By: Hanna Schlager
As the teens and staff members of New York NCSY read about and watched the recent horrific events unfold in Israel, they felt compelled to provide assistance to the Israelis living through this tumultuous reality and “15 For 15” was born. This unique campaign endeavored to raise $15 from as many donors as possible in tribute to the 15 seconds children in southern Israel have to run to bomb shelters from the moment they heard sirens until the rockets hit. In total, NCSYers raised more than $5,000.
Rabbi Aryeh Lightstone, New York NCSY Regional Director, reflected, “In recent months, Israel has endured hundreds of missile attacks and a barrage of rockets from neighboring Gaza. As American Jewry, we often experience a complex mixture of emotions when tensions in Israel run high. We feel obligated to do something, to help in some way, but we do not know who to reach out to or where to start. Until the cease fire, hundreds of Israeli schools, synagogues, and homes were targets of these attacks. Adults were unable to attend work and children were forced to remain in bomb shelters as the school days passed them by.”
He emphasized, “NCSYers really answered the call on this one. They not only did their part to help other children they didn’t even know, but they spearheaded and gave wholeheartedly to a cause that they believed in and learned a lot throughout the process.”
To encourage and incentivize their friends and family members to donate, NCSY teens were able to publicize a generous donation of eight iPad Minis, which were raffled off each night of Chanukah to those who donated. The winners were: Jordan Klinger of Long Beach; Michael Spindel of Plainview; Matthew Polaniecki of West Hempstead; Malki Agular of Oceanside; Raanan Gross of Queens; Rina Cohen of Florida; Josh Shakibpana of Miami Beach; and Wendy Ackerman of Minnesota.
Carol Rhine, New York NCSY Chief Operating Officer, shared, “A portion of the funds collected by the NCSY teens was sent to Be’er Sheva. The money was used to host a Chanukah event for the children of southern Israel who were affected by terror. The show, “The Juggling Legend,” combined exciting elements such as professional juggling, unicycling and fire throwing, as well as a more serious component which told the story of a boy who goes on an adventure of personal discovery where he learns about his inner strengths, talents, and bravery, even in the face of adversity and danger.”
She noted, “This show gave the Israeli children an opportunity to smile, laugh and reflect. In addition to this successful event, the remainder of the funds raised will be donated to an organization located in southern Israel that addresses the personal and emotional needs of children affected by terror.”