KAVOD 2005 Annual Report
Summary of KAVOD’s Financial Activities
Allocations, KAVOD General Fund, 2004: $66,050.00
Allocations, KAVOD Fellows, 2004: $10,012.00
Total allocations to date (’93-’04): $444,752.53
Expenses to date: $75.48
Once again it is our great pleasure to report a banner year for KAVOD, this time in more diverse ways than ever. Through your help we distributed over $66,000 from the general account in 2004, which is yet another record for our tzedakah collective. Our donors, volunteers, and mitzvah heroes continue to marshal their talents and generosity, and we are grateful to all of you who participated.
In 2004 we helped survivors of the Holocaust live at home in dignity (see # 2 below), threw birthday parties for children living in shelters (see #8 below), and made Passover a more joyous holiday for thousands of Jerusalem’s families in need (see #21 below)—and this is just a small sampling of the ways in which our generous supporters enabled us to honor those who need it most.
In the pages that follow you’ll see how we distributed every dime you entrusted to us. And we once again did it all with no overhead. We have no paid staff, and our volunteer Board of Directors covers all of our operating expenses out of their own pockets. If this were all we accomplished, dayeinu, it would be enough! But 2004 was an extraordinary year for us because of the amazing work of our KAVOD Fellows, who are raising and distributing tzedakah and bringingtikkun (healing) and kavod to the world. We launched the KAVOD Fellowship Program three years ago. Our goals are ambitious: in partnership with the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR), we are training the next generation of rabbis, cantors, and Jewish educators to raise and distribute tzedakah wisely and effectively. We are expanding the KAVOD community and planting seeds that will yield a bountiful tzedakah harvest in the years to come.
Here’s how the fellowship works: all first year HUC-JIR students studying in Israel are eligible to apply. A small committee of KAVOD board members selects the Fellows and then pairs each Fellow with a “Mitzvah Mentor” – a KAVOD board member, Jewish professional in the community, or lay leader with expertise in the realm of tzedakah who helps the Fellow raise and distribute funds in accordance with the values of our tradition. A summary of their work is included in this report (for a more comprehensive report, visit kavod.org).
KAVOD recognizes that for students to understand fully the challenges and joys of giving money away, they must understand the challenges and joys of raising money. So in addition to an up front sum that KAVOD entrusts the Fellow to donate, we offer a 1:1 matching grant for funds the Fellow raises on her own. Over the four years of the fellowship, each Fellow will give away up to $11,000: $6,000 from KAVOD plus another $5,000 raised by the fellow.
So how are they doing so far? Wonderfully! Last year our Fellows raised $5,384 (just slightly under what KAVOD raised as a collective in 1994, our inaugural year). With KAVOD matching funds, they distributed $10,012. So an investment of $5,000 on our part yielded $10,000 intzedakah, brought dozens of new donors to the KAVOD community, and helped us discover newMitzvah heroes. We are convinced that the KAVOD Fellows Program will be one of the most important endeavors of our collective.
Please note the following: all funds for the KAVOD Tzedakah Fellowships are raised separately from our regular fundraising. When you make a donation to KAVOD, 100% of it is distributed under the direction of our volunteer Executive Director with input and guidance from our Board of Directors. If you would like to make one of our Fellows your shaliach tzedakah (your tzedakahsurrogate), please include a note with your donation directing it to the KAVOD Fellowship Program. If you’d like to support the work of a particular Fellow, please remember to specify this when making your donation. The KAVOD Board has committed itself to sponsoring two fellowships. If you’d like to sponsor a Fellow—or know of someone who would—please contact us at KAVOD@KAVOD.com.
To our supporters we say Yasher Koach — all the more strength to you! We hope you will enjoy reading about the projects and programs that your gifts have supported. Many will be familiar, as we generally have continued (and increased) our commitments to groups we have supported in the past. Additionally, there are a number of wonderful programs (indicated with an asterisk) to which KAVOD contributed for the first time this year.
