While many Christians will be spending the holiday weekend in church or celebrating with family, a group of 95 volunteers from Congregation M'kor Shalom synagogue in Cherry Hill will be relieving staff members at the Ronald McDonald House in Camden.
Marilyn Hailpern has been going to the home-away-from-home for families with sick children for eight years. She said it has become a family tradition for her and other members of her congregation to give the Ronald McDonald House staffers a chance to be with their families on Christmas.
Her congregation holds social justice and its tikkun olam -- or "repair the world" in Hebrew -- responsibilities very seriously, Hailpern said.
"It's a wonderful Christmas gift for us," said Teddy Thomas, the executive director for the Ronald McDonald House of Southern New Jersey.
God bless 'em.
UPDATE: In case you're wondering, the term "standby" in the title of this posting is a Navy expression. Even when in port, U.S. Navy ships are manned by at least a skeleton crew every day of the year, 24x7x365. Back in the day, if a ship was going to be in port on Thanksgiving or Christmas or Easter, the single guys who didn't have the duty on that day, and who weren't going home on leave, would often volunteer to stand by for any married guys who did have the duty. That way, the married guys could spend the day with their families, and would reciprocate on some other occasion. It was a nice, cooperative arrangement. (I use the term "guys" advisedly, because this was back before women could serve aboard Navy ships.)