" The turning point in my life was coming to RZJHS because that was when I became a leader. I was empowered by my teachers and I learned how to be a good student. I developed a good work ethic, I took initiative, and I got to shape a lot of things that are still in existence at RZJHS today. I definitely wouldn’t trade my unique experience for anything."
By HIAS Chicago
Students at Chicagoland Jewish High School in Deerfield sold candy and food baskets, cleaned houses and washed cars to raise $8,500 to help new immigrants through HIAS Chicago.
“We are moved and honored to be chosen by CJHS as their community service recipient,” said Jodi Doane, executive director of HIAS Chicago. “I am impressed by the students’ hard work, their dedication to the community, and their sense of caring for people newly arrived in this county.”
Each year, CJHS’s Youth Philanthropy Initiative (YPI) chooses a theme in conjunction with its Tikkun Olam project (Tikkun Olam is Hebrew for “repairing the world). This past year, its Tikkun Olam committee chose immigration. Through creative fundraisers and the support of the community, CJHS was able to raise $8500 for HIAS Chicago to continue to assist new immigrants to the area.
“I am proud of our students for their choice of HIAS Chicago as this year’s recipient since, historically speaking, HIAS Chicago has served so many of our families and continues to support other immigrants,” said CJHS Rabbi Marc Belgrad. “I am equally proud of them for their work in engaging our school community towards raising a considerable amount of money to support the important work that HIAS Chicago does.
The students sold Mishloach Manot (food baskets) at Purim, cleaned houses for Passover, sold candy in the afternoon on Wednesdays, and created a “March Madness” basketball championship bracket, said Dana Levin, a member of the YPI.
“But CJHS did not just fundraise for HIAS,” Levin said. Through speakers, weekend learning retreats, and discussions with our district representatives, the CJHS student body has become more cognizant, educated, and caring regarding the issues surrounding immigration today. After all, we were all once immigrants.”
The students recently presented a ceremonial check to HIAS Chicago at a very moving ceremony at the school.
“I really can’t convey all the appreciation and gratitude from the HIAS Chicago team for CJHS’s generosity,” Doane said. “The funds will allow us to help more families reunite here in the US and help more immigrants on their path to becoming citizens.”
For more than 100 years, HIAS Chicago has served those in need of assistance, helping Jewish people and others from all over the world come to America. HIAS (Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society) Chicago is a leader among agencies in our community assisting people through the immigration process, resettling them in a new country, and getting on and staying on the path to U.S. citizenship.
For more information, visit http://hiaschicago.org