Chesed and Community Service
Promoting acts of chesed and community service are chore facets of the Yeshivah of Flatbush curriculum. Our students learn compassion through action. We stress sensitivity and responsibility toward the world, which leads to confident, self-fulfilled individuals. All students are required to complete 30 hours per year of community service. This requirement introduces students to the value of volunteerism and many students become leaders in chesed /community service and worthy causes. The majority of students exceed the honors benchmark, making significant contributions to a vast array of local, regional, national and global causes and projects. We encourage students to volunteer at activities they enjoy, and perhaps explore some new options as well.
Twice each year, the Yeshivah arranges a blood drive that is open to the community. Gallons upon gallons of blood are collected for use in hospitals around the city. Students above the age of 16 who meet the other requirements are allowed to give blood, as are parents, older siblings, faculty members and others. The volunteers for this commission collect names of those donating, coordinate with the nurses and doctors who work at this event and buy the replenishing refreshments that are offered to those who give blood.
Chanukah Toy Drive
This commission collects toys and money for needy or sick children in order for them to have a very happy Chanukah.
This is a great opportunity for students to see that doing chesed can be a truly enjoyable experience. Students go with friends on a Sunday to do various acts of chesed throughout the community.
Cooking for a Cause
The commission prepares food for the needy in our community on Wednesday afternoons after class ends. Participating students learn to create a variety of entrees, dinners, and desserts. All of the foods prepared in these events are sent to needy families who can then enjoy delicious homemade dinners.
The clothing drive goes hand in hand with the trip to the soup kitchen. At the Soup Kitchen, students run a clothing drive. Each season, students organize a clothing drive to collect coats, gloves, scarves and other apparel appropriate for the season. At the soup kitchen, clothing is distributed to those less fortunate.
Each winter break, Rabbi Besser takes a group of students and adults to Israel to do chesed for 10 days straight. Those who go on this incredible trip visit victims of terror, hospitals, rehab facilities and institutions that help children and adults dealing with physical and emotional challenges, and volunteer in soup kitchens. The trip has an indescribable impact on the students, parents and faculty members who join Rabbi Besser.
Before Purim, students get together to make Mishloach Manot for the needy. Assembling participants have fun packaging, often done while listening to music and performing karaoke, and are happy to make Purim happy for others.
Ohel is a great opportunity to get involved and become a mentor to a less privileged child. While interacting with these children, students learn to appreciate life in a whole different way.
This commission is in charge of collecting money, buying food and delivering packages to families in the area who could otherwise not afford meals for Shabbat.
Outreach to Bridging the Generations/Bikur Cholim
Students who take part in this program perform a true act of chesed by coordinating trips to and visiting nursing homes and senior citizen homes around the city. Students help elderly people by visiting their homes and performing everyday chores for them, while bringing joy to their day.
Everyone who participates in Pesach Packaging enjoys the experience. Two days are spent packaging and one day is set-aside for delivering. During the packaging, students help tape boxes, package food, and stack boxes. Everyone has fun taking part in this huge chesed. Flatbush alumni and volunteers drive current students to drop off the boxes filled with food. Participants understand how important this mitzvah is when they see how happy and thankful the recipients are.
Saying tehillim is something we can all do to help those in need. It shows the unity of the Jewish people and our concern for one another. Tehillim are said after shacharit for the names on our list. The list is updated weekly.
The Tzedakah Commission
The Tzedakah Commission provides students with an opportunity to learn about and help other people and Jews in need around the world. The students allocate the money collected in the Yeshivah to various organizations and institutions. Every year, the commission collects and allocates over $50,000 through different fundraisers and events.
Yachad is an amazing organization as well as an opportunity to perform a tremendous chesed. It’s easy to get involved in Yachad – just show up! Yachad brings developmentally challenged people together with non-disabled people in social situations, such as shabbatonim, monthly learning programs and other functions. For example, we hold a Yachad-Flatbush Shabbaton annually in May and celebrate Flatbush Yachad Chagigot during Purim and Chanukah. Don’t be nervous about interacting with the Yachad members, they are truly some of the nicest and friendliest people you will ever meet. At Yachad, nobody cares what you look like, what clothes you wear, or what grades you get – what matters is the beauty of your neshama. Yachad gives students the perspective on what’s important in life and shows them how to really find the good in every person.
This is a time when chesed and learning come together. Yachad members are extremely excited to learn Torah at Flatbush with our high school students. Flatbush students stay after school once a month to learn about the holidays and parashot with the coolest kids anywhere!