Working at Yad Eliezer, I’m constantly, happily surprised at the creative ideas and fun initiatives people come up with, when they want to do something that will in some way, help others who are in need. It doesn’t have to be a big thing (though that’s certainly great), and often it isn’t, but every single one is so sincere and important. I remember the brothers who collected soda cans from family members and their parents’ coworkers, brought them in for recycling and donated the money they received to help poor families buy chicken for Shabbos . Then there was the mother-daughter pair who walked into our office carrying big, colorful arches they’d designed, intended for use during simcha dancing at our weddings. And the grandmother who hand-made 50 beautiful, artsy bracelets and asked us to please distribute them as bat mitzvah gifts to needy girls (we did). Every time these kind of unique donations and items reach us (and there are a lot of them), it's fascinating. I love learning about the people behind the projects-who they are, where they come from, how they got their idea. And I appreciate the thought process, planning and time that go into each one.
Zev N.’s project is one such project I just learned about a couple of days ago. He was celebrating his bar mitzvah, and during preparations for the simcha had been thinking about what he could do to help another bar mitzvah boy--nobody he knew, just someone who may not be as lucky as he was (is). Zev decided to do something sweet and simple. Placing all different kinds of candy on a table along with nice gift bags, he asked his guests to pack the bags, and write a thoughtful note to accompany each. Once assembled, he’d deliver them to us at Yad Eliezer and we would arrange for them to go to a boy who also had a bar mitzvah to celebrate.
Sure, it was a pretty straightforward idea-uncomplicated, it didn’t cost a lot of money...but the project was a great success. Many, many bags, beautifully packed and bursting with candy, were given to Yehoshua N., from Jerusalem, a boy who’s been through a lot. His mother suffered a nervous breakdown and left her family when he was just a little boy. His father, working whenever he can find odd jobs here and there, doesn’t have much, but has been devotedly raising his four children as best he can, ever since.
Zev’s gift bags made a difference. They were a fun, unexpected addition to Yehoshua’s very basic simcha. He excitedly distributed them to his friends, and everyone loved them. Yad Eliezer joined in the fun by giving the family a nice donation, plus one of our amazing donors gifted him with a brand new, beautiful pair of tefillin.
It was, as it always is, really moving to see how a simple act of chesed can connect two smachot, so easily bringing happiness to a family that could really use some. I’m already looking forward to the next idea that comes our way.
What creative activities for chesed projects have you seen (or done)?
I’d love to hear about them! You can email me at email@example.com