May Her Memory Be a Blessing
Julia L. Davis, a founding KAVOD Board Member, died on the eve of the recent Passover holiday at age 92. Her commitment to tzedakah inspired us and she will be greatly missed. Surely two of her greatest gifts to KAVOD and humanity were her amazing daughters: Hermene Zweiback (of blessed memory) and Devra Lerner (may she live and be well to 120!).
Some Words of Thanks
We are grateful to everyone who makes our work possible. We offer a special thanks to Mike Abramson, our pro bono accountant and lawyer, Miles Nelson, who provides us with envelopes on his dime, and Rosie Zweiback, who deposits and tracks all KAVOD donations. Most of all, we thank Judy Zweiback, our volunteer administrator. Judy donates hundreds of hours a year toKAVOD. She writes every acknowledgement, designs, produces, and distributes our beautifulKAVOD tribute cards, and handles all of the day-to-day administration. She is the backbone of our collective.
Please tell your friends about KAVOD, and feel free to make copies of this annual report for distribution. Visit us online at KAVOD.org to learn more. Think of us when you want to make a donation in honor or memory of a loved one or friend. If you would like to make a bequest to KAVOD as part of your estate plan, please let us know. Tax-deductible donations (tax ID # 47-0789888) can be made to us any time at:
8914 Farnam Court
Omaha, NE 68114-4076
Statement of Purpose: KAVOD is a non-profit tzedakah collective. We create new programs and fund existing programs that help Jews and non-Jews living in the United States, Israel, and around the world to live in dignity and honor. As a tzedakah collective, we try to personalize our giving by visiting all of our beneficiaries and encouraging our donors to do the same. We strive to operate as close to 0% overhead as possible and to support programs that similarly demand efficiency.
- Beit Frankforter……………………………………$3,500
Inspired by the model of Myriam Mendilow, z”l, the people of Beit Frankforter are committed to preserving the essential KAVOD of their community of elders in Jerusalem. Sima Zini and her staff have created a community center that uplifts and honors seniors who enjoy regular care not only from dentists and ophthalmologists, but also from hairdressers, reflexologists, manicurists, and yoga instructors. Our funds this year helped support the “Sandwich for Every Child” program. Every day the elders of Beit Frankforter prepare approximately 500 sandwiches for local school children whose families are experiencing economic hardships.
Beit Frankforter – Sima Zini
80 Derech Beit Lechem, POB 10074, Jerusalem, 91100
- The Blue Card…………………………………………………$1,000
For over seventy years, the Blue Card has distributed funds to Jewish Holocaust survivors who live in poverty. The Blue Card was established in 1934 to help Jews who were suffering economically because of Nazi oppression. Blue cards were distributed to American Jews who donated funds to support their brothers and sisters in Europe. With each donation, these American Jews received a small stamp of commemoration which they could place in their “Blue Card” to track their giving. Our gift was used to provide monthly rent subsidies for survivors in need.
The Blue Card – Sandra Wiesel
171 Madison Avenue, #1405, NY, NY 10016
- Congregation Sulam Ya’akov…………………………….$1,500
Congregation Sulam Ya’akov was founded in 1996, the first and only progressive congregation in Zichron Yaakov, a pioneer town settled in the 1880s during the first wave of Aliyah. The congregation is building a wonderful, vibrant community of committed progressive Jews. Such communities, despite receiving no governmental support, provide an essential Jewish framework for social action, inclusiveness, and celebration, serving thousands of modern Israelis whose needs have long been unmet. Our donation this year helped launch a Talmud study class for the Sulam Ya’akov community.
Kehilat Sulam Ya’akov – ATTN: Brad Fisher
POB 10011, Zichron Ya’akov, Israel, 30900
- Eden Alternative…………………………………………$1,500
The Eden Alternative seeks to eliminate the three plagues of the long-term care institution—loneliness, helplessness, and boredom. They know that companion animals, the opportunity to care for other living things, and the variety and spontaneity that come from an enlivened environment can succeed where pills and therapies fail.
