Kahal, the student tzedakah organization of Yeshivat Frisch, raised approximately $25 thousand during its annual Chanukah Tzedakah Drive in 2017. The organization dedicated this year’s drive to fighting Canavan Disease, a progressive and fatal genetic neurological disorder. The campaign was part of a larger effort spearheaded by Frisch alumnus Gary Landsman and his wife Jennie, whose two sons, aged 17 months and 4 months, have both been diagnosed with the disease. The Landsmans are working to raise money for cutting-edge research that could help their sons as well as other children suffering from this devastating illness.
Frisch senior Arielle Epstein ran the Kahal program this year along with her friend Dana Waitman, also a senior. “Since Mr. Landsman is a Frisch alum and part of our community, this situation hits a little closer to home, so everyone is really dedicated to helping as much as they can,” said Epstein. Epstein said her favorite part of Kahal is watching all different types of students getting excited and involved in the organization’s programs and fundraisers. “It’s so nice to see everyone come together for a great cause, whatever it may be,” said Epstein. “The Chanukah Tzedakah Drive is an especially fun program, because the whole school participates and gets really creative in order to raise money.”
Other Kahal programs include Kookies for Kindness, for which students bake cookies once a month after school and donate all sale proceeds to tzedakah, and Sharsheret Pink Day, for which students design apparel to sell in school and give all proceeds to Sharsheret, a Jewish breast cancer organization that helps women and their families face breast cancer.
Mrs. Aliza Weinberg, the faculty adviser for Kahal, said that the tzedakah organization teaches the students how to be part of Klal Yisrael. “Whether it’s Kookies for Kindness and kids staying late at school to bake, or the Tzedakah Drive and other programs, Kahal teaches the students how important tzedakah is to the greater Jewish community,” she said.