To kick off Jewish Social Action Month during the Jewish month of Cheshvan, the Brandeis School in Lawrence, New York held its first community Chesed Fair, a collaborative venture with the Rambam Mesivta, on Tuesday, October 16. Students and parents learned about the activities of eighteen charitable organizations and were inspired by the many projects run by these groups. As part of the fair, there was also a food drive for RockCanRoll.org.
“Chesed” is a Hebrew word meaning “kindness.” The eighteen organizations showcased their charitable projects in the school’s gym. Throughout the two hour event, students and parents circulated among the table set up in the room, interacted with representatives for the various organizations, and discussed ways they could participate in the work of the groups. Some of the organizations in attendance were Yad Sarah, which provides health and home care services in Israel; Kulanu, which provides programs for special needs children in the Five Towns; Meir Panim, which fights poverty in Israel; OHEL, an organization providing lifelong services for the community, and many others.
The evening began with welcomes from Rabbi Tomer Grossman of the Brandeis School, and Rabbi Yotav Eliach, Principal of Rambam Mesivta. Both stressed the importance of working with the less fortunate, reminding listeners that each person has the ability to change the world for the better. Following the speeches, the Rambam High School Chorus performed a beautiful a cappella selection. The stage was then set for a meaningful evening.
The Chesed Fair is part of three events at Brandeis that are central to the school’s mission and are funded by a grant from the United Jewish Appeal. The second event, a carnival for participants in SIBS Place in Woodmere, will take place next month. SIBS Place is an organization that provides services for children in families that are dealing with serious illness. The third event will be the making of “Shabbat Boxes” through art classes. These will be a kind of care package for the needy which will help them celebrate Shabbat. There are additional plans to visit the elderly and the ill in nursing facilities.