Dr. Bill Thomas teaches that The Eden Alternative “is a new way of thinking about long-term care that has the potential of remaking facilities all over the country. However, before that can happen, we need to teach others about what The Eden Alternative is and how they can use it to transform the facilities in which they work.” Thanks to Dr. Bill’s vision, the principles of the Eden Alternative have taken hold at more than 300 homes nationwide. Our support this year helped to develop resources that will make it easier for existing long-term care organizations to “Edenize.”
The Eden Alternative – Dr. William Thomas
742 Turnpike Rd., Sherburne, NY, 13460
- Elijah’s Promise…………………………………………$1,500
Rev. Lisanne Finston runs this model community soup kitchen that not only serves meals, but also provides nourishment for life. Elijah’s Promise in New Brunswick, New Jersey fulfills the highest level of tzedakah, enabling people to become self-sufficient and to need tzedakah no longer. Guests at Elijah’s Promise are offered nutritious meals, health screening, counseling and referrals, job training, and more. Most exciting for us is “Promise Jobs,” the culinary school they opened several years ago which teaches the art of food preparation to some of the soup kitchen guests. Graduates of the program have been placed in restaurant jobs throughout New Jersey, including positions in some of the state’s fanciest restaurants. Our donation helped purchase equipment for the culinary training program. Anshe Emeth Memorial Temple in New Brunswickhires Elijah’s Promise to cook all of its kosher Shabbat dinners. Why not work to develop a similar program in your community?
Elijah’s Promise – Rev. Lisanne Finston
18 Neilson St., New Brunswick, NJ, 08901
- Emergency Relief
As the need arises, KAVOD provides direct emergency assistance to communities and individuals in need. Through our support for the outstanding efforts of the American Jewish World Service (ajws.org), we provided emergency relief for those targeted for genocide in the Sudan, for victims of the tsunami in southeast Asia, as well as direct financial assistance for an individual in need. A long time KAVOD supporter and all-around mensch who wishes to remain anonymous served as our shaliach in Israel last year. We asked him to distribute some tzedakah monies on our behalf. He did so—beautifully and lovingly—and then tore up our check which enabled us to distribute additional monies to other KAVOD tzedakot.
- Free Loan Societies:
Hebrew Free Loan Society of New York City…………………………….$2,000
Hebrew Free Loan Association of San Francisco……………………….$2,000
Israel Free Loan Association………………………………………………….$4,000
The Israel Free Loan Association describes donations to free loan societies as “gifts that never end” for they are recycled again and again. A $10,000 donation recycled in the course of ten years provides 100 loans of $1,000 each—resulting in a “helping value” of $100,000. Whether it’s for college tuition, expenses related to the adoption of a child, emergency assistance for a family who has been victimized by terror, or a small business loan, free loan societies are there to lend hope and dignity to those in need. Each of these societies combines low overhead with maximum impact—values that are near and dear to the KAVOD community.
Hebrew Free Loan Society – Shana Novick
675 Third Avenue, Suite 1905, NY, NY 10017
Hebrew Free Loan Association of San Francisco
131 Steuart Street, Suite 425, San Francisco, CA, 94105
Free Loan Association – Prof. Eliezer Jaffe
Azza Street, 92384 Jerusalem, Israel
- The Happy Birthday Foundation…………………………..$1,200
Our teacher Danny Siegel says that some of the most glorious mitzvah ideas come about when a person says simply, “Why not?” Craig Wolsten asked, “Why not,” and it led to the creation of the Happy Birthday Foundation. Why shouldn’t kids in homeless shelters celebrate their birthdays with all of the same hoopla as kids with homes? Why shouldn’t they have streamers and clowns and party favors and presents and birthday cake? Why not indeed. Last year the Happy Birthday Foundation provided 279 birthday parties, on the actual date of the child’s birthday, to kids in shelters in Middlesex County, New Jersey.
Craig’s mom Stacey runs the foundation but Craig is still quite active, handling most of the email and leading training sessions for volunteers. One of their regular volunteers is a 15 year old boy who first discovered the foundation as a resident in one of the shelters. The Happy Birthday Foundation helped him celebrate his birthday then, and now that he and his family have a home of their own, he’s giving something back by volunteering his time to help throw parties for other kids.
