Shining a Light in the Darkness

There is a famous saying in Israel from a popular Chanukah song that each of us generates a small flame but they combine to create a huge light. The residents of the Beit Tovei Ha’ir Senior Residence in Jerusalem took this message as a challenge and created a major Chanukah fundraising campaign.

Since the start of the war in Israel, the residents of Beit Tovei Ha’ir have thrown their energies into voluntary work for the benefit of those affected. They set up five teams to coordinate their efforts: a knitting team to knit woolen hats for IDF soldiers; a group to say Tehillim (psalms) for the recovery of the injured and the success of the army; a team to reach out to seniors who have been evacuated to Jerusalem; a team to bake challot and prepare packages of food to send to the families of IDF reservists; and a fundraising team.

Their Chanukah fundraising project was a benefit for Nefesh Yehudi and Achim L’Oref, who have been helping to supply equipment for the large number of soldiers called up since October 7. The residents organized an online fundraising campaign among their family and friends, and a successful Chanukah Fair.

The Chanukah Fair coordinators – Julia Aronson and Carmel Kotler, shown above – arranged for a number of booths offering games and selling refreshments, gently used clothes and donated ornaments, plus a raffle with exciting prizes donated by businesses in the Geulah area. They solicited donations for the raffle, collected items to be sold, organized volunteers to staff the booths, and planned and executed the entire fair.  The first prize was a fully catered Shabbat in Beit Tovei Ha’ir for a couple. This was won by one of the residents who donated it to her children!

From this Chanukah campaign, the residents of Beit Tovei Ha’ir, together with their families and friends, raised the impressive sum of 11,000 NIS (over US$3,000). This week, a check for that amount was presented to representatives of Nefesh Yehudi, who expressed their gratitude to the wonderful volunteers who made the Fair such a success.

The staff of Beit Tovei Ha’ir helped to set up the Fair and ensure that everything ran smoothly. The Beit Tovei Ha’ir management company has kindly donated matching funds to be used for other activities to benefit the families of soldiers and evacuated seniors.

For example, a team of residents has reached out to a group of women from Kiryat Shemona who have been evacuated from Northern Israel to Jerusalem. They are staying in a hotel near the Beit Tovei Ha’ir Residence but have very few facilities or activities. The residents have visited them and given them gifts, and also invited them to participate in joint activities at the Residence, including using the pool facilities.

Yael Ben David, director of activities at the Residence, has been overwhelmed by the generosity of spirit and the energy shown by the residents. “Since the start of the War, we have seen tremendous positivity and achdut within our small community, with everyone doing whatever they can to help. Many of the residents have grandchildren serving in the IDF, and others have families and friends affected in other ways. It’s amazing to feel the positive energy of a community working together, and we hope to shine some of the light that we have generated to those in Israel whose lives have been darkened.”


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