z9It was an evening that surpassed everyone’s expectations. A capacity crowd of school and seminary girls gathered in the Achiezer office along with representatives of 13 community organizations, for an event that was truly a win-win for everybody.

Rabbi Boruch Ber Bender, Achiezer’s founder, opened the evening with a short but powerful address about the value of chesed as the raison d’être of every Jew. Citing a chilling Gemara, Rabbi Bender told the story of a tzaddik who climbed into his wagon to retrieve a piece of bread for a poor person, only to find that the hapless man had expired in the brief time that it took to find the bread. Rav Chaim Shmulevitz explains that it is not enough for a Jew to be happy to help another when asked; a Jew must always be prepared with a piece of bread, just in case!

The representatives of the organizations then spoke for two to five minutes each, briefly outlining the purpose of each organization as well as available volunteer opportunities. The simple sight of all of these organizations–Achiezer, Bikur Cholim, I-Shine, JCCRP, JEP, Kulanu, Levi Yitzchak Library, Madraigos, Ohel, The Friendship Circle, and Tova–coming together in front of one room was inspiring in and of itself. Witnessing the representatives of these organizations offering to help each other was even more incredible!

The evening also offered a unique opportunity to apprise the girls of options available to them for their own self-growth. To that end, Machon Basya Rochel and Sh’eefa, two educational programs for post-high-school/seminary girls, offered synopses of their organizations. Sara Glas unveiled Achiezer’s upcoming financial-management seminars geared specifically towards this population, and was received well by the crowd and other organizations alike. Faige Fried presented The Network, the online forum that she founded, which enables single girls to find and post shiurim, textbook sales, open internships, rides to weddings, and information about just about anything else a single girl might want to know.

After the presentations ended, the attendees had a chance to sign up for volunteer opportunities; sample some sushi, cake, and fruit; and socialize with the representatives and one another.

Faige Fried, the power behind the entire event, summed up the purpose of the evening in her own remarks to the audience: “This time in our lives can be ‘the best of times’ or ‘the worst of times’–and it’s up to us to decide which one it will be.”

Sorry you missed it? You can still get to know the organizations, and sign up for any of the opportunities or services offered, by e-mailing enovak@achiezer.org for a copy of the event handout, which includes synopses and contact information. A special mention of gratitude goes to Achiezer’s Esther Novak for her tireless effort and vision in coordinating this event. v


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