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Ma’ayanot mounts musical

Ma’ayanot students are putting on the Ritz for their own “High School Musical,” with a distinctively feminine twist: Their production, called Heartbeats, is a showcase of art, song, and dance exclusively by women for women.

The student-run production, which will take place on May 26, aims to raise money for Shalva, an organization in Israel that aids developmentally disabled children.

Heartbeats is a way for students to showcase their talents and present an arts festival to the community, said Rebecca Schenker, a senior at the Teaneck girls school who is co-chairing the event with her classmates Talia Pruzansky, Micolette Levine, and Nikki Sadek.

Nearly half of the school’s 230 students are involved in the show, either as performers or behind the scenes, Talia said, adding, “The whole school comes together to work on this. It’s a great unifying experience.”

The now annual production began as the brainchild of three students in 2008. That year, the Heartbeats fund-raiser collected $5,000 for Sharsheret, which helps Jewish women afflicted with cancer. Last year, the event raised $9,000 for Miklat, an organization in Israel that aids abused women. Organizers this year are optimistic that they will draw a larger crowd and raise even more money for their cause.

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From left are Ma’aynot students Micolette Levine, Talia Pruzansky, Rebecca Schenker, and Nikki Sadek. They will perform in a fund-raiser for an Israeli organization for developmentally disabled children.

Rebecca said she was impressed when she recently visited one of Shalva’s facilities in Israel and hopes that the fund-raiser will help spread the word about the organization’s good work.

“The building is filled with many different colors, making it a very fun, upbeat place to be,” Rebecca said. “I watched the children in different age groups in their activities and they were having so much fun while learning. They have different therapy rooms with the newest technology, a swimming pool, and a music room. During their weekly sleepovers, they learn how to fold their clothing and make their lunches, basic life skills, and just overall have a great time while giving the parents a break and some time to focus on their other children.”

Ma’ayanot Principal Rookie Billet said she’s proud of her students for taking the initiative and launching a project that gives back to the community while allowing young women an outlet for their talents. “They perform musical numbers in Hebrew and English with carefully chosen soulful lyrics that emphasize support and connection,” she said. They choreograph their own original dances, she added, and use “technological media to highlight lyrics on a screen accompanied by photos and graphics. Heartbeats is an incredible opportunity for our students to take an original idea and fly with it. We are so proud of the program and we hope to sell out the Ma’ayanot ‘Playhouse.’”

Talia first became involved in Heartbeats two years ago, when organizers asked her to choreograph and perform a dance for the show. She has been involved in the project every year since. “It is so great,” she said. “I love dancing. There isn’t anything else in our school to showcase dancing. This is the one opportunity to really use your talents. We practice all the time. This is the first time I’ve been able to dance in front of a crowd. I don’t think I’ll have the chance again after this because it’s all for women, so I really appreciate this.

“This is a huge group effort,” she noted. “The whole school comes together for this. We all work really hard on this.”

Micolette oversees the musical numbers and also sings in the show. Nikki supervises the set and artistic aspects of the program.

Rebecca, who manages the business end of the event, said, “Although everyone has their specialty, we all put our individual talents together to create an incredible production while raising the most money that we can for Shalva.”

“The show is amazing,” she added. It gets better every year. It’s a great way for the girls to show their talents. This is our only school production that is from start to finish totally run and performed by students. It’s every girls’ chance to shine.”

For more information and tickets, e-mail .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

 
 

Local teen creates volunteer database

If a 19-year-old man could organize students in four countries to devote a day to wearing pink and raising money for a cancer support organization, there is seemingly no limit to what other good works he might inspire.

“My nature is to think big,” said Tzvi Solomon, whose Pink Day fund-raiser in February ultimately involved thousands of kids from 50 schools in the United States, Israel, Canada, and England on behalf of Sharsheret, the organization based in his hometown of Teaneck offering services for young Jewish women with breast cancer.

“I realized there are many kids who are just waiting to eat up volunteer opportunities but don’t know where they exist,” he said. So Solomon decided to build a Jewish Volunteer Database for high school and college students. The 2009 graduate of the Torah Academy of Bergen County got the project off the ground last month, while finishing a year of study at Yeshivat Lev HaTorah in Israel.

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Tzvi Solomon has organized a Jewish volunteer database for high school and college students.

“The way it works is that we have teenagers and college kids from all over the world — from Teaneck to Toronto to Jerusalem to Memphis — who are in charge of finding and posting volunteer opportunities for their specific areas. As of now, we have 17 representatives and many requests from people to be their area’s representative.”

In its first four weeks, the database — for now on Facebook, but eventually to have its own site — attracted 317 members. Though most are in the target age range and come from Orthodox communities, Solomon welcomes those from other streams and older members too, such as a 37-year-old woman from Houston who made contact witih him.

