Blog  NFTY-SO: Bringing the Holy Home – NFTY Southern’s Social Action Day

NFTY-SO: Bringing the Holy Home – NFTY Southern’s Social Action Day

At NFTY Southern Institute, teens worked together to define what makes NFTY Southern a kehillah kedoshah, a holy community. To wrap up the weekend, we sent them with the charge of “bringing the holy home” – taking the holiness that they create in our NFTY regional community, and sharing it with the communities they are a part of. In our first Regional Social Action Day, they did just that.

Thank you to Emma Figarsky, 10th grade from Little Rock, and Benny Meltzer, 11th grade from Baton Rouge, for sharing their insight and reflections on this experience!

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SO blog 1Our House is a local homeless shelter in Little Rock that houses men, women, and children of all ages. Our temple volunteers quite often for Our House, by either donating food or making meals. Being the SAVP for LaFTY, for our part in NFTY’s Mitzvah day on November 15th, I had suggested volunteering at Our House. I did so while thinking of the text “Whoever destroys a soul, it is considered as if he destroyed an entire world. And whoever saves a life, it is considered as if he saved an entire world.” Mishnah Sanhedrin 4:9; Babylonian Talmud Tractate Sanhedrin 37a. Yes, those at the shelter would have one way or another of getting the meals, but why not us? Why not now? Those at the shelter need not only to know that they have a place to live, but that people care about them.

A few weekends before, on October 26th, LaFTY wrote cards and put together mason jars containing hot chocolate for thanksgiving baskets the Temple was putting together. I remember a few nights before when Shelly, our advisor, showed up at my house with what felt like mountains of hot chocolate, marshmallows and the other materials, so I could only imagine what I would have a few weeks later. With 200 eggs in my fridge later, everything was set. On November 8th, everyone met at Our House at 6:30 am to cook breakfast. Sure, while it was a little hectic and the whole kitchen was slightly smoky at points, it was completely worth it. My favorite part was at the end serving the food, no matter how many times I have done it – I’m always touched. You are always greeted by so many smiling faces, and in the few moments that you interact with each person, you feel so much better.

Volunteering, community service, standing up for rights – whatever the matter, it is extremely important for everyone to get involved in their community and make a change.

– Emma Figarsky

 

SO Blog 2On NFTY-SOs social action day, while most other TYGs were wrapping up the day’s activities, BaRFTY was preparing to serve up some social action in the form of baked goods.  BaRFTYites began congregating at the Hoffman household in the early evening.  Members played ping pong, conversed, and listened to music while waiting for fellow BaRFTYites to arrive.  Once about twelve members were present, hands were washed, and sleeves pulled up, cookies started being made.  However, these cookies would have to wait to be consumed.  These cookies would be donated early the next day to the caregivers and family members of individuals in hospice care at a local hospital.

As the night wore on, good food was consumed and football games were won and lost.  Overall it was a lot of fun and I laughed more than I had in a while.  However, all good things must come to an end; while getting ready for bed, I thought about the families who would eventually receive our cookies.  I cannot imagine what it would be like to be in their situation, but knowing that I did something to comfort a total stranger in a time of helplessness was gratifying.

– Benny Meltzer