Mitzvot from the heart: Lauren Goldberg

Lauren Goldberg (front row, second from left) and some of her pumpkin-making crew in the Temple Israel kitchen.

Lauren Goldberg, Congregation Temple Israel

“Help Lauren Brighten The Holidays” was the name of Lauren’s mitzvah project. Because her bat mitzvah fell over the Thanksgiving weekend, Lauren, daughter of Susan and Paul Goldberg of Ladue, wanted to help those less fortunate have a happier holiday season. 

After being inspired by a conversation she had with Rabbi Michael Alper of Temple Israel about dignity, Lauren understood it is how it is not what you give, but how you give it. “I wanted to make sure that my mitzvah project was not only providing financial aid to the (Harvey Kornblum Jewish) Food Pantry, but also giving something to others in a dignified way that would make them feel like they matter, and are part of a community that cares about them.”

Making and donating pumpkin pies was just one of the ways. Included in Lauren’s bat mitzvah invitation was a note inviting family and friends to join her in the temple kitchen to bake. Fifty-six people showed up during the four different baking sessions. A total of 413 pumpkin pies were made, frozen, and delivered to the Jewish Food Pantry just in time for the holiday. 

The pies were then distributed to families who would otherwise not have a homemade pie for Thanksgiving. The volunteers helped Lauren fulfill her goal of making the holidays brighter for others. “For people who are constantly worrying about where their next meal will come from, a home-baked pie is an enormous and rare luxury that they would not have had otherwise,” she said.

Lauren has always had an interest in helping others. When she was six years old, she and her sister, Jennifer, decided to make jewelry from pipe cleaners and sell them to family and friends to raise money for the Jewish Food Pantry.  Over the years, she has continued to support the food pantry in various ways, by donating and sorting food, by taking others there to help, and now by requesting donations to be directed there in lieu of gifts for her bat mitzvah. Lauren’s guests were very generous as she collected about $8,000. 

A student at MICDS, Lauren said, “The feeling I get from helping others is a feeling you can’t get any other way. I have learned that you don’t have to move mountains to make a difference. Sometimes, all it takes is a pie.”