The Happy Birthday Foundation – Stacey Wolsten
POB 7, East Brunswick, NJ, 08816
- HUC-JIR’s Menschlich Soup Kitchen……………………….$1,000
The College-Institute’s seal says: “To educate leaders who will make the Torah come alive, to sustain our Jewish heritage and to ensure a rich Jewish future for our children, their children and generations to come.” The people who run the Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion’s soup kitchen are the leaders who make the Torah come alive. They go out of their way not only to nourish hundreds of weekly guests physically, but also to nourish their sense ofKAVOD. Every Monday evening, hundreds of guests are welcomed to the HUC-JIR soup kitchen with warm food, warm smiles, and flowers and tablecloths on the tables. Some volunteers serve heaping dishes, while others bring their needle and thread to mend the guests’ clothing, and others play soothing music on the piano. Law students from NYU donate their time to give free legal advice. Local high schools and colleges learn the principles of KAVOD, dignity and honor, through volunteering. More than a soup kitchen, this is a dynamic gathering place for the entire community.
HUC-JIR Soup Kitchen – Rabbi Aaron Panken
1 West 4th Street, NY, NY, 10012
- INTRA – Mitzvah Horses…………………………………$4,500
Anita and Giora Shkedi continue to do their breathtaking work with INTRA (Israel National Therapeutic Riding Association), utilizing the tools of therapeutic horseback riding to achieve astonishing breakthroughs where other forms of physical therapy fail. Anita and Giora open up new worlds to people with a wide array of emotional and/or physical difficulties (including wounded soldiers and victims of terror). If you never have seen therapeutic horseback riding in person, by all means find a center near you (or, even better, arrange a trip to Israel to meet Anita, one of the world’s acknowledged experts on the subject). The results are sublime, inspirational, and nothing short of miraculous.
INTRA-Mitzvah Horses – Anita & Giora Shkedi
Hadassah Neurim, Hadassah Village, 40298, Israel
Anat Hoffman, Executive Director of the Israel Religious Action Center, the public and legal advocacy arm of the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism, recently received the following from one of the people for whom IRAC advocates: “Only your intervention allowed my wife to receive Israeli citizenship. Before you came onto the scene, we struggled for two years by ourselves and were on the brink of despair. Thank you.”
IRAC is committed to promoting equality, social justice, and religious tolerance in Israel. Through its numerous court battles and advocacy efforts, IRAC has helped new immigrants cut through bureaucratic red tape, enabled liberal Jews to celebrate their faith more freely, and demanded just treatment for foreign workers in Israel. Visit their website to learn more about their incredible work.
IRAC – Anat Hoffman
POB 31936, Jerusalem, ISRAEL 91319
- Jerusalem Rape Crisis Center…………………………$2,000
The Jerusalem Rape Crisis Center in Memory of Linda Feldman helps survivors of sexual abuse. The JRCC also runs educational programs for Israeli high school students to raise awareness about abuse and harassment. About one third of the callers to the Rape Crisis Center hotline are under 18 years of age. So many of these young survivors are afraid to seek much needed medical and emotional help, and it is truly a blessing for them to have a safe place to find solace and counsel. Our donation was used to provide a 16-session supervised support group for 11 teenaged survivors of rape and incest. The JRCC remains the only organization offering this kind of support in Jerusalem.
Jerusalem Rape Crisis Center – Jane Jacobs
P.O.B. 2549, Jerusalem, Israel, 91024
- Jewish Life in the Former Soviet Union: WUPJ…………..$1,000
After 70 years of oppression, Jews in the Former Soviet Union can once again celebrate their Judaism. The World Union for Progressive Judaism works hard to ensure that there are liberal options for these Jews. One of the best ways to make this happen is by training young people to become Jewish educators, communal leaders, and rabbis. At the Machon Institute in Moscow, a new generation of community leaders is being trained to serve throughout the Former Soviet Union. Our sponsorship will help a student pay for tuition, books and supplies, transportation, and room and board in Moscow while attending the Machon. These students are engaged in tikkun olam of the highest order: they are bringing whole communities back to a life of Torah.