Local residents listed as leaders on the database include Nachi Farkas, a TABC senior who will be representing the Queens College campus; Eitan Bardash and Noam Safier, who co-represent the Teaneck area; and Tali Moss, a student at Teaneck’s Ma’ayanot Yeshiva High School for Girls, who represents Highland Park.

“I learned through Pink Day that when kids can say, ‘That was my project’ and feel good about it, they are bound to do more of it,” said the enterprising son of Yosepha and
Yitzy Solomon. “By having representatives in each community or campus, they are making it their own and I know they will do a good job because it’s theirs.”

A secondary purpose of the frequently updated database, he said, is providing member students with contacts for Shabbat home hospitality when they are away from home.

Solomon is planning to begin college at Yeshiva University in the fall, but stressed that he will not be the Jewish Volunteer Database representative on that campus. “I think kids need to have their own piece of the cake,” he said. “I’m a big fan of spreading the wealth and getting everyone involved.”

Pink Day, the event that provided the motivation for his newest venture, originated at TABC, a boys high school. Learning specialist and admissions director Donna Hoenig, a supporter of Sharsheret, stirred up enthusiasm for the cause. “I realized the importance of the organization through her,” said Solomon.

“Tzvi demonstrated unusual initiative and drive that far exceeded the goals and expectations that I set for any project,” Hoenig commented. Aside from assisting with Pink Day, Solomon was on hand for the high school’s annual open house and visitation days for prospective students and delivered the student keynote address for Holocaust Memorial Day, she said.

Solomon contemplates a future career in private equity and venture capital. “I want adults to see that kids really can pull something together,” he said. “I always like to quote Helen Keller: ‘Alone we can do little; together we can do so much.’ It’s all about getting more and more people involved — that will ultimately do the most good in the world.”

 
 

Komen Race for the Cure to be run in Israel

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From left, Hadassah President Nancy Falchuk, Susan G. Komen lay leader Hadassah Lieberman, and Komen CEO Nancy Brinker speak with Jerusalem Mayor Nir Birkat at a press conference in Washington on April 28. Courtesy of Susan G. Komen for the Cure

The world’s largest breast cancer organization, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, is partnering with Jerusalem, Hadassah: The Women’s Zionist Organization of America, health advocates, and scientists for a week of breast cancer-related events.

The Komen organization is launching the Israel Breast Cancer Collaborative, a partnership with nongovernmental organizations in Israel, to enhance advocacy, awareness, screening, and treatment of breast cancer in Israel during the week of Oct. 25 to 29.

A series of events will include a think tank on breast cancer, a mission to Israel, and Komen’s famed Race for the Cure, which will be held just outside Jerusalem’s Old City.

While not an overtly Jewish charity, Komen has deep Jewish roots. Nancy Brinker started the organization in 1982 after her sister, Susan Komen, died of breast cancer. Brinker is Jewish, as was Komen.

Susan G. Komen for the Cure has invested more than $27 million in funding for international breast cancer research and more than $17 million in international community education and outreach programs. Komen has partnered or funded programs in more than 50 countries.

While most of the money raised by Komen goes to general breast cancer causes, the organization has given $2 million for research in Israel through the Weizmann Institute of Science, Hebrew University-Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem, Beit Natan, and Life’s Door. In the United States it has ties to Hadassah, Sharsheret, and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee.

This will be the first time, however, that Komen has held the 5K Race for the Cure in Israel.

“This is exciting. For me it is very exciting,” said Hadassah Lieberman, who joined Komen as its global ambassador several years ago when the organization ran its first international race in Sao Paolo, Brazil. The race has since been held in countries such as Germany, Italy, and Egypt.

“We have been thinking about Jerusalem for a while,” said Lieberman, the wife of Connecticut U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman. “It has been one of the places where these things take a while to coordinate.”

According to Komen officials, breast cancer is the most common form of women’s cancer in Israel, accounting for nearly 30 percent of new cancer cases in the country. About 4,000 people are diagnosed with breast cancer in Israel each year.

In bringing the race to Israel, Susan G. Komen for the Cure hopes to spark new collaborations with organizations such as the Israel Cancer Association and to raise awareness of breast cancer in Israel.

“Susan G. Komen for the Cure’s very first international research grant went to Israel 16 years ago, and we have enjoyed longstanding friendships and productive collaborations in Israel ever since,” Brinker said in a statement announcing the Israel project. “The new Israel Breast Cancer Collaborative takes our relationships to the next level — in partnership with the city of Jerusalem, Hadassah, government leaders, advocates, and our global partners — as we work to address the critical issues in breast cancer for the women of Israel and the world.”

This might seem a precarious time for an international fund-raising organization to broaden its ties with Israel, with the country feeling the fallout of the flotilla incident in terms of public opinion, but Lieberman says she does not believe it will be an issue for Komen’s fund-raising.

