THE TY BLOG

Thinking Outside the Jewish People

In part two of a three-part series published by Haaretz, more Tel Yehudah and Young Judaea alumni are highlighted for their efforts in spearheading ambitious programs that affect positive change and make a difference in the lives of millions of underprivileged citizens of the world.  Find out how they are putting the "olam"  into tikun olam!

How's this for an ambitious plan? Enlisting the 14 million Jews in Israel and the Diaspora to improve the lives of a quarter of a billion disadvantaged people around the world, all within the next decade.

The Alliance for Global Good, a U.S.-based nonprofit, thinks it's doable...The idea behind their recently unveiled "21st Century Tikkun Olam" program is to get Jews around the world to contribute their know-how and expertise in areas like neo-natal health and infant mortality, de-desertification, food and water security, and entrepreneurship, all in the name of guaranteeing a better world for coming generations...

David Brand, the executive director of The Alliance for Global Good, is among a growing list of Young Judaea youth movement graduates who are putting the emphasis on olam (Hebrew for "world" ) in the type of tikkun olam ("repairing the world" ) work they do...

"I can't think of anything in my life that has been as much as a catalyst in what I do as my involvement in Young Judaea," says Brand. "I think the essence of the movement is being a 'light unto the nations,' and this program, which is certainly an audacious vision, is all about that..."

Anne Heyman, another Young Judaean, was also trying to build on Israeli know-how and expertise when she came up with her idea for a tikkun olam project that targets the world's downtrodden: a youth village in Rwanda for children orphaned during or after the 1994 genocide. The Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village, set up in 2006, was inspired by the youth aliyah villages set up in Israel to accommodate the many orphans who arrived here after having lost their entire families in the Holocaust...

Ruthie Sobel is another Young Judaean who has dedicated herself to helping disadvantaged children. In 2005, she established Birthday Angels, a nonprofit that funds and organizes birthday parties for poor and sick children in Israel. She is now trying to take the idea to the United States...

The seeds for Birthday Angels were planted when Sobel was 17 years old and on a Young Judaea summer program in Israel working with young children in one of Tel Aviv's low-income neighborhoods..."I asked [Malka] when her birthday was, and she told me she didn't know. The birthday is such an important day in a child's life, it was hard for me believe there could be a child who didn't know when hers was."

Click here to read more about David, Anne, and Ruthie and how Young Judaea was a critical ingredient to their success and the success of many others like them who are making a difference in the world.

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