World Union for Progressive Judaism – Rabbi Uri Regev
13 King David Street, Jerusalem, Israel 94101
- KESHER (“Connection”)…………………………………………..$1,000
Why not? Why can’t Jewish children with learning disabilities attend Jewish day schools? Why can’t they experience the warm sense of community that so many of these schools provide? This is the question that inspires Kesher. Each year, Kesher assists eighty kids with special needs who otherwise would be unable to attend Jewish day schools . This program ensures that thekavod of all of God’s children is protected. Our gift helped provide scholarships for families in need.
Kesher – Rabbi Ezra Levy
18900 NE 25th Avenue, North Miami Beach, FL, 33180
- Magein (“Shield”)…………………………………………………$2,000
The Magein hostel is a large group home for developmentally disabled adults. Magein helps its residents live lives of dignity and meaning by enabling them to perform wonderful acts of chesed, lovingkindness. Mageiniks joyfully contribute to their community, making hamantaschen and distributing them for Purim, baking challot for Shabbat, visiting sick children at Hadassah hospital, caring for their mini-zoo teeming with life. The staff at Magein has given these adults with Down Syndrome and other mental and physical handicaps the most wonderful gift of all — the ability to help others and become partners with God in tikkun olam, repairing the world.
19 Yad Harutzim Street, Suite 304, POB 53409, Jerusalem, Israel, 91533
- Maureen Kushner…………………………………………………$1,500
Maureen Kushner channels her immense creativity into empowering children to share, explore, and understand their own extraordinary histories. She helps Ethiopian Jews create art that celebrates and documents their long, heroic journey, and helps Jewish and Arab children address their prejudices through art.
This year our contribution helped with Kushner’s “Peace Through Humor” workshop for Jewish, Arab, Druze, and Bedouin children. It gives kids a creative outlet to express their feelings while teaching tolerance and understanding through jokes. Maureen travels on foot and by bus all over Israel presenting this workshop. “When kids listen to the inside of their hearts and discover the best part of themselves, peace will be possible,” she says. We have KAVOD cards available featuring artwork created by Ethiopian Jews in Maureen’s programs. The cards themselves were produced through a special donation for this purpose made by a KAVOD supporter. For more information about the cards, contact Judy Zweiback, 8914 Farnam Court, Omaha, NE 68114, 402-397-1975, judyz@KAVOD.org.
122 Park Place, Brooklyn, NY, 11217
In 1981 twelve North American Jews went on a mission to Ethiopia that was to change their lives and those of Ethiopian Jews forever. Riding on mules, this small group made their way up theSemien Mountains in northwest Ethiopia to remote villages where Jews lived, isolated from the rest of the Jewish world for 2,000 years. The appalling poverty, illness, and hunger they saw there, coupled with a deep commitment to Jewish life, so moved the participants that they returned home wholly devoted to the rescue of this phenomenal Jewish community. Shortly thereafter, the North American Conference on Ethiopian Jewry (NACOEJ) was born. This grassroots movement has four mandates: to help Ethiopian Jews survive in Ethiopia, to assist them in reaching Israel, to aid in their absorption in Israel, and to preserve their unique and ancient culture. In Ethiopia today, NACOEJ provides food, education, employment and religious facilities to over 17,000 Jews awaiting aliyah in Addis Ababa and Gondar Province.
NACOEJ – Barbara Ribakove Gordon
132 Nassau Street, #412, NY, NY, 10038
- No Limits………………………………………………$500
No Limits helps deaf and hard of hearing children learn to communicate and gain self-confidence through the theatrical arts and individual speech therapy. Our gift helped support “Building Blocks,” an original theatrical production performed across the country. Participating in shows like these helps kids improve their speech, communication skills, and self-esteem.
