June 21, 2024
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June 21, 2024
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ACHI Continues to Do More

For the past 20 years, five former Yeshiva University High School for Girls classmates, now residing between Bergen County, Florida and Baltimore, have been collaborating on a unique tzedaka initiative which they call ACHI, American Communities Helping Israel. Currently, the ACHI team is nine strong. Initially, the project’s mantra “Help Israel— Buy Israeli” encouraged American shoppers to purchase food and other products made in Israel, thus supporting the Israeli economy. Expanding this thrust, they developed the idea of a special “klee,” a dish or bowl, which could be placed on one’s Shabbat table offering Israeli food or snacks or even a bottle of wine. The group disseminated their idea through schools, shuls and camps, many of which integrated these tzedakah projects into their programs that promote connection to Israel.

In 2020, during Covid, the group added yet another dimension to their initiative by creating an online market for Israeli businesses. The ACHI Market serves as an online gateway to the websites of Israeli vendors so people may buy their wares and the businesses can try to recoup their huge losses. To visit the ACHI Market, go to www.achi613.org/market

To date, there are over 300 Israeli businesses on the ACHI Market. These include artwork and crafts, food and fashion, cosmetics and clothing, jewelry and gifts. Through the ACHI Market, ACHI has become an extensive resource for those of us looking to support Israeli businesses while purchasing top quality products.

One of the many artists proudly featured in the ACHI Market is Micol Bayer. Creator of Micol Designs, Bayer creates custom to semi-custom papercuts including ketubot, works with Biblical quotations and general artwork. Born in Seattle, Washington, Bayer recently celebrated a decade of Aliyah with her husband Aaron and three young adult children. Residing in Efrat, Bayer is well known through her creations which are often commissioned for award dinners, Bar/Bat Mitzvah hostess gifts and personal commemorations. Bayer is always sharing and learning new techniques, thus bringing her particular expertise to higher levels. She has garnered much attention by being included by the ACHI team.

Always looking for new and creative ways to support Israel, the ACHI team is currently promoting a new project which has provided funds for meals for Israeli families affected by the war during these trying times. ACHI approached several Israeli artists who graciously shared their artwork with the organization. Beautiful greeting cards in sets of five, by artists Alex Levin, Simmi Brodie, Elina Itzhaki and Dara Goldschmidt are being offered for purchase. On the reverse side of the artwork the card reads, “A donation has been made in your honor to the ACHI 613 Shabbat Shalom Israel Fund. …This card represents a Shabbat meal donated to people impacted by the Gaza War….” From the proceeds of the purchases of these artistic cards, Shabbat and Chag meals are provided by Lema’an Achai to bereaved families of soldiers and others who sacrificed their lives “Al Kiddush Hashem” on, or since October 7, to families of evacuees, and to families of wounded chayalim and chayalot of the IDF. From January 2024 through Pesach, the cards have generated enough funds to provide over 1000 meals. And since Pesach, the project has been going strong.

In promoting this new project, the team at ACHI feels that this decorative “Shabbat Shalom Israel” card can be framed and displayed. Even more meaningfully, the cards can be given in lieu of hostess gifts when visiting friends on Shabbat or Chag. They can also be used as an all-occasion card by adding a personal message. The card will convey your concern for the wellbeing of our Israeli brothers and sisters as they are protecting our beloved Eretz Yisrael. It will also include your hosts in this great mitzvah. The reward for this purchase is shared three ways — by guests, hosts and our Israeli brethren.

Suzanne Weilgus, founder of ACHI, sponsored two nights of entertainment this winter in Boynton Beach, Florida, on behalf of the ACHI Israel Fund. Hundreds gathered for a Night of Music followed by a Night of Magic, which raised impressive sums for other Israeli war-related tzedakot. Sales of Israeli products in Baltimore and Englewood added to our Israel Fund. To view these, check out our home page at www.achi613.org. A Los Angeles fundraiser for the ACHI card project raised over $1200 in only one hour.

We invite the community to visit the ACHI website to learn about its creative projects on behalf of our Israeli brothers and sisters.

To purchase Shabbat Shalom Israel Cards, visit www.achi613.org/shop

or contact ACHI at [email protected].

 

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