An interview with B’nai Tzedek Youth Foundation Members
Age/grade: 14 ½ / 9th grade
School: Northampton High School
Parents: Deborah & Rabbi Bruce
Siblings: Hadas (12), Adeena (9), Maayan (6)
Organizations: Shevet Achim, CBI religious school madrich
Hobbies/interests: Computers, Ultimate Frisbee, freshman class officer
Future plans: College, run a computer company
Ledger: What is the most important Jewish issue to you and why?
Zev: Jewish people should have our own homeland, which we have had for thousands of years. Tzedakah – many people are poor in the world who need money. Things – many people in this world are also needy and we need to fix the problems in this world. Being against anti-Semitism – Jews should be allowed to live freely in our state.
Ledger: What was the first mitzvah project you ever worked on? List other tikkun olam projects you’ve been part of and explain what you’ve learned most about yourself, your Jewish values, and your community through them.
Zev: I am not sure what the first mitzvah project I worked on was because I have worked on many. Before Thanksgiving at Lander-Grinspoon Academy, my elementary school, we would make food to give to shelters. For my bar mitzvah project I collected books to donate to Readers to Readers, an organization that donates books to poor schools and libraries. Taking part in those activities has opened my eyes to the needs of people in this world, and that not everyone is as fortunate as me.
Ledger: How has your participation in B’nai Tzedek and other tikkun olam activities helped you to grow as a teen leader and activist for tikkun olam? What leadership skills have you learned?
Zev: I have learned how to be a leader and a philanthropist, give tzedakah, and raise money. Being involved in activities such as B’nai Tzedek has taught me that many people in our world are starving and are poor and need help and we should help them.
Ledger: How did your past experiences contribute to your interest in joining B’nai Tzedek Youth Foundation? How do you imagine your experience in BTYF will affect your life and future participation in tzedakah and philanthropy?
Zev: Going to a Jewish day school has impacted my involvement in B’nai Tzedek because at Lander-Grinspoon Academy we learned to give tzedakah and to do tikkun olam. I imagine that later in my life, I will be a philanthropist and give tzedakah often.
This project is a collaboration between the Harold Grinspoon Foundation and the Western Massachusetts Jewish Ledger. The project goal is to support and recognize Jewish teen leadership and commitment to tzedakah and tikkun olam.