Director’s Corner: From the Desk of Orit Seif
Giving of oneself is a central tenet in Judaism and is featured prominently in the holidays that fall during this time of year. Both Purim and Pesach focus on the notion of caring for others who are less fortunate through the mitzvot of matanot la evyonim and maot chitin (gifts for the poor). The Seder reinforces this idea in Ha Lachma Anya at the beginning of the recitation of the Haggadah, by mandating that in addition to giving charity, we invite the poor into our homes. At the Seder, matza – poor man’s bread – is the ultimate equalizer and, therefore, our seders must be accessible to all. The Seder teaches that we are all part of the same community: a people emerging from slavery who are awaiting the redemption. The lessons of Purim and Pesach teach that this community is based on the inclusion of others and giving of ourselves.
It is, therefore, fitting that we introduce two upcoming Kedma programs centered around the “Joy of Giving” during the period between Purim and Pesach. Since it’s inception over twenty two years ago, Kedma has connected gap year students with a myriad of chesed opportunities by running bone-marrow drives, training medical clowns, and visiting battered women’s shelters, to name a few. The Kedma Volunteer Program and the Kedma Cohorts Program are geared at expanding students’ horizons and granting them ways to find volunteer opportunities that speak to their individual talents.
The Kedma Volunteer Program (KVP) will launch its pilot program in September 2019, by partnering with four seminaries in its inaugural year: Midreshet Moriah, Midreshet Torah V’Avodah, Eshel, and Ba’er Miriam. By joining the KVP, these seminaries are ensuring that their students will choose from multiple chesed tracks with volunteer opportunities throughout Jerusalem. In addition to volunteering with the elderly or working with underprivileged Israeli youth, KVP is also introducing a service learning track — three programs that involve year-long training in a specific skill. Students will choose to give back by participating in Hatzalah courses, medical clowning workshops, or sign language classes and working with deaf children.
The Kedma Cohorts Program will also launch its first Cohorts class this coming September — an opportunity that will be available to all seminaries. The Cohorts Program is intended for women whose interest in volunteerism rises beyond the weekly chesed time given by most seminaries. These students are looking for additional and more novel ways to give back. The members of the Kedma Cohorts will take trips and be a part of programs that aren’t included in the typical gap-year curriculum. These experiences will allow for a greater knowledge of volunteerism and increased integration within Israeli society, as well as the opportunity to get to know students from different seminaries who share the passion to give back.
Please join us as Kedma leads a revolution in volunteerism by partnering with gap-year seminaries and organizations throughout Jerusalem. Sponsorship and program-naming opportunities are available for both the Kedma Volunteer Program and the Kedma Cohorts Program. For more information, please press the button below.
Best wishes for a Chag Kasher Ve Sameach,