“I love Englewood and I wanted to support the small retail stores there,” Ms. Ornstein said. “I gave my pitch to the stores and they said, ‘Great!’
“I decided to include Temple Sinai Sisterhood because they have a wider generational membership than we do, and I thought it would be nice for the two organizations to get to know each other. A lot of people in our group are members of Temple Sinai Sisterhood, including two of our three co-presidents, Elizabeth Halverstam and Ruth Seitelman. Both of our organizations are very community minded.”
Franci Steinberg, the president of Temple Sinai’s sisterhood, said that she liked the idea as soon as Ms. Ornstein told her about it.
“We bring different ideas and different talents to the table, so it’s a great joint project for both of our organizations,” Ms. Steinberg said. “Our sisterhood gives back to the temple, to the community, and to Israel. That’s why we love doing things like this.”
The sisterhood of the 650-member family Reform synagogue has about 150 members. “We are multigenerational — from preschool moms to grandmothers, and everybody in between,” Ms. Steinberg said.
She describes the sisterhood as “a warm and welcoming community” that offers spiritual and social opportunities for women of all ages to perform acts of tikkun olam — of repairing the world.
The NCJW-BCS has approximately 1,000 members and offers educational programs and speakers throughout the year, holds six general meetings and a variety of study groups, book groups, trips, and advocacy opportunities. Examples of its recent activities include advocating for the passage of legislation to provide free feminine hygiene products for sixth- through 12th-graders in New Jersey’s public schools, and cosponsoring the recent community-wide forum called “Hate Has No Place.”
New Jersey’s First Lady, Tammy Murphy, is headlining the next NCJW-BCS general meeting, set to be held on November 12 at 12:30 p.m. at Temple Emeth, at 1666 Windsor Road in Teaneck. Ms. Murphy has worked with non-profits and organizations with missions similar to NCJW’s, focusing on the environment, education, healthcare, and youth and family services as well as the arts. Non-members are welcome to attend for $10; call Marilyn Sirulnick, (201) 343-3321, for more information.
Despite a full calendar of events and activities, “It’s getting more difficult to get people to volunteer,” Ms. Ornstein said. But “with the Dean Street Stroll, all you have to do is go shopping.”
You don’t have to be a member of either organization to take part, and you don’t have to ask merchants to put the 10 percent aside; all you have to do is buy something and the rest is taken care of.
“We want to make it a communitywide effort to educate everyone about our organization,” Ms. Ornstein said.
Two restaurants on Englewood’s East Palisade Avenue — Blue Moon Mexican Café and Red, White and Pasta — will offer a specially discounted lunch on the day of the Dean Street Stroll. (Neither restaurant is kosher.)
For more information about the Bergen County section of the National Council of Jewish Women and its upcoming programs, go to www.ncjwbcs.org or call (201) 385-4847.