July 19, 2024
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July 19, 2024
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Ba’alot Chesed Meet Sharks at RYNJ

Shark Tank is a contest for entrepreneurs to present their business plans before a jury of successful businesspeople in the hopes of winning support to move forward in furthering their business ventures. Chesed is defined as altruistic acts of kindness to others. Where would one find philanthropic sharks? In the RYNJ graduating girls class of 5776.

In order to set the tone for a meaningful final year of elementary school, the eighth grade girls class focuses on giving back to the school. The girls are involved in many mentoring and volunteer opportunities with the preschool and younger grades. In light of the deteriorating state of world order, the students of 8G repeatedly suggested alternate ideas for greater chesed initiatives. With an eye towards channeling these intentions, a shark tank contest was set into motion.

Ten teams of students had the challenge of defining a crisis, researching suitably helpful organizations and presenting a bid for a yearlong chesed initiative that would carry the class through the winter towards graduation. Each team had three minutes to present why its cause was worthy, enriching its bid with Torah and Talmudic text to explain the crisis within the context of Jewish values. Then each bid moved on to a specific who would enable the class to fulfill its mission and how the class would develop specific projects or drives to make a difference. The shark tank (fellow students, teachers and administrators) considered each oral presentation and accompanying poster business plan, according to the Areyvut SMART values introduced by Rabbi Daniel Rothner of Areyvut at the outset of the challenge. The girls were fortunate to have Rabbi Rothner available to consult with each group during its planning stage.

The ten teams introduced a variety of communal crises, such as Israel morale, poverty, childhood illness and bikur cholim. The teams researched and presented implementation plans with an eye towards such organizations as One Family Fund, Beit Elazraki, Ohel, Chessed 24/7. One team suggested a plan in which the students themselves would form a bikur cholim organization for sending jokes to children in hospitals.

The students voted, and decided that of all the plans presented, they would implement chesed initiatives for Yad Leah.

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