“Everyone, whether it is Jewish organizations or Christian populations, is really excited about this race because we never have had a chance to do it in Jerusalem,” she said. “It’s very been exciting and positive, particularly at times like this, when you have to understand that this illness has no border and boundary and you understand the cure has no border and boundary.”

Lieberman added, “It is very special to be able to go to the Kotel to put a note in the [Western Wall], and for some of these women to go there and have a prayer for themselves or for their sisters’ or aunts’ health, and spread awareness around Israel.”

JTA

 
 

Sharsheret hopes race will raise awareness

Sharsheret — a Teaneck-based organization that helps those affected by breast cancer — is seeking to raise both funds and awareness by sponsoring a team of local athletes in the Nautica/NYC Triathlon on July 18.

Donations have already eclipsed the organization’s goal, said Ellen Kleinhaus, Sharsheret’s project manager, and have so far surged beyond $41,000. The organization set up Webpages for the team members through which each athlete can broadcast a personal message and donations can be electronically processed.

“I live in Englewood and the community here is extremely generous when it comes to these sorts of things,” Chani Teigman, a member of Team Sharsheret, told The Jewish Standard. “It has not been difficult at all.”

In addition to Teigman, Team Sharsheret includes Cheryl Lasher and Joseph Lerner of Englewood, Gila Leiter of Teaneck, and Linda Gerstel of New York City.

Members of the team came up with various methods to solicit donations. Lerner sent out a mass e-mail message explaining that although one in 345 women in the general public is a carrier of the breast cancer gene known as BRCA, one in 40 Ashkenazi women carries the gene. Furthermore, he noted that carriers have an 80 percent chance of developing breast cancer.

Since its founding in 2001, Sharsheret has responded to more than 19,000 breast cancer inquiries, involved more than 1,000 peer supporters, and presented more than 200 educational programs nationwide.

“Sharsheret is either known to people and high up in their priorities or people appreciate it significantly when they hear the story,” Lerner told the Standard. “Sharsheret’s value reaches beyond people who have breast cancer. It reaches out to people at risk.”

Although this is the first year Sharsheret has sponsored a team in the NYC Triathlon, the organization, through a partnership with Komen for the Cure, has sponsored teams for six years in New York City’s Race 4 the Cure.

Several months ago, a member of Full Throttle Endurance, a high-intensity multi-sport training program run out of Chelsea Peers, contacted the founder of Sharsheret, Rochelle Shoretz, suggesting that Sharsheret participate in the triathlon. Shoretz herself is a survivor of breast cancer.

In addition, the FTE member arranged for the group’s founder, Scott Berlinger, to meet with Team Sharsheret and provide tips for race day, including how to enter the water, techniques for transition, and how to be time-efficient.

Team Sharsheret also met with nutritionist Julie Kramer, who spoke to the team about hydration and proper dieting.

The athletes will swim for one mile in the Hudson, followed by a 25-mile bike ride through the Bronx, and conclude with a 6.2-mile run in Central Park.

Members of the team are primarily responsible for arranging their own physical training.

“This has been a bit of a challenge, having four kids and trying to fit in the full training,” said Leiter, who has been on the medical advisory board of Sharsheret since its inception. “I’m definitely more comfortable doing the medical conferences than the triathlon,” Leiter added half-jokingly.

Despite that, she said, “It’s definitely fun to have a goal and have something worthwhile to strive for. I think I might end up doing another triathlon.”

John Korff, chief organizer of the Nautica/NYC Triathlon, spoke excitedly about Team Sharsheret.

“There’s only one other Jewish charity in the race and they help the victims of terror in Israel by helping to pay for prosthetic body parts,” he said.

Sharsheret struck particularly close to home for Korff, whose mother-in-law died of breast cancer.

“I think this will be great for [Sharsheret],” he said. “They get tons of exposure and can raise a lot of money for a very good cause.”

Korff told the Standard how his event specifically accommodates the 300 or so Orthodox Jews in the race of about 3,000.

“Athletes are supposed to check their bikes in on Saturday, but we let [Orthodox Jews] come Saturday night to drop their bikes off. Most race organizers can’t be bothered, but we can be bothered.”

The NYC Triathlon has had a history of accommodating Orthodox Jews, Korff said. A religious triathlon group named TriChai often participates in local races.

“Welcome to the melting pot of America,” Korff said.

Sharsheret will also sponsor a team in the ING NYC Marathon on Nov. 7.

“We look at the triathlon as a prototype before we expand not only in New Jersey and New York,” Kleinhaus said, “but throughout the country.”

 
 

Sharsheret, 10 years old, expands its outreach efforts

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Members of AEPi sorority at the University of Iowa promote Sharsheret activities on campus. Courtesy Sharsheret

Ten years ago, you wouldn’t hear the word “breast” or “cancer” in certain communities. Now — thanks to organizations like Sharsheret — people of all ages are saying them loudly to raise awareness of an insidious disease.

