Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Spring Chesed Ideas

Now that spring has spring officially...we hope...please no more snow!...Areyvut would love to pass along a brief list of some chesed ideas especially for this beautiful season:

1. Clean up a local park so it's ready for us
2. Help your parent or spouse plant a garden that beautifies the area and is good the environment
3. If your basement clean it up!!
4. Have a lemonade stand and donate the proceeds to a charity
5. While doing your spring cleaning, donate all unwanted, gently used items to the needy
6. If you throw out food in preparation for Passover, donate it instead
7. Make sure to recycle all containers properly- tikkun olam at its best
8. Make a donation to an organization that gives camp scholarships to those in need
9. Thank your teacher for all they have taught you this year
10. Volunteer outdoors with Areyvut!

If you have any more ideas that you'd like us to add to this list, please let us know and don't forget to  post pictures and information about your acts of chesed to inspire others.

For more information about Areyvut, or to find an Areyvut program near you, check out:, or call the office at (201)-244-6702.

Monday, March 31, 2014

H.O.P.E. Teen Philanthropy Program

Areyvut is thrilled for the start of the 5th year of the H.O.P.E. (Helping Organizations Provide Essentials) Teen Philanthropy Program at Yeshivat Noam! It is our goal that by the end of the program, Yeshivat Noam students will have a better understanding of philanthropy, fund allocations, and the importance of being involved in the community. Since Areyvut began its Teen Philanthropy Program 8 years ago, our 135 participants have allocated $37,000 in funding to 22 organizations. We are thrilled with our students' commitment to chesed, tzedakah, and tikkun olam.

The schedule for H.O.P.E. is as follows:

Session #1: Introduction to H.O.P.E. & Philanthropy; Area of Focus & Mission Statement
Session #2: Review of Organizations & Create & Send RFP
Session #3: RFP Review & Determine Agencies for Site Visits
Session 4: On-site Site Visits
Session #5: Allocations Determination
Session #6: Chesed Activity
Session #7: Commencement Celebration (Parents & Families Invited!)

If you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to call the office at (201)-244-6702 or email

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Life is Good.

I think at times it is easy to get swept up in all of the bad. We get frustrated and angry for days if we are in a fender bender, and we curse God when we find out someone we love is sick. We forget the beauty that is around us and how good the world truly is.

The Tutu Project was started by Bob Carey when his wife was diagnosed with breast cancer. It's the result of unconditional love- it's the manifestation of a relationship and connection that many would envy. Instead of depression and sadness, Bob and Linda chose strength and spirit.

Take two and a half minutes out of your day to watch their story. It's truly incredible and will help you remember that life is good.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Mi'she Nichas Adar...Marbim B'Simcha!

I know I'm a few days late and that we have been in the month of Adar for a bit over a week now, but Purim is only a few days away! For those who aren't sure, Purim is a holiday celebrating the Jewish triumph over Haman and the Persian Empire. Haman, an evil, evil royal adviser, was bent on destroying the Jewish people and King Achashvarosh was quite okay with this. Mordechai and Esther (our hero and heroine) were able to save the Jewish people and Haman was destroyed instead. (For a more detailed version of the story, you can check out everyone's favorite fact-finding site)

 Now, of course this is a time for celebration, and Jews all over the world take part in the various mitzvot associated with Purim. They hear Megillat Esther, send shalach manot to their friends, drink ad d'lo yada, have a festive meal, and give matanot l'evyonim- gifts to the poor.

In fact, this last mitzvah of helping the poor is one of the most important of Purim. Unfortunately, sometimes it gets lost in the glorious costume hubbub that is Purim (I'll admit, it's up there with Chanukah for me), so here at Areyvut we wanted to put together a list of some ways that we could fulfill the mitzvah of matanot l'evyonim. The gift can be either food or money, but it should be something that will help the person better celebrate Purim.

The Best Matanot L'evyonim Ideas Since Sliced Bread

1. First and foremost, give them tzedakah.
2. Make a poor person the recipient of one of your shalach manot!
3. Make your festive meal- or seudah- open to all who need a meal.
4. While making hamentaschen, set a few aside to give to those in need.
5. Donate extra food from your seudah to food kitchen.

