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Building Communities Based On The Joy Of Giving 

Kedma* Newsletter April 2019, Nissan 5779

*Kedma is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. 
Medical clowning with Kedma. 
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Director’s Corner: From the Desk of Orit Seif

Giving of oneself is a central tenet in Judaism and is featured prominently in the holidays that fall during this time of year. Both Purim and Pesach focus on the notion of caring for others who are less fortunate through the mitzvot of matanot la evyonim and maot chitin (gifts for the poor). The Seder reinforces this idea in Ha Lachma Anya at the beginning of the recitation of the Haggadah, by mandating that in addition to giving charity, we invite the poor into our homes. At the Seder, matza - poor man’s bread - is the ultimate equalizer and, therefore, our seders must be accessible to all. The Seder teaches that we are all part of the same community: a people emerging from slavery who are awaiting the redemption. The lessons of Purim and Pesach teach that this community is based on the inclusion of others and giving of ourselves. 

It is, therefore, fitting that we introduce two upcoming Kedma programs centered around the “Joy of Giving” during the period between Purim and Pesach. Since it’s inception over twenty two years ago, Kedma has connected gap year students with a myriad of chesed opportunities by running bone-marrow drives, training medical clowns, and visiting battered women’s shelters, to name a few. The Kedma Volunteer Program and the Kedma Cohorts Program are geared at expanding students’ horizons and granting them ways to find volunteer opportunities that speak to their individual talents. 

The Kedma Volunteer Program (KVP) will launch its pilot program in September 2019, by partnering with four seminaries in its inaugural year: Midreshet Moriah, Midreshet Torah V’Avodah, Eshel, and Ba’er Miriam. By joining the KVP, these seminaries are ensuring that their students will choose from multiple chesed tracks with volunteer opportunities throughout Jerusalem. In addition to volunteering with the elderly or working with underprivileged Israeli youth, KVP is also introducing a service learning track — three programs that involve year-long training in a specific skill. Students will choose to give back by participating in Hatzalah courses, medical clowning workshops, or sign language classes and working with deaf children. 

The Kedma Cohorts Program will also launch its first Cohorts class this coming September — an opportunity that will be available to all seminaries. The Cohorts Program is intended for women whose interest in volunteerism rises beyond the weekly chesed time given by most seminaries. These students are looking for additional and more novel ways to give back. The members of the Kedma Cohorts will take trips and be a part of programs that aren’t included in the typical gap-year curriculum. These experiences will allow for a greater knowledge of volunteerism and increased integration within Israeli society, as well as the opportunity to get to know students from different seminaries who share the passion to give back. 

Please join us as Kedma leads a revolution in volunteerism by partnering with gap-year seminaries and organizations throughout Jerusalem. Sponsorship and program-naming opportunities are available for both the Kedma Volunteer Program and the Kedma Cohorts Program. For more information, please press  the button below. 

Best wishes for a Chag Kasher Ve Sameach,

For More Information
Kedma students cheek swab with the Gift of Life as part of a bone marrow drive. 
Sharfmans taking the stage at the Kedma-YU Interseminary Choir Competition in January 2019. 
Choir competition audience (numbering at over 1500 women) spontaneously sing together at the end of the evening. 

Yifat Adler - Special Programs Manager

The highly anticipated annual inter-seminary choir competition is a highlight of every seminary girl’s year. The girls spend endless hours preparing songs, choreography, costumes for the evening, in addition to raising money for that year’s designated tzedaka organization. This year I had the privilege of working behind the scenes and was able to see what makes this special evening possible.  

Each participating seminary has a few choir members responsible for the logistical aspects related to the competition. My involvement required me to work closely with these choirs heads. It was inspiring to see the dedication and care they put into preparing their choir’s performance. One story that stands out is when we were looking for someone to give a dvar torah as part of the evening program, Leah Weiss, MMY choir head, agreed to give over some words of Torah related to this years theme without a second’s hesitation. The constant positivity and hakarat hatov expressed leading up to the evening was incredible.  

I was not expecting to feel as enthusiastic about the competition as I was, as just a mere staff member, but the excitement was contagious.The girls had amazing ruach throughout the whole evening, singing songs, cheering and even sitting down for a tisch while they waited for the doors to open. Watching each seminaries performances was magical. I was truly impressed by each school’s choir, especially those that included their extended “family,” for example Midreshet Lindenbaum included girls from the Darkenu program and Midreshet Torah v’Chessed included the Bet Elazaki children they work with, in their respective choirs. It really was an all inclusive event, the achdut was visible. At the end of the night, choir heads from all participating seminaries came together on stage to sing One Day by Matisyahu, which lead to the crowd joining in and singing along with them. It really was an night filled with Shira and Achva.

Seminary students spontaneously start a tisch as they wait for the doors to open at the Choir Competition.
Kedma student swabbing for Gift of Life. 
Kedma students’ medical clowning bringing joy to hospital patients. 
Kedma students’ medical clowning bringing joy to patients. 
To learn more about Kedma’s work over the past 23 years, please watch this short video.

Rabbi Maury Kelman - Founder and Chairman
Orit Seif - Director
Ariella Barker - Social Media Manager
Yifat Adler and Merav Barach - Special Projects Manager​s
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Kedma is also on the approved list of organizations recognized by the Jewish Communal Fund, so those with an account, can donate through the JCF.
Copyright © *2019* *KEDMA*, All rights reserved.

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