Gross Schechter Raises Thousands for Federation's Israel Campaign

Tags: Federation, Israel

  • Share This Story

Gross Schechter Day School middle school students present a $4,471.25 check raised from their Keep Israel in Your Heart and on Your Sleeve fundraiser for the Jewish Federation of Cleveland’s Israel Emergency Campaign on Dec. 3 at the Federation’s offices in Beachwood. CJN Photo / Abigail Preiszig


Article reprinted with permission from Cleveland Jewish News

Gross Schechter Day School in Pepper Pike presented the Jewish Federation of Cleveland with a $4,471.25 check for its Israel Emergency Campaign on Dec. 3.

Over 15 middle schoolers in grades five through eight presented the check to Beth Wain Brandon, Federation general campaign chair, and volunteers partaking in a day of outreach encouraging the community to donate to the 2024 Campaign for Jewish Needs and Israel Emergency Campaign at the Federation’s Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Building in Beachwood.

“This is absolutely unbelievable,” Brandon said to the students. “… This is so incredibly generous, and it will go to so many people and provide so much humanitarian need for people who are really suffering right now in Israel.”

The middle schoolers designed and sold apparel with four unique logos in support of Israel. Over 120 individuals from Gross Schechter and the Cleveland Jewish community purchased 240 items, according to a news release.

The effort was guided by Lauren Henkin, middle school coordinator, who helps the students identify their leadership and advocacy roles and guides them in implementing a plan, Head of School Ginny Galili told the Cleveland Jewish News.

“Especially middle school students are often engaged in this kind of activity where they’re taking the lead and saying, ‘Here’s a cause, here’s a need we want to try to help meet,’ and I think it’s exemplary not only of who they are today, but who they’re going be as adults,” Galili said. “It gives us a lot of pride and hope that the future is in good hands.”

The Federation serves as a role model of tikkun olam, or the Jewish obligation to repair the world, the students said as a group.

Middle school students have fulfilled this obligation through its tikkun olam program, supported by the Federation’s Saltzman Youth Panel grants, through which they have toured the Federation’s partner agencies, delivered Chanukah packages to homebound Holocaust survivors, put flags on veterans’ headstones at Mount Olive Cemetery in Solon, and donated to Ukrainian and Bellefaire needs, students said.

“All of these projects have brought us closer to the Jewish communities near and far, which is why as soon as we learned about the tragedies of Oct. 7, we wanted to do something,” fifth-grader Caleb Catino told the Federation.

On Oct. 9, students met with Henkin to determine how to “help and heal the Jewish community in Israel and also in Cleveland,” the students said, and began their Keep Israel in Your Heart and on Your Sleeve fundraiser.

On Oct. 12, students secured a local screenprinting partner, HMA Promotions in Shaker Heights, that donated the labor to print T-shirts, long-sleeve shirts, crew necks and hoodies in toddler through adult sizes, the students said.

The apparel sold out by Oct. 19, tasking students with selling a second order, available while supplies last. The clothing costs between $19 and $45. For more information, visit bit.ly/41fvwyo.

Students ended their visit with a prayer for Israel and sang “Hatikvah.”

The 2024 Campaign for Jewish Needs is on pace to exceed last year’s $34.9 million, Brandon told the CJN. For more information, visit bit.ly/418z5Gs.

Separately, the Federation’s Israel Emergency Campaign has raised over $33 million thus far, she said. For more information, visit bit.ly/46J0joc.

Learn More: Federation, Israel