For many decades, Barbara and Alan Sidman have championed programs and organizations on the North Shore, especially those that focus on tikkun olam and social responsibility. They are cofounders and cochairs of Tzedek LaKol, the racial and social justice committee at Congregation Shirat Hayam in Swampscott. They also are active supporters and volunteers with Keshet, My Brother’s Table, and Epstein Hillel School, where Barbara was a kindergarten teacher for 30 years and Alan chaired the board of directors.
On Dec. 3, at the annual Friends of the Hillel Library celebration, Epstein Hillel School will honor the Sidmans with the Edith Bloch Award, in recognition of their dedication to strengthening the connection between Jewish values and inclusivity.
“To celebrate the Sidmans’ ongoing efforts to create a Jewish community of equality and compassion, the Dec. 3 event will be all about spreading and sharing light through inclusivity,” said Dr. Maura Copeland, co-chair of the Friends of the Hillel Library committee.
As part of the program, the library will be bringing the work of the organization OrLanu (“Our Light”) to the North Shore. Founded in 2018 by Dr. David Moss and Rabbi Moishe Steigman, OrLanu leads lantern-making workshops that foster conversation and community and help participants make a connection between intention and action.
Epstein Hillel School’s grades 6-8 will be participating in an OrLanu workshop during the week leading up to the event. The process will encourage students to answer questions about what “spreading light” means to them and how they can share their own individual expression of light with the world. This workshop will be particularly meaningful leading up to Hanukkah, a time when strength, unity, and light are celebrated. The students’ completed lanterns will be displayed for attendees to enjoy.
The Dec. 3 event also will feature guest speaker Rabbi Tiferet Berenbaum, director of Congregational Learning and Programming at Temple Beth Zion in Brookline and former board member of OrLanu. Rabbi Berenbaum’s personal journey to Judaism 20 years ago, and her experience as a Jew of color gives her a unique perspective that she shares with her audiences.
“I’m thrilled that Rabbi Tiferet Berenbaum will be joining us to help honor the Sidmans,” said Amy Gold, Epstein Hillel head of school. “Rav Tiferet, Barbara, and Alan share a deep commitment to making the Jewish community a place where all people are welcome. This aspiration mirrors the values and mission of Epstein Hillel School. This program is going to be very inspiring and moving as we celebrate the shared values of OrLanu and Barbara and Alan.”
The Friends of the Hillel Library celebration will take place on Sunday, Dec. 3, at 10 a.m., at Epstein Hillel School in Marblehead. The event is free and open to the public, with donations welcome in honor of the Sidmans. A light buffet breakfast will be served. RSVP to Lori Kreevoy at email@example.com.