April 22, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Areyvut: Bringing Chesed to the Community

Bergenfield—Areyvut, a non-profit based in Bergenfield, just began its bat mitzvah year. Founded in 2002, Areyvut’s mission is to infuse the lives of Jewish youth and teens with the core Jewish values of chesed, tzedakah, and tikkun olam. Areyvut’s fundamental belief is that sparking a passion for service inspires a lifelong commitment to social justice. Therefore, we encourage young people to engage in both hands-on service and philanthropy, since all of God’s gifts should be used to improve the world. We partner with day schools, congregational schools, community centers, synagogues, and individual families in an effort to implement our innovative programming for Jewish youth. From Mitzvah Clowning, to Teen Philanthropy, Chesed Fairs, and beyond, all of our programming is aimed at helping youth realize the immense power they have to make their community and the world a better place.

Areyvut’s programming stimulates and channels young Jews’ idealism for tikkum olam by filling the gap between teaching about tzedakah and providing opportunities to practice it. For example, we organize hands-on and community service fairs for schools, synagogues, and community centers to educate students about how they can get involved in volunteer opportunities. Since the beginning of March, Areyvut has run one Chesed Fair at SAR Academy in Riverdale, New York, which introduced more than 80 Bnai Mitzvah students to various community organizations. Another Chesed Fair is scheduled for this month at Yeshivat Noam in Paramus, New Jersey, and Areyvut will be taking part in the Community Service Fair at Bnai Jeshurun in New York City. It is our hope that by providing this programming, we instill in our youth the importance of social responsibility and communal involvement.

One of Areyvut’s newest initiatives is our Mitzvah Clown program. Since the program’s inception in 2009, we have trained over 300 volunteers in the importance of bikur cholim (visiting the sick) and kavod habriyot (human dignity). These Mitzvah Clowns are then trained in the ‘art of clowning’- namely: how to apply clown make-up, how to make balloon animals, and how to visit with those who may be different from them. The volunteers then participate in monthly site visits with the sick, elderly, and those with special needs. The Mitzvah Clown program actively engages the community and focuses on bringing support and happiness to those who need it most.

Additionally, Areyvut participates in various education initiatives throughout the Greater New York Area. We are the leading educational resource provider for the Westchester Jewish Teen Learning Initiative (WJTLI). With classes such as Music & Morals, Follow the Leader, and Ethical Issues, Areyvut works with synagogues throughout Westchester County. This spring, Areyvut is also taking part in J-LINC (Linking Innovation, Networks, and Community), an initiative of The Jewish Education Project generously funded by The Covenant Foundation.

Areyvut believes in the importance of engaging Jewish youth and their families in acts of chesed and tikkun olam. For more information, or to bring Areyvut programming to your community, email [email protected], call (201)-244-6702, or visit our website: www.areyvut.org.

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