The lights of a menorah with hundreds of candles would shine almost as bright as the faces of Yavneh Academy’s Helping Hands for the Homeless students as they announced an $18,000 gift to Dallas’ Genesis Women’s Shelter during their recent event on Dec. 12.
“Everyone in our organization worked tirelessly over the past few months making sure our event went off without a hitch,” said junior Dalya Romaner, who serves as HHH co-president with junior Adam Steinbrecher.
“Our goal was to have a great event and raise a lot of money for Genesis Women’s Shelter, but the event was a lot more than that,” Romaner said. “It really brought people together for a great cause and helped other people become aware of Genesis and how much what they do matters.”
Shelter officials were pleased with the donation.
“We are without words and could not be more appreciative,” Sarah Taylor, Genesis Women’s Shelter’s director of programs, said as the proceeds of the evening were announced. “This gift literally helps us keep the lights on, our doors open and allows us to provide safety and shelter in a warm community for so many.”
Genesis provides battered women and their children free shelter, safety, counseling and expert services. Those include a 24-hour hotline, emergency shelter, transitional housing, counseling, day care, play therapy for children, an on-site school, case management, parenting classes, legal services, job readiness classes and domestic violence education.
“In so many ways, our society glamorizes abuse, and to hear these students say loud and clear that ‘this is not OK’ makes them so wise beyond their years,” Taylor said.
Other HHH members are freshman Amitai Abouzaglo, junior Shanee Abouzaglo, junior Sarah Barnett, sophomore Hadas Cohen, freshman Ronit Dickter, junior Michelle Friedstadt, junior Itai Guttman, sophomore Ori Guttman, freshman Raquel Henkin, sophomore Austin Jacoby, junior Sam Kleinman, junior Gary Levine, freshman Risa Mond, freshman Jonathan Ochstein, sophomore Grant Prengler, freshman Adina Romaner, junior David Rudomin, freshman Miranda Rudomin, junior Osher Saboni, freshman Gaby Schultz, freshman David Steinbrecher and junior Dania Tanur.
The evening’s success, students said, was possible in large part to the help of Yavneh mother Janyce Steinbrecher and many who donated items for the raffle and catering for the dinner.
HHH was started in 2010 by senior Rachel Goodman and 2012 graduate Gabby Steinbrecher. The organization’s members have in the last three years also supported Family Gateway, Jonathan’s Place and numerous other agencies, with students serving meals, spending time with children and families, and raising more than $40,000.
Adam Steinbrecher spoke for the students when he said, “I’m very lucky not to have known any of life’s true adversities and so I feel it is important to help others in need. My Jewish education, at Akiba and Yavneh academies and through my parents, has taught me always to help those in need. I hope our donation will help provide structure, order and hope for the women and children Genesis Women’s Shelter provides for.”
Rabbi Meir Tannenbaum, Yavneh assistant principal for Judaic curriculum, lit the menorah at the fifth-night-of-Chanukah event and said, “While there is much darkness in the world, it takes just one flame to light a spark of beauty. Every single good deed we do lights up the world around us.”
— Submitted by Deb Silverthorn, Yavneh communications director