Posted in Activism Track on 10. Mar, 2013
One interpretation of the Purim mitzvah of giving mishloach manot is to counteract Haman’s accusations that the Jews were a divided nation. The recent success of one group of Masa participants on Young Judaea Year Course proves that Haman was anything but correct.
In the spirit of Young Judaea’s storied history of tikkun olam and social action, the students on Year Course’s Activism Track both plan and implement activism projects and raise money for several causes to donate tzedaka to throughout the year. Following November’s Operation Pillar of Defense, they decided to choose only one cause, donating all monies raised to victims of terror and their loved ones. As a response to the “Tzeva Adom” siren that notifies residents of Southern Israel of incoming rockets, they decided to call themselves “Tzeva Kachol” as a sign of solidarity. In the weeks leading up to Purim, Tzeva Kachol raised over $2600 to give to tzedaka.
One member, Yael David, 18, from Livingston, NJ joined the Activism Track in order to find a meaningful way to fill her free time and thought volunteering would be the best way to do that. In mid-February, David and her fellow participants ran a bake sale in honor of Valentine’s Day, encouraging their fellow Year Coursers to buy baked goods and packages to anonymously give to each other. Next, they sent a letter to hundreds of parents of Year Course participants, offering them the opportunity to buy mishloach manot baskets from Ohr Meir U’Bracha, a non-profit organization who provides assistance to victims of terror. Finally, Tzeva Kachol planned a Purim carnival along with the organization One Family Fund, complete with games, face-painting, and many more fun booths to entertain children. “The fact that we fundraised for everything we needed for the carnival was absolutely amazing,” Yael said. “Just seeing the kids smile and seeing their faces light up when they played games and won prizes was really meaningful.”
Participant Aviva Weinstein, 19, from Washington, DC, said that the Year Coursers derived just as much pleasure and satisfaction from the program as the children did. “It felt really good to have a tangible project aside from just raising money. I think we really connected with the kids.”
All of these efforts in a matter of weeks were able to raise $2600, almost 10,000 shekels. The group isn’t done though. They have already begun work with Jerusalem t-shirt company the NU Campaign to design t-shirts to benefit victims of terror and are also planning a carnival in Sderot to aid local social workers who are overworked from the difficult challenges of living in Southern Israel. Furthermore, Young Judaeans in the United States have jumped on board, raising money at their national Mid-Winter convention for the same cause.
Before she leaves Israel to study at Binghamton University, Yael hopes to spend her remaining time “impacting as many lives as we possibly can.”
While the idea of coming to Israel to “make a difference” may sound cliché, the recent fundraising efforts of Year Course’s Activism Track are a strong reminder that a group of passionate young adults can truly make the world a better place.
- Inside Israel