By: Elie Lipnik  | 

Changing the World One Good Deed at a Time

Whether it be from flyers lying around the YU campus or ystuds sent out, the phrase “join millions around the world by participating in Good Deeds Day” might have caught your attention. If you did not actually read through the entire email or meticulously scrutinize each detail on the flyer, then you may have missed the opportunity to take part in Good Deeds Day 2016. On Sunday, April 16th, 2016 tens of millions of people, thousands of organizations and business in over 60 countries around the globe united to do good and volunteer.

Good Deeds Day was initiated in 2007 by businesswoman and philanthropist, Shari Arison, and launched and organized by Ruach Tova (NGO), a part of The Ted Arison Family Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the Arison Group. According to Arison, “I believe that if people will think good, speak good and do good, the circles of goodness will grow in the world. Good Deeds Day has become the leading day of giving and this year individuals, school children, students, soldiers and employees from many businesses are joining in for the annual Good Deeds Day with the aim of doing a good deed for others.” As well as starting good deeds day, Shari Arison is American-born Israeli businesswoman and philanthropist, and Israel's wealthiest woman.

Specifically at YU, the Bnei Akiva Society, Tzedek Society, Social Justice Society, and Eruv Society, all under the auspices of Shira Feen (SC, ’18) and Devora Siegel (SC, ’17), sponsored the event and lead the group of students throughout the day. Good Deeds Day actually began weeks before the day itself, when members of the aforementioned clubs collected donations for a soup kitchen. That Sunday, however, students went to Masbia Kosher Soup Kitchen, donated the food collected, and peeled 350 pounds of carrots. As one of the only fully kosher kitchens, Masbia’s model is to “feed any empty stomach.” Afterwards, participants headed back to broadway pizza and stopped in Herald square where they had many booths to do quick small good deeds.

According to Feen, “the day went absolutely amazing, I couldn’t have imagined it any better.” Moreover, she claimed that the best part of the day was coming back to Herald Square where the big NYC event for good deeds day was taking place and just feeling part of a bigger movement. Also, hands-on helping at the soup kitchen, and feeling like we were actually making it a difference, and the gratitude of the masbia staff showed towards us, made it all worth it. The most difficult aspect of coordinating this event was collecting donations in the cafeterias before the actual event to bring with us on good deeds day to donate to the soup kitchen. Siegel says that she “definitely wants to make this an annual event at YU.”

Efraim Benscher (Syms, ’18) thoroughly enjoyed himself. “It was an awesome time, people took off from their busy schedules to help others not as fortunate as us. I would absolutely participate again next year, because as I always say ‘time is a most precious gift from g-d but it is a gift that must be shared with others.’”

The only thing that Feen and Siegel would change, however, is that they would try do it at a location that can handle more volunteers. Unfortunately, Masbia could not accept that many volunteers so we had to limit advertising, and next year it would be great to get more students involved.

With the first annual Good Deeds Day at YU going in the books as a huge success, students are anxiously awaiting for it to come around next year.