No Limits – Brian Ross Adams
9801 Washington Blvd., 2nd Floor, Culver City, CA, 90232
- A Package From Home………………………….$1,500
For many years now, Barbara Silverman has been helping soldiers in the Israel Defense Forces live a bit more comfortably. Her project, A Package from Home, delivers thousands of care packages each year to those who risk their lives in defense of the Jewish homeland. It’s extraordinary what a pair of warm socks, a wool hat, long underwear, a few chocolate bars, and some toiletries can do to lift a soldier’s spirits. Each package also includes a handwritten note from an American or Canadian religious school student. This year KAVOD adopted a Border Patrol Unit that helps to make Jerusalem a safe place to live and visit.
A Package from Home – Barbara Silverman
12/63 Keren Kayemet L’Yisrael Street, Jerusalem, Israel, 92428
- Project Ezra…………………………………………$5,250
Under the guidance of Misha Avramoff, Project Ezra has been a lifeline to Jewish elders on the Lower East Side of Manhattan for the past 25 years. They combat poverty, despair and loneliness, and treat those they serve with the utmost tenderness, love, and honor. From augmenting the below poverty level social security of many elders, to creating community and nurturing curiosity and spirituality through visits to museums and synagogues, to sending art therapists to homebound elders, many of whom are suffering from dementia, Project Ezra is there. Misha Avramoff writes that Project Ezra’s partnership with KAVOD is a “wonderful psychological support for me, because having the trust of people who are committed and involved in Jewish life convinces me that what we at Ezra do on the Lower East Side is unique and exceedingly necessary.” Indeed, what could be more necessary than ensuring that the kavod of the weakest among us, the most vulnerable, those who made our very lives possible—our elders—is attended to every day?
Project Ezra – Misha Avramoff
197 E. Broadway, NY, NY, 10002
- Rabbanit Bracha Kapach………………………………$4,500
The Rabbanit Bracha Kapach, an Israel Prize winner, feeds the hungry, provides for poor brides, and makes sure poor youngsters get to experience the joy of summer camp. She distributes educational material for children, helps couples finance their marriage, supports old and lonely people with food, clothing and trips, and embraces all of those who seemed to have slipped through the holes of the “safety net.” She draws needy people near and gives with the generosity of a fruit tree. Once again, we assisted the Rabbanit in providing Passover packages for over 5,500 families in need of nourishment and hope.
The Rabbanit Bracha Kapach
12 Lod St. Jerusalem, Israel
- Rabbis for Human Rights Yeshiva………………….$1,500*
Rabbis for Human Rights is the rabbinic voice of conscience in Israel, struggling to fulfill the commandment to “love your neighbor as yourself.” They promote justice and freedom, while campaigning against discrimination and inhumane conduct. Last year they launched one of their most ambitious projects: the creation of a Human Rights Yeshiva, a place for dedicated young people to come to learn about and then do the sacred work of Tikkun Olam. Twenty students participated each week in the inaugural year, exploring such topics as: the principle of equality and the value of human life in the Bible, different approaches to relationships with the “other,” responding to sexual violence, slavery, and our obligations to immigrant laborers. Students volunteer with existing projects and some have developed a new program to provide help for teen runaways. Plans are underway to expand the program as it builds upon this successful first year.
Rabbis for Human Rights – Rabbi Avi Deutsch
42 Gaza Road, Jerusalem, Israel
- SHALVA (“Serenity”)……………………………………….$750
Shalva was founded on the premise that mentally and physically challenged children are not just the responsibility of the families to which they were born. These children and their families need and deserve the support of the extended community. Shalva is their lifeline, providing developmentally disabled children with a loving environment that helps them reach their full potential and gives parents the ability to keep them at home, with the family. Shalva founders Kalman and Malky Samuels dreamed of a state-of-the-art center for mentally and physically challenged children that would instill pride in those who came through its doors. This dream became a reality with the opening of the Shalva Children’s Center, which offers fantastic programs such as hydrotherapy, music, art, computer, psychodrama and pet therapy. Visit their website and read the testimonials from families whose lives have been changed by this extraordinary organization.
