Saturday, June 06, 2020

“Remove your shoes from your feet” were the words that God told Moshe when Moshe approached the burning bush. Thus began the story of the Exodus. At Yavneh Academy, we implemented that command of Hashem by removing our shoes...and donating them to the underprivileged. Fifty boxes of gently worn shoes were sent from Yavneh Academy last week to Soles4Souls, an organization that provides shoes for those in need all over the world. These shoes were collected by third and seventh graders. The seventh graders spearheaded this project as part of their Advisory program whose theme is “Prepare Yourself to Change the World.”

Rabbi Steven Penn and Dr. Aliza Frohlich had approached the seventh graders with the idea, and four seventh grade boys volunteered to coordinate the campaign. Eric Farbowitz, Moshe Golubtchik, Elie Jarashow, and Jack Reinhart advertised the project throughout the school by hanging up signs, conducting an assembly with the 3rd and 7th graders, going around to classrooms, and sending out e-mails to announce the project. They then meticulously collected the shoes, paired them up with rubber bands and, together with the third graders, packed up the shoes for delivery.

“Collecting the shoes saves the poor from disease,” shared Jack Reinhart. When asked how it felt to be a part of this project Eric Farbowitz jokingly added, “Aside from missing class, it felt good to help people get a necessity.” The shoe collection is essential as without shoes people cannot get jobs, go out, and children cannot go to school. Elie Jarashow pointed out, “People around the world are suffering from so many problems. By collecting shoes we are helping to decrease one of the problems they have.”

The partnership between older and younger students made the project more meaningful. The seventh graders felt that it was a wonderful experience working with another grade so much younger since it made them “feel like it brought us together even though there was a significant age difference,” as Elie said. The third graders enthusiastically did bring in most of the shoes.

When asked why they thought students coordinated the drive and not adults, the students answered, “So we can learn to organize and make something happen. We also need to learn how to be independent. I think it’s important for us to have to work if we want to change the world rather than it just being handed to us.”

Being a part of Soles4Souls helped the beneficiaries, but also helped the students who gave, as Elie was proud to say, “It felt like we actually made a difference. I also feel very accomplished and proud not only of myself but every single student who brought in shoes because it shows that people really do care about making the world a better place.” When presented with the challenge of “preparing yourself to change the world,” the students felt inspired, but as Elie aptly added, “When you hear the phrase ‘changing the world’ it sounds a little intimidating. I’m one person, how can I change the whole entire world? Well it’s not about doing something extreme, it’s doing little things that will eventually make the world a better place.” And, as Moshe Golubtchik clearly stated, “It felt so good to be a part of this great chesed.”

It truly does feel good to do good.

By Eric Farbowitz, Moshe Golubtchik, Elie Jarashow, and Jack Reinhart