June 21, 2024
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Two Moriah Students Spearhead Tzedakah Project for NechamaComfort

Moriah Middle School students Chaim Ratzerdorfer and Noah Kessler instituted a special tzedakah project this year to raise money for NechamaComfort, a nonprofit organization that provides support and resources to families dealing with fetal or infant loss. Founded by Reva Judas, NechamaComfort was developed within the walls of Moriah when she worked there and has since come full circle because of this project. The project was entirely student run, furthering the goals of NechamaComfort to spread awareness. The hard work and dedication of the boys, with the assistance of the students of Moriah, helped make an immense impact on NechamaComfort and assisted in supporting the cause as a whole.

NechamaComfort was founded after Judas lost her newborn. At the time, grief counseling was not readily available both in the community and in society. Judas saw a need for support for women and families dealing with this loss from every sect of Judaism. Slowly, as the community began to recognize the mental health component of fetal and infant loss, Judas began to develop the idea of starting a nonprofit that specializes in just that. As this new career in chesed was blooming, Judas also worked at Moriah as a kindergarten teacher. There, she experienced wonderful support from her friends in early childhood as she drafted the beginning outlines of her new life’s work and set the precedent of close relations with the Moriah family. Being invited back to the school after so many years to accept the check and address the students, Judas felt a sense of completion and fulfillment.

Chaim and Noah, who had prior knowledge about the cause, were sensitive and aware of this emotionally complex topic. Chaim’s grandmother, Sharon Barth, is a hardworking case manager at NechamaComfort, and the boys have long been exposed to the importance of its work and now decided to take an active initiative. They approached the middle school’s assistant principal, Rabbi Eitan Lipstein, and introduced their idea to donate the school’s tzedakah to NechamaComfort. Within no time, there were flyers plastered to the walls of the school and announcements being made each day after davening. The success of the project can be entirely attributed to the student body, specifically Noah and Chaim, who recognized a societal need and took action. The boys translated their warm-hearted nature into active chesed by utilizing their intelligence to get the job done. Their passion for this tzedakah stems from kindness, and Chaim said that he “enjoys cheering people up when they are sad. Pregnancy should be happy and exciting, but if it’s not, I want to raise money to help NechamaComfort cheer up families,” and that’s exactly what they did.

Judas was impressed, like many were, by the independence and responsibility of the boys and student body. She noted that she “hopes other schools will also see it’s okay to talk about loss.” She is delighted that the message and goals of NechamaComfort can spread to the next generation.

Today, NechamaComfort continues to expand. Since 2010, when they became a legally recognized organization, they’ve grown to include support groups, individual counseling, therapy for the entire family, a hotline, educating doctors and community leaders and so much more. With the help of the community, NechamaComfort will continue to grow their resources and assist the people who need it.

Judas encourages anyone experiencing fetal or infant loss to visit their website at www.nechamacomfort.org  or call their hotline 1-833-632-4262.

Hannah Kirsch just returned from a gap year in Israel and will be attending Binghamton University in the fall.

By Hannah Kirsch

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