SHALVA : Rabbi Kalman Samuels
6 Ibn Denan Street
P.O.B. Box 34449
Jerusalem, Israel, 91344
- Shoes That Fit……………………………………………………………..$750
Since 1992, Shoes That Fit has donated over 300,000 items to needy children nationwide. They have over 600 sites in twenty-seven states and are still growing. Thanks to gifts like ours and an outstanding group of volunteers, thousands of impoverished youngsters will be able to attend school in comfort and with dignity. Shoes That Fit provides children in need with shoes and clothing that make them feel good about being in school.
One kindergarten teacher, Esther Smith, wrote: “If the persons who bought the gifts had been in my classroom, they would have seen: a girl who came to school in workout tennies on a frigid snowy morning returning home that afternoon in warm, lined boots; three boys, one in layered sweatshirts, one in his father’s padded flannel shirt, and one with a handed-down jacket with a broken zipper all receive warm, hooded jackets; a girl who beamed speechlessly to herself when she received a coat. She regained her voice, though, in time to say, ‘Hello’ to everyone in the hallway as she walked to the bus, so that they would notice the marvelous coat she was wearing home!”
Shoes That Fit – Roni Lomeli
1420 N. Claremont Blvd., Suite 107-B, Claremont, CA, 91711
- Ta Shma……………………………………………………..$2,500
Ta Shma provides Hebrew and English speaking Jews of all ages with educational programming that conveys the excitement and relevance of Jewish texts and tradition. Recognizing that diversity is one of the Jewish community’s greatest assets, Ta Shma offers a model of multi-voiced Jewish learning that emphasizes the importance of constructive disagreement. Ta Shma’s educators have developed an educational methodology based on a deep belief that Judaism’s vitality is rooted in the contemporary meeting of many frequently dissonant voices.
At each Ta Shma event, faculty members of different ‘flavors’ of Judaism — Orthodox, Reform, Conservative, Reconstructionist, unidentified, and undefined — join together to plan and execute the program in its entirety. This offers young adults in Israel opportunities to explore Jewish texts from a uniquely pluralistic perspective, resulting in a powerful Jewish learning experience. We atKAVOD are proud to support a program that seeks to unite brothers and sisters over Torah, with respect for each student’s beliefs and background. Our funds were used to defray the expenses of a weekend seminar for American students studying at Israeli universities, covering half of the seminar’s cost.
Ta Shma: Pluralistic Jewish Learning – Rabbi Leon Dow
Box 10156; Jerusalem, ISRAEL; 91101
Volunteer Optometric Service to Humanity is an association of eye care professionals who travel to impoverished communities all over the world providing free eye care to those in need. They also serve the eyesight needs of people in several homeless shelters. Our funds were used to provide eyeglasses for approximately forty-five people connected with Hesed House, a Chicagoarea shelter.
VOSH has conducted missions to every major continent during its existence, as well as domestic missions at homeless shelters. VOSH operates with zero overhead because the doctors cover their own expenses and equipment is donated. Ronald Weingart’s recent letter to us is music to our ears: “No donated funds are used for administration or fund raising. We have no paid staff and we pay our own expenses when we go on missions. We strive to operate as close to 0% overhead as possible.”
VOSH – Ronald Weingart, O.D.
1335 Douglas Road, Montgomery, IL, 60538
- Ya’akov Maimon Volunteers……………………………$3,800
In the early days of the State of Israel, it was not unusual for locals to be approached on the street by an energetic man who would ask what they could do for the new immigrants who were arriving daily. That man was Ya’akov Maimon, and he believed that every individual had a unique gift that they could offer each new arrival — whether in the form of language tutorial, lessons on how to balance a checkbook, babysitting, or teaching a trade. That special, caring attention to individuality is what marks the Maimon volunteers, and is lived out every day by their director, Yoel Dorkam. He is our first resource for questions and concerns about the compassionate absorption of new immigrants into Israeli society. Yoel’s volunteers ease the transition to life inIsrael for today’s immigrants, from Russia, Ethiopia, South America, Eastern Europe, and the rest of the Jewish world.
