June 16, 2024
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The Shugee Run: Generations of Chesed

Spring is finally in the air, and this Sunday the seventh-grade boys of Yeshivat Noam will have an extra spring in their step. On March 21, Ilan Sugarman, a seventh grader at Yeshivat Noam whose friends call him Shugee, will be having a chesed run for his bar mitzvah. The Shugee Run is both to raise money for Emunah Achuzat Sarah, a children’s home in Israel, and in memory of Ilan’s great-grandmother Shirley Billet, z”l, and grandfather Allen Sugarman, z”l, for whom Ilan is named. This run will be an opportunity for Ilan and his friends to have some socially distanced fun together while also helping to support a good cause and making a difference.

When it came time for Ilan and his parents, Lisa and Ari Sugarman, to decide what to do for his bar mitzvah chesed project, the idea of a run was at the forefront of their thoughts. Ilan has always been into sports, and he started running from a young age, when he would join his mother and father as they trained for marathons in 2016. Over the years, Ilan developed a skill and a passion for running, so it was an obvious choice for his chesed project. Additionally, a chesed run was something that Ilan could do with his friends even during COVID, as it will take place outside with social distancing. In a time when most extracurriculars are unavailable, especially sports, Ilan wanted to do something sporty that all of his friends could be a part of; thus, the Shugee Run was born.

The choice to use this run to raise money for Emunah Achuzat Sarah was also an easy one for the Sugarmans, as this is a cause that is close to their hearts. Ilan’s great-grandmother Shirley Billet was one of the original founders of Emunah of America and she was extremely active in the organization, serving as treasurer for many years and even national president. Shirley and Leo Billet also dedicated a medical wing in Achuzat Sarah in memory of Ilan’s grandfather Allen. Two years ago, the Sugarmans and their extended family went to Israel to celebrate the bat mitzvah of Ilan’s cousin and, as part of that trip, they spent the day visiting the children and helping out at Achuzat Sarah. Ilan was able to interact with the children there and see firsthand all the good that Achuzat Sarah does, which made it all the more real to him.

Emunah, the organization of which Achuzat Sarah is a part, is one of the largest social service organizations in Israel. Founded in the 1940s to take care of children moving to Israel following the Holocaust, Emunah has evolved into a huge network of daycare centers and counseling services, five religious children’s homes, and more. Achuzat Sarah, an Emunah children’s home founded in 1955 and located in Bnei Brak, is home to 80 children between the ages of 7 and 18 who come from troubled backgrounds, where the government has determined that it is no longer safe for them to live at home. In Achuzat Sarah, these kids are given a warm, nurturing, healing environment, with various activities and therapies to help them live as normal a life as possible. In order for Ilan to really feel connected to the cause for which he is running, the money that is raised through the Shugee Run will be going to help Achuzat Sarah implement its own running program, as a therapeutic outlet for the kids. This is a new program that was piloted in another of Emunah’s homes and was very successful, and now Achuzat Sarah will be able to offer it as well.

Although Ilan’s bar mitzvah was in February, the Sugarmans decided to plan the run for late March, not only in hopes of warmer weather but also to align with the yahrzeits of the people in whose memory the run was planned. Shirley’s yahrtzeit was in Adar and just passed recently, while Allen’s is over Pesach which will be soon after the run, so the run is perfectly placed between the two. To raise the money for the chesed run, Emunah helped the Sugarmans create a fundraising page and then Lisa reached out to various businesses for sponsors, and the businesses that sponsored the run will be featured on the back of dri-fit shirts. On the day of the run, these dri-fits will be given out to all participating kids in commemoration of the event. Aside from the larger sponsorships, Lisa also reached out to family and friends to donate through their page, and the Sugarmans have expressed how wonderful it was to see how excited people were about Ilan’s chesed project and how everyone was willing to donate and be a part of this event.

The Sugarman family would like to thank everyone for their love and support and their involvement in this worthy cause. If you want to be a part of this amazing project and donate to Achuzat Sarah through the Shugee Run, visit www.emunah.org/ilan. To learn more about Emunah and Achuzat Sarah, check out their website, www.emunah.org.

By Shira Kosowsky

 

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