On Sunday, March 25th, Zoe and her family and friends will be participating in Yachad’s Mitzvah Party program by helping to renovate Rachael’s Women’s Center in downtown Washington, DC, just a short ways away from Zoe’s home.
The center serves as a day shelter for homeless women and men. The center serves two hot meals a day, offers community outings, showers and laundry services, counseling, and a safe place. Zoe and her friends and family will be helping to renovate the space by painting, doing small carpentry, and handyman tasks, all supervised by one of Yachad’s Construction Managers. This work is desperately needed to make sure the center stays safe and open for homeless people throughout the city.
Want to support Zoe?
Click button below. On new page, find heading in upper left corner, “Help Our Cause”. Under that heading, click “Make a Donation”. When prompted, select “Donate Without Sponsoring a Team or Individual.”
Not only is Zoe rolling up her sleeves to complete this work, she is also sponsoring the project. Zoe is hoping to raise the funds that will pay for the materials and professional labor needed for this project. Every dollar you donate will be matched by Zoe’s family until they reach the $2000 goal!
If you are interested in also volunteering, please register here.
In Zoe’s Words…
Some people think that the focus of Bat Mitzvah preparation is studying the Torah and learning prayer. Yes, learning about prayer and the Torah is very important; however, since the Bnai Mitzvah is about growing up and becoming an adult in the Jewish Community, it is about more then that. Also central in becoming a Bat Mitzvah is the commitment to “Gemilut Hasadim,” acts of loving kindness; efforts to repair the world. It is important to me that when I celebrate in March with my family and friends, that I also remember all those in our country who are not as fortunate and who need people to be an advocates for change. In this spirit, my family decided to include Gemilut Hasadim into my Bat Mitzvah weekend. We plan to celebrate my honor of being called to the Torah on Saturday, but then on Sunday, my family, friends and I plan to roll up our sleeves and join as a community to help those in need. I am excited to join with my family and friends to help re-build and improve the Rachael’s Women Center.
I recently visited the Rachael’s Women Center. We spent an hour touring the property. When I left the shelter for the first time, my parents asked me what I thought. I replied that I thought it was sad. The building was in such disrepair: the walls were cracked, the paint was peeling, the floorboards were falling apart, but, most of all, the women were alone and homeless. My parents encouraged me to look at the situation in another way: if this women’s shelter was not here, all of these women would be on the streets in the cold. My parents helped me realize the significant importance of this shelter. It emphasized to me just how important it was to help fix it up. That afternoon, I realized that this shelter helped save so many people — the least I could do was help organize the effort to improve the safety, cleanliness and beauty of the building.
In our tour of Rachael’s Womens Center, in addition to the things that needed serious improvement, we also saw so much true beauty: A mural, gorgeous wood working, elaborate crown molding and most importantly, the dedicated staff of the center. This place was not a sad place. It was a happy place that just needed a bit of “loving kindness” to help nurture and foster its inner beauty. I can’t wait to work side by side with my family, my friends and the women who depend on the women’s center to make it a beautiful, comfortable place. I am eager to spread the rewards of hard work and activism among those who I love the most. I know that it feels great to help others, and I truly hope to inspire my friends and family to take the act of loving kindness back to their own communities.
My Torah portion is called Vayikra. Vayikra is about Animal Sacrifice. In the Torah, people sacrificed something really precious, animals, to prove their commitment to G-d. Nowadays people don’t kill animals and give them to G-d, but we can still show our love and appreciate for G-d’s gifts. Something that I believe we find precious is time. Between school, sports, homework and other events, there are only a few free hours on the weekends. I think that by sharing my precious free time to help the Rachael’s Women Center, I am following my ancestors who sacrificed in order to prove their dedication to G-d.
I am really looking forward to working with all of my family and friends and getting to help the women who depend on the Rachael’s Women’s Center. I want to show these women that they are not alone and that their community can rally around and help them. I look forward to seeing them smile when they see the work we have done. I sincerely hope it can brighten up their day. I also truly hope that my friends and family will see the importance of tikkun olam and want to continue to help people.
Watch these videos documenting Zoe’s first visit to the center.
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