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Alumni Spotlight | Danielle Zelin | Tsedek

My name is Danielle Zelin. I was part of Livnot Summer 2014.

Dani Zellin TsedekThis past year, I started the US branch of Tsedek (www.tsedek.org), an organization in Israel that helps Jewish children who have come from less fortunate family situations than us. These children are either orphans, are living in poverty, or have unsafe family lives and were thankfully taken out of their homes by the government. Tsedek offers a safe and nurturing environment for these children and provides hot meals, mentorship, tutoring, as well as an array of value and growth oriented programming such as art, sports, and music lessons, technology immersion and training, college preparation and scholarships, Bar and Bat Mitzvah programming, an amazing world-traveling youth choir, and so much more.

I, along with my co-director Marina, now run all of Tsedek’s US initiatives, including planning many exciting fundraising events, initiatives, programs and overall doing anything in our power to raise money to support Tsedek’s programming in Israel that make life changing impacts on these children’s lives.

This has been the most fulfilling, inspiring, and challenging experience of my life. I finally feel like I have the opportunity to directly help the future of the Jewish people. However, if you would have told me this during the summer of 2014, I would have said that is simply too good to be true.

I was in Israel, desperately trying to figure out the career path that was right for me before it was too late – and would have to succumb to my fate of corporate America upon returning to the US. It was through Livnot’s extremely thought provoking and inspiring kabbalistic teachings, paired with invigorating hikes through the beautiful mountains that surround the mystical Tzvat, that ultimately gave me the clarity to know what career path I should take.

I am so grateful for my Livnot experience, both external and internal. I externally had the opportunity to experience even more of Israel’s beauty, with a group of super cool, open-minded, and personal growth oriented chevre. Internally, I experienced the true meaning of what Gd said to our forefather Abraham many years ago -Lech Lecha, which translates to either/all of the following: go for yourself, go from yourself, and go to yourself. I decided to go to Livnot from a place within myself, solely for myself (despite my parents who were freaking out about the war breaking out in Israel), which ultimately resulted in me going to my true self and gaining that understanding I needed to figure out my next steps in life. Dani Zellin TsedekI am now so grateful for this current opportunity to directly help build the future of the Jewish people – it’s children. I have since been back to Israel and traveled to Tsedek’s 17 centers, meeting and working hands on with the inspiring Tsedek children – who have truly become my role models. I would absolutely love for all of you to meet these amazing Tsedek children and see first hand the monumental differences Tsedek’s programming has had on their lives. Eleven of the Tsedek children will actually be in New York in April as part of Tsedek’s 2016 youth choir tour. I will pass along tour date information as it nears closer! In the meantime, we have a few more dates available to schedule performance events for the children. If any of you are connected with warm Jewish communities in the New York area that you think would be a good place for the Tsedek children to perform, definitely let me know! You can contact me anytime at tsedek@ra-yon.com.  They are such talented and special kids, and we are doing everything we can to give them the best experience possible during their tour – they truly deserve it. (Special shoutout to the wonderful Neiberg family, who have so kindly opened up their home to host the Tsedek youth choir during their tour in April!!) I wish for us all that we continue to take the clarity we felt during our Livnot experiences, and incorporate it into all of our amazing, world-changing future endeavors to come! Hope to see you all soon 🙂  

Shayna
Shayna Rehberg
shayna@livnot.org

Shayna Rehberg straddles the Gen X/Millennial divide in Tzfat with her four unique and creative children as an ‘unlabeled’ Jew. In all her spare time she also enjoys music, photography, blogging, collecting knives and teacups, swapping stories, and shopping in the shuk.