Fair Lawn—Ora Friedman, a rising sophomore at Ma’ayanot, wanted to do something special to help Israel during Operation Protective Edge. “I especially wanted for teenagers to get involved and do stuff,” she said. She decided to set up and run a bake sale in a private event held at Shomrei Torah last week. “I mentioned the idea at Areyvut, where I was working this summer, and then I formed a teen committee, and then we took it step by step,” she said. The sale netted a total of $1,735 in sales and donations, all of which will be going to OneFamily Fund, an organization based in Jerusalem and Teaneck that gives support to Israeli victims of terror.
According to the organization’s website, OneFamily began when 12-year-old girl decided to donate the expenses from her bat mitzvah to victims of an Israeli terror attack, and started to raise thousands of dollars. Today, the organization “empowers victims of terror to rebuild their lives, rehabilitate and reintegrate through emotional, legal, and financial assistance programs.” When Friedman reached out to the organization, OneFamily sent her brochures and wristbands emblazoned with their logo and the names of terror victims, to give out at the bake sale.
The first step for the committee was to find a date and venue, which was easier said than done for these first time organizers, who had no funds to rent a location. However, Congregation Shomrei Torah allowed the group to use the premises, but did not provide any official supervision. The next step was promoting the sale, through social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter, email blasts from schools such as Ma’ayanot and Yeshivat Noam, and a flyer was designed and printed, which Friedman hung in a few local establishments. Most effective for the committee was the TeaneckShuls email group, which allowed them to send out information to a large number of Bergen County residents all at once and attract potential bakers and supporters.
Meira Wagner, also a sophomore at Ma’ayanot, was one of the committee members and helped build up a group of bakers for the sale. “Seeing the community help out was really inspiring,” said Wagner. She created an email address to get in touch with those who were interested in baking, and helped over 30 local residents contribute delicacies to the bake sale. Of the overall experience, Wagner said, “It’s insane that so many people share my passion to help Israel. It really opened my eyes to the love Jews have for our homeland.”
While Shomrei Torah was not officially affiliated with the bake sale, Rebbetzin Shevi Yudin of the shul helped Ora out with some of the sale’s logistics and even donated a few baked goods of her own. “I just came back from Israel,” said Rebbetzin Yudin. “I know the need… So many people in Eretz Yisrael who are in need for anything we can do to help.” Rebbetzin Yudin helped her plan out the advertising, the Kashrut, and who to call to help, among other logistics. One of Rebbetzin Yudin’s items, a fruit-covered graham cracker Napoleon, was one of the most admired items at the sale. “Every act of chesed… is looked upon in Shamayim as a special help and a special Segulah, and hopefully that will bring peace to Eretz Yisrael.”
The bake sale itself, while originally scheduled to end at 7 p.m., was extended until after 10, allowing people from Shomrei Torah’s minyanim to stop in and participate, even if they didn’t know about the sale beforehand. All of the baked goods for sale—ranging from brownies to chocolate chip cookies, and from mousse pies to biscotti, and even store-made goods donated by Zadie’s Kosher Bake Shop and Ma’adan—were sold out.
Friedman’s mother, Marya Friedman, had high praise for her daughter’s endeavor. “I am so proud of my amazing daughter, Ora, who had this idea to have a bake sale for Israel, and made it happen, despite a number of setbacks. Like the name of the organization, OneFamily, where the proceeds are going, Ora and her committee members along with bakers… were like One Family. The idea of helping Israel brought everyone together.”
“I feel really good that we raised over double our goal of $500 and I know it’s going for such a good cause,” Ora Friedman said as the sale wound down. She thanked her parents, Rebbetzin Yudin, and the committee members and volunteers for all their help, and said her advice to other teenagers would be “If you have an idea, it’s important to do it… It’s so important to actually try to put your idea into action.”
By Oren Oppenheim