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Bnei Akiva: Touch People with Kindness instead of Touching iPod

Bnei Akiva tears youth away from iPods with “International Kindness Day” to raise cash for the needy – from Christchurch to California and Israel.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 3/8/2011, 11:00 AM / Last Update: 3/8/2011, 12:16 PM

Israel news photo

Bnei Akiva broke the “Plasma generation” away from their iPods by launching its first-ever “International Kindness Day” this week to raise money for the needy – from Christchurch, New Zealand, to California and Israel.

The International Day of Chesed (kindness) on Sunday united thousands of Bnei Akiva members throughout the world “to express our belief that the world is built on chesed,” the worldwide national religious movement said.

“The younger generation is too busy with technology instead of their emotions. Instead of touching people, they touch iPods,” said Ze’ev Schwartz, Secretary General of World Bnei Akiva

In Holland, Bnei Akiva youth took over Amsterdam’s only kosher coffee house and donated all proceeds for sick children.

Competitions in Mexico helped bring in money for 250 Canterbury, New Zealand Hebrew Congregation members, some of whom lost their homes in last month’s deadly earthquake. The synagogue building suffered structural damage and remains closed.

Bnei Akiva branches throughout Israel collected food for the needy, while their counterparts in Teaneck, New Jersey distributed food to local hospitals.

The national religious youth organization suggested other projects that can be launched for community help this month – holding Purim parties in hospitals, orphanages, women’s shelters and homes for the disabled and inviting underprivileged children and the chronically ill to Purim parties; collecting and distributing items for the needy; cleaning and repairing damaged cemeteries; and painting and cleaning old age homes and homes for the disabled.

Bnei Akiva also suggests that professionals volunteer to offer dental care, psychological treatment and legal advice.