Unwilling to let the momentum die down, the Community Service Initiative of Far Rockaway started its second session during the last week of January. CSI is a weekly afterschool program for seventh- and eighth-grade girls, run through the White Shul Youth Department by Sari Babad and Ilanna Schuster. Although it’s only been a few short weeks since the start of CSI’s second session, the program has been every bit as exciting and productive as the first half of the year.

Every Thursday evening, after being treated to the usual sushi, pizza, and snacks, the super-dedicated and energetic CSI girls get ready to help out in the community and have a blast at the same time. Already, the girls have lent a hand at a mailing for JEP and participated in a workshop where they discussed the importance of doing small chassadim at home, even when it’s not as fun or exciting as “big” community-wide chesed projects. The girls also got a chance to once again express their creativity at a new awesome activity–Cupcake Wars cupcake decorating contest! The cupcakes tasted every bit as good as they looked.

Over the next few weeks, the girls at CSI are beginning to embark on their largest mission yet–painting a 20-foot mural for the White Shul. The girls already had a chance to brainstorm ideas for the mural, and this week it’s finally time to pick up the paintbrushes and get to work beautifying the shul. If the energy, creativity, and teamwork that they have been showing these past few months are anything to go by, it seems like the girls are definitely ready for the challenge! CSI is grateful for several individuals without whom this large undertaking would have been impossible: Mr. Alex Babad for donating paint and painting equipment; Mrs. Tsipora Karp for drawing the mural; Ms. Adina Slepoy for helping to paint the mural; and finally, Ms. Shani Kanner for giving of her time to help the program run.

Additionally, CSI thanks the Jewish Education Project for their support; CSI’s success was made possible through a micro-grant from the Jewish Education Project, an agency committed to sparking and spreading innovations that expand the reach and increase the impact of Jewish education. CSI also extends a heartfelt thank-you to Mr. Bernie and Nessa Lisitza for their generous continuing support, without which CSI would not be able to operate. Thanks also to Rabbi Eliezer Fuld, the White Shul youth director, for overseeing CSI. v


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