Taking Action: Saving Stars

November 8, 2023
Justin Ferstein

Buffalo Grove, Illinois, United States

Class of 2025

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The effects of the recent Israel-Hamas war have left the Jewish community in a deep state of sadness. While most Jewish teenagers have been advocating by posting newsletters and Instagram stories alike, my BBYO friends from across the border have taken a new initiative toward taking action.

In the middle of October, my friend from my BBYO Passport trip called me with a brilliant idea to fundraise for Israel. Being in Israel together this past summer had brought us all a lot closer to the country and the culture. 

We brainstormed ideas for our fundraiser for hours that night, specifically the cause and where the money would go. Eventually, we landed on the topic of medical distress and soon found our target hospital, the Barzilai Medical Center.

Barzilai Medical Center, located just eight miles north of the Gaza border, and it recently suffered lots of damage from rocket fire due to its proximity to the border. The hospital has since lacked materials to function. Hearing this information, my friend who had the initial idea, as well as three of our other BBYO friends from the summer, quickly gathered to create our fundraiser.

On October 11th, “Saving Stars - Fundraising to Barzilai Hospital” GoFundMe opened with an initial goal of $3,000, something we felt was within reach. 

All of us took to social media. We all got our family and friends to help raise money for the fundraiser. Instagram and Snapchat stories, reposts, and more raised us $1,000 within just our first day. We knew we shouldn’t stop there.

We raised the goal to $3,600 to symbolize life for those in Israel. As we kept advocating and advertising, we saw the numbers in our fundraiser hit new limits. In the end, we raised $3,482 before transferring the money to the hospital. 

At the end of it, my friends and I took time to reflect upon our actions and ideas. My two friends and I on the team who were in Israel this past summer together were ecstatic to have done such a good deed for the country we had now known as our second home. The two other members of the team who went to Perlman that summer still felt beyond connected to those in Israel and the country. While we were shy of our goal, we gained something even better. Pride and respect for those in Israel. Also, nearly $3,500 in donations, which we all couldn’t be more grateful for.

In conclusion, this is your sign. Don’t hesitate to speak out for what you believe is right. Whether it’s something big like creating a fundraiser towards a specific cause or even something small like a donation or a social media post, don’t hesitate. Actions like these help you feel connected, even in the slightest, to Israel.

Justin Ferstein is an Aleph living in Chicago, IL and loves his friends.

All views expressed on content written for The Shofar represent the opinions and thoughts of the individual authors. The author biography represents the author at the time in which they were in BBYO.

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