Ya’akov Maimon Volunteers – Yoel Dorkam
Kibbutz Palmach Tzuba, D.N. Haray Yehuda, Israel
- Yad Ezra (“Helping Hand”)………………………….$1,000
One of the most neglected segments of any society is the mentally ill. For almost fifty years, Yad Ezra has been dedicating itself to seeking out, screening, and extending “a helping hand” to the mentally ill and the needy in Israel. Yad Ezra offers its assistance through a network of special supermarkets, dental clinics, workshops, soup kitchens, hostels, and day-care centers. Yad Ezra also has a soup kitchen in which “a unique group of people, some homeless, others stricken in spirit or by poverty, or by a broken home, comprise about 100 men and women who visit these premises daily. For 40% of the visitors, these premises have become their home. Along with the three meals offered daily, a delicate balance of educational lectures, guidance classes, and common prayer sessions have been introduced to strengthen and feed the spirit of visitors. A library on the premises offers a large variety of selected books and a quiet and calm atmosphere to soothe the painful spirit of many of its visitors.”
Yad Ezra – Samuel Katz
P.O.B. 7199, Jerusalem, Israel
- ZIV Tzedakah Fund…………………………………….$1,000
Danny Siegel, founder of Ziv writes that “Mitzvah heroes are our teachers in Tikkun Olam… They see, hear, and touch aspects of life that we may have missed, and they put their mind, heart, and soul into their efforts to make life good or better or even the best possible for thousands of individuals. And, they save lives that would otherwise have been lost.” We are grateful to Danny and to Naomi Eisenberger, ZIV’s Managing Director, for their constant support, advice, wisdom, and love that guide us in our work.
ZIV – Naomi Eisenberger
384 Wyoming Ave., Millburn, NJ, 07041
Tzedakah Distributed by the KAVOD Fellows…………..$10,012
Jocee Hudson, Alissa Forrest, Erica Greenbaum, and Elana Erdstein—our first and second year KAVOD Fellows—distributed over $10,000 to organizations dedicated to
protecting human dignity, including:
- Amutat A.M.A.L.- Marpeh Lanefesh—provides hope and healing for people with debilitating mental illnesses Beit T’shuva’s Music and Recovery Program—a lifeline for recovering alcoholics and drug addicts
- Children Helping Poor and Homeless People—feeds hundreds of hungry, homeless people in Venice, Californiaeach week
- The Doe Fund—helps homeless people change their lives and become self-supporting by treating them withkavod
- The Gentle Barn Foundation—teaches kindness and compassion by bringing inner city children together with rescued animals
- The Gift of Life Bone Marrow Registry—tens of thousands of people have registered as bone
- marrow donors and hundreds of successful transplants have saved
- lives as a result
- The Jaffa Institute—provides educational, recreational, and social support programs for over 4,000 children
- KidFlicks—three teenage sisters in Los Angeles collect videos and DVDs for distribution to pediatric wards at local hospitals
- The Ozarks Food Harvest—delivers food to over 28,000 individuals
- in need every month
- Project Moving On—helps people moving out of shelters into their own homes by providing “starter kits” with pots, pans, dishes, and books
- Relief efforts in the Sudan—American Jewish World Service responds to the genocide in the Sudan by helping to provide refugees with food, water, education, and counseling
TEXTS FROM THE 2004 REPORT
The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference.
Life is a loan that we must return one day, and it is not interest free. The interest we pay is to make the world a better place than when we entered.
How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.
One should not give to a tzedakah fund unless the donor knows that the person responsible for managing the fund is trustworthy, wise, and acts with the absolute integrity comparable to that of Rabbi Chanina ben Tradyon.
Rabbi Elazar said: Tzadikim (righteous people) say little but do much.
What is the meaning of the verse, ‘And he put on tzedakah (righteousness) as a coat of mail’? (Isaiah 59:17) It tells us that just as in a coat of mail every small scale joins with the others to form one piece of armor, so every little bit given to tzedakah combines with the rest to form a large sum.
Ben Zoma teaches: ‘Who is worthy of kavod? The one who treats other human-beings with kavod.
The obligation of “love your neighbor as yourself” [means]: Do for others all those things that you want others to do for you.