June 22, 2024
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June 22, 2024
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Five years ago, Cheryl Dorchinsky, a Georgia resident, left corporate America and started the nonprofit the Atlanta Israel Coalition. Its mission was to create a world free of anti-Zionism, and was born after she saw that there was a tremendous need to unify against those who hate. In the early days of the nonprofit, the volunteers worked locally, but since then it has grown and gone global, creating programs on college campuses and other establishments, and partnering with anyone who does not want to wipe Israel off the map.

During the COVID era, the AIC became known worldwide by offering free virtual tours of Israel with a tour guide to keep everyone affiliated and connected, inspiring tourists as far away as Malaysia, and then later did in-person trips with people of all religious and ethnic backgrounds, with the very same tour guide. The organization has been able to spread its wings and adapt throughout the changing climate of the world, and did so as well after October 7.

Firmly rooted in its mission to educate, to reverse the darkness by spreading light, the AIC continues to promote unity and raise awareness for the hostages. On January 14, they presented a huge canvas mural to Rambam Hospital in Israel, painted collaboratively by the residents of Georgia, each person coming together to dedicate time and creative skill to collectively show love and support. The creation of the mural brought an awareness to the residents of the efforts and stories of the building and functioning of the hospital, and the delivery allowed the hospital patients and staff to feel the warmth and compassion of those outside of Israel, each painted brush stroke a tender caress of love.

But the main goal in this project was to spread the idea that everyone is able to participate on some level. After October 7, the pervasive desire to contribute left many feeling helpless and not useful, but the AIC highlighted through this project that immense contribution is possible, through steady, small acts of creative expression. Even something as small as painting the corner of a mural or making a hand-painted card bears an impactful significance.

Dorchinsky also joined a Momentum mission to Israel, and was surprised to find tremendous happiness sitting in an open field of sweet potatoes with many other moms, realizing how much joy was hidden in the small activities, the things we never thought we’d find ourselves doing. But there it was, when the clouds of dirt settle, when the obscuring weeds of doubt are brushed aside, therein lies sweet potato perfection, a humble step on the food chain, its brown, knobby surface, textured and rich in comparison to the expanse of dirt from which it was drawn. Buried beneath the surface awaits the jewel-toned flesh; it just needed to be revealed.

And truly, through her work with AIC, Dorchinsky helps others reveal the richness of their inner selves, by creating opportunities to matter; in their simplicity there is perfection. There are those who reach for lofty goals and make great change, but for many others, the small acts can also be the impetus for great change.

For now, the AIC continues to try to build relationships with anyone and everyone, to lessen antisemitism, a much-needed service in the given climate. There is a mission being planned for the near future, to once again bring as many people home, to reveal the hidden gems swaying in the dusty deserts and cobblestoned Jerusalem roads. And to visit the resplendent mural now proudly displayed in Rambam Hospital, the collective efforts of so many who came together, channeling their passion to rebuild our homeland.


Sarah Abenaim is a writer, life coach and journaling workshop curator, who lives with her husband and kids. To be featured in one of her “Out There, In Here” stories, please reach out to her at [email protected] or to David Siegel at [email protected]. To learn more about how you can make an impact in the war effort, check out https://tinyurl.com/Rinat-VolunteeringinIsrael.

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