There was one big super happening at Young Israel of New Rochelle on Sunday morning, November 25. A Super Chanukah Chesed Day, arranged by Malkie and Ilan Scher, youth directors at YINR, who partnered with Bayit V’Tikvah, House of Hope in Netanya, Israel, the morning event was an activity-filled joyous happening for more than 100 nursery through sixth graders and their families.
With activities and materials arranged throughout the social hall, and music playing in the background, children engaged in jewelry making, letter writing, creating chanukiot (both usable out of glass tiles and edible out of candy), putting together and decorating tzedaka boxes, and delighted in providing chesed to those who would not otherwise experience a happy Chanukah. Donated toys were gift wrapped for delivery to Ohel. Boxes of winter coats and Shabbat and Yom Tov dresses were, likewise, donated and collected for distribution to the girls at Bayit V’Tikvah. Chanukah refreshments were enjoyed by all.
With YINR youth leaders helping the children and Penny Thau, Israeli custom jewelry designer and owner of Pninat Halev jewelry, providing the materials and expertise, each child made at least two friendship charm bracelets. One bracelet would be kept by each child, with the other going to a “partner” at Bayit V’Tikvah. An accompanying letter would bring happy Chanukah wishes to the recipient of the bracelet.
Rabbi Baruch (Brian) Thau, executive vice president at House of Hope—Bayit V’Tikvah, explained that he chose to partner with YINR “because of its well-known commitment and love for the people of Israel.” Rabbi Thau showed a beautiful, heart-warming video of the children at Bayit V’Tikvah. Housing close to 80 girls who have been removed from their homes due to various serious family issues and challenges, the children’s home provides a safe, loving and nurturing environment. Proceeds from the event were earmarked to House of Hope—Bayit V’Tikvah.
Rabbi Thau thought it was important for our children to learn that it’s not always about “just giving money. Instead, acts of chesed, being involved in making a child smile, and bringing happiness to kids who can’t go home for Chanukah, are the lessons we want to teach our children.” As one young dad who while helping his daughter try on her friendship bracelet said, “This is what we are all about. This is what we do. We want our kids to learn it’s important to give back.”
“The children at Bayit V’Tikvah will be so happy to learn that children in America are thinking about them,” continued Rabbi Thau. “Even though they are so lonely, they will know that children in America took their time to brighten their chag. I feel I’m into ‘friend raising’ in addition to ‘fundraising’ because it’s important for people to feel connected to the children in our home.”
For additional information about the children’s home, please visit www.bayitvtikvah.org.
By Yvette Finkelstein