The two for one concept has officially taken on a whole new meaning.
At least that’s what “Shake N’ Donate Israel” is trying to achieve. This past Purim, Josh Rosenbaum, a recent graduate of NCSY from Providence, RI currently spending his gap year in Israel’s Yeshivat Lev HaTorah, teamed up with Leket Israel, the National Food Bank, to spearhead this Purim initiative to benefit the needy. The idea started from realizing how people worldwide could shake less traditional noisemakers when Haman’s name is read during megila.
“This tradition is great, but it could be greater,” Rosenbaum explained. “My goal is to have everyone at every gap year program shake boxed food instead of groggers [Purim noisemakers]. Afterwards, all of the boxes will be collected and donated to Leket Israel.”
This year, thirty-five campuses all over Israel, a majority of which American yeshivot and seminaries with NCSYers, participated with over forty-five ambassadors, all spearheaded by Rosenbaum. He chose to donate the boxed food to Leket Israel because of his personal connection to the organization, since earlier this year his Yeshiva brought students to volunteer in the Leket fields, picking vegetables for the poor.
“On regional shabbatonim I got the sense of a regional family,” Rosenbaum added on how NCSY helped inspire him to take this on. “Yarchei Kallah I felt the national family. Now, in Israel I feel part of an international family of the Jewish people and NCSY. The concept of such a huge extended family gives you a recognition of the responsibility we have to all our brothers and sisters. As Jews, we are not just bound to one community.”
Rosenbaum celebrates that his year, in his yeshiva alone, sixty-seven students donated 315 bags of pasta for the needy, which helped Leket Israel distribute the dry goods among their network of 180 nonprofit agencies. However, he doesn’t single-handedly take credit for his success this last year. He says he was inspired by another NCSY graduate, Barry Mueller (Har Sinai region). Mueller currently is a senior at Yeshiva University and had spearheaded the initiative in the US for a couple of years, before reaching out to Rosenbaum to do the same in Israel. And Rosenbaum is so thankful to have been given this opportunity.
“Next year, I plan to study in Tulane University in New Orleans so that I can eventually practice Human Rights Law. But I want to make sure this torch is passed on Israel so ‘Shake N’ Donate Israel’ lives on. Perhaps I will be given the chance to spearhead something similar in Tulane.”
And with his successful background in chessed already, Rosenbaum is sure to make his goals a reality, one cause at a time.
“Every single person can make a difference, and collectively, we can change the world,” Rosenbaum ended. “When people are asked what they wish for the world, the two most common answers are world peace and ending world hunger. If I can prove to people how much of an impact they could have on ending world hunger, my hope is that world peace will follow suit.”