  Looking for more matanot l'evyonim or general tzedakah ideas? Email us at!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Current Events for Dummies

Now, let me preface this post by saying that I think I understand about 20% of what is happening the Ukraine right now...and I probably actually only understand 3%. I read the New York Times and I love swiping through Yahoo! News and Google News as much as the next girl but it is hard to grasp what is happening thousands of miles away.

I recently asked a friend of mine if they knew what was happening- if they could explain it to me- and I was met with a blank face and that truly bothered me. How is every news outlet discussing the crisis in the Ukraine but we can't even talk about the basics of the situation? I proceeded to ask someone else about it (someone a bit older than my 22 years) and they also could hardly describe the conflict to me. These are our fellow man, it's a matter of principle- stay informed.

We appreciate the human interest pieces- the reporter who quits on air- but we don't seem to delve into an issue that is affecting hundreds of thousands human beings. As part of my own good deed for today, I'd like to a share a few pieces about the current conflict so that we can learn a bit more about our world and pray a bit for our fellow man.

CNN Piece

New York Times Piece

ABC News - What's Going On in Ukraine?

Monday, February 24, 2014

Thank you, Mr. Diaz, For Reminding Us of True Humanity

I read a news article this morning because the title caught my eye. I decided to ignore the fact that it was originally printed in 2008 and let me tell you, I'm so glad I did. In this day and age, we are constantly bombarded with media stories of hate and violence- it's not so crazy to say that sometimes it's difficult to have faith in humanity. When there are ten news stories a day about robberies, assaults, and government scandals and only one 'feel good' story, what conclusion are we supposed to draw about the state of the world?

It's easy to overlook the good. Someone let's us merge into traffic or holds the door open when our arms are full of packages, we are grateful for a moment and then we forget. But, if someone cuts us off or slams the door in our face, the anger percolates.

The article I read this morning was called, "Man Buys Dinner For His Mugger." It's about a social worker, Julio Diaz, who was mugged on a subway platform by a teenage boy with a knife. Diaz handed over his wallet and as the boy turned to leave, Diaz offers his coat as well. The teen, totally taken aback, turns to face Diaz who invites his mugger to join him for dinner at his favorite restaurant. The boy accepts and is shocked by Diaz's kindness to all he encounters. At the end of the dinner, Diaz tells his mugger that he has to pay since he has the wallet and at that point, the teen gives Diaz back his wallet. Diaz finishes his story by saying that he gave the boy $20 in the end- to buy the knife off of him.

This story struck a cord with me for a few reasons. First, the experience of being mugged is enough to scare the pants off any person. Diaz not only kept his cool, but was able to see the pain and need of the teen. But mostly, Diaz is incredible because he looked beyond the facade. Here was a kid, walking around on a subway platform with a knife, and he took the time to truly see the teen. He chose kindness over fear, and help over punishment. He is a true role model, and I'm sorry that I just saw this article now, but my wish is that there are many more like it in the future.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Send a Card to Give Colin a Happy Birthday!

Send a birthday card to Colin who is turning 11 on March 9th this year! He is feeling very alone because of a disability he has that interferes with his social interactions, and told his mom that he doesn't want a birthday party because he has no friends.  Read more below...

"I am Colin's mom, I created this page for my amazing, wonderful, challenging son who is about to turn 11 on March 9th. Because of Colin's disabilities, social skills are not easy for him, and he often acts out in school, and the other kids don't like him. So when I asked him if he wanted a party for his birthday, he said there wasn't a point because he has no friends. He eats lunch alone in the office everyday because no one will let him sit with them, and rather than force someone to be unhappy with his presence, he sits alone in the office. So I thought, if I could create a page where people could send him positive thoughts and encouraging words, that would be better than any birthday party. Please join me in making my very original son feel special on his day." - Happy Birthday Colin Facebook Page

His mother even set up a private p.o. box so that she could secretly collect birthday letters from people who would send them! So far, thousands of people have seen this mom's Facebook page and have been sending Colin mail by the hundreds per day.  And you can too!!!! It's not too late.  The address is:  

PO box 756 Richland, MI 49083-0756

Happy good-deed-doing! <3