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Hundreds aid community during ‘Week of Kindness’
by Adrienne Clark, Tha Daily Targum

With the holiday season just around the corner, the Les Turchin Chabad House hosted their 15th annual Week of Kindness Community Service Marathon, which came to a close Wednesday with a celebration featuring an “Iron Chef-style cook-off” for those who had participated in the week’s events.

Livingston College junior Uri Kapilovich and Rutgers College senior Marina Pekelis co-directed the week’s various community service events, in which nearly 225 students participated.

“We packed up menorahs to send to troops in Iraq so they can enjoy the holidays just like we can here,” Kapilovich said. “That’s what this week is about: It’s about doing good deeds.”

Participants also visited nursing home residents, did Jewish arts and crafts with special needs teens, and collected funds for various families in need in the local community and abroad in Israel, Chabad House Rabbi Baruch Goodman said.

The Week of Kindness Community Service Marathon, which was originally a Day of Kindness, was remodeled on the Dance Marathon premise, Goodman said.

“This is all based on the concept from the Torah that the world was built for the purpose of kindness and that the Messiah, Hebrew Mosiach, will come when enough kindness is in the world,” Goodmn said. “We’re doing our little share right here at Rutgers University to help speed up Mosiach’s arrival.”

School of Arts and Sciences sophomores Deb Chipkin and Audra Leimberg said they enjoyed giving out toys to sick children with Toys for Tots.

“It felt rewarding,” Chipkin said. “When you left, you felt like you helped a little bit.”

Both Leimberg and Chipkin said they would continue to help out with Chabad community service events in the future.

“You don’t like to see sick 6-year-old boys, but just giving them a stuffed animal, it really made a difference,” Leimberg said. “We would have done more if we could.”

Goodman said he was impressed by the dedication of the student volunteers.

“Students’ sacrifice their time — from homework, studying time, social time — to do this outreaching work and community service is truly inspiring,” Goodman said.

Adam Goldberg, the vice president of Chabad House who also helped organize event, said he thinks everyone participating learned a lot from the week’s events.

“I think the kids, participants and observers alike learned an important lesson in life to give back to a community that gives them so much,” said Goldberg, a Rutgers College junior. “That’s what Chabad is about, doing good deeds.”

Goldberg said a good deed or the act of doing a good deed is referred to as a Mitzvoh. “Each year, students step up to the plate and assume leadership of the program,” Goodman said. “It’s great to see young people contribute to the community while in college, especially the self-sacrificing efforts of the co-directors, Uri and Marina, [who were] courageous leaders of this year’s marathon.”



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