As we enter Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Sharsheret is using this opportunity not only to ramp up its educational efforts but to assess its growing impact. Founded in 2001 to provide resources and support to young Jewish women with breast cancer, the Teaneck-based organization has begun to share its expertise, says Elana Silber, Sharsheret’s director of operations.

“We’re partnering with Jewish organizations across the country to develop face-to-face support systems on the local level,” she said, noting that the Sharsheret staff now offers guidance to agencies throughout the country.

“We’ve had approximately 15 groups sign on,” said Silber, “from Asheville to Austin, and from Detroit to Fresno.”

In April, Silber attended the April conference of the Association of Jewish Family and Children’s Agencies, offering Sharsharet’s support. Later, the Teaneck group hosted a national webinar for interested agencies.

“We travel to cities across the country and meet with Jewish organizations and community leaders,” she said. “Some ask us for monthly supervision, some for materials, and some want a speaker.”

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Rochelle Shoretz

To meet this need, Sharsheret has produced a support group leaders’ guide and trains partner agencies in developing support groups and creating educational events.

Silber said Sharsheret is also expanding its focus.

“We’re expanding our programs to include families facing ovarian cancer,” she said, noting the close relationship between ovarian and breast cancer. “We sent out an e-mail asking if anyone would be interested in a monthly teleconference [for this] and 23 women have called in already.”

“There’s not much out there for them,” she said. “We’re still a breast cancer organization, but since the two cancers are so closely related, we’re developing programs to address ovarian cancer as well.”

Silber said events such as Breast Cancer Awareness Month provide “a good opportunity to have people take a minute and pay attention, even if they’re not directly affected.”

In addition, she said, citing Sharsheret’s educational mission, the group “balances the commercialism of the pink ribbon” by offering “real education and resources. It’s a good month for us to talk about what is being done in the Jewish community,” she said.

Generally, those seeking Sharsheret’s help are women from 20 to 60, “though a lot of family members, friends, health-care professionals, and community leaders approach us for help and information,” said Silber. She noted that the Sharsheret does not charge for any of its services and is funded by individual donations, family foundations, and grants from organizations.

“Sharsheret was founded in Bergen County and is powered by hundreds of Bergen County volunteers,” said Rochelle Shoretz, founder and executive director of the organization. “We are grateful to have roots in a community of do-ers and activists.”

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Elana Silber

Silber — one of 10 Sharsheret staff members, five full-time, five part-time — said that while the group was formed with the young Jewish woman in mind, “all of our programs are available to all women without regard to race and religion.”

Still, she added, “we’re the only breast cancer organization dedicated specifically to Jewish issues.” For example, the group has helped publicize the existence of the BRCA gene mutation, carried by one in 40 Ashkenazic individuals, including men.

“No matter what denomination you are, if you have Jewish blood, you may be carrying the gene mutation, and it elevates your risk,” she said.

Sharsheret also addresses issues such as “religious rituals during treatment, living in a close-knit community, and spirituality. The High Holy Day season is particularly hard for Jewish women with breast cancer,” Silber said, “since services focus on life and death. When you’re living with this illness, it’s hard to know how to handle this,” both physically and emotionally.

Sharsheret — created by Shoretz in 2001 with a handful of volunteers — “started in her attic and then moved on to offices in Hackensack donated by IDT,” said Silber. In 2005, the group moved to its present location in Teaneck.

“Ten years ago, when I was diagnosed with breast cancer for the first time, there was a void in the Jewish community,” said Shoretz. The organization has since launched nearly a dozen national programs to fill that void. “Now, facing breast cancer a second time, I can truly appreciate the services we offer. The community we created is one of which I am grateful to be a part.”

Citing the group’s major achievements, Silber pointed to the peer support network, developed in 2001; the creation of a medical advisory board; and the sponsorship of more than 21 medical symposia. In addition, said Silber, Sharsheret’s educational resource series now embraces six booklets “very much in demand.”

“Sharsheret has responded to more than 19,000 breast cancer inquiries, involved more than 1,000 peer supporters, and presented more than 200 educational programs nationwide,” she said.

The group does not lobby or do advocacy, though it “jumps in,” Silber said, when information is needed. For example, last year Sharsheret organized a teleconference when the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force announced a proposed change in breast cancer screening guidelines.

“We encourage people to talk to doctors about everything they hear, to stay on top of it,” she said. “But we understand that there are complicated issues” that demand further explanation.

To launch the group’s 10th anniversary celebration, Sharsheret is hosting a major event at a private venue in New York City on Oct. 10 — one of 10 anniversary initiatives planned for the year. The October event will include an exhibit, “Sharsheret, Changing the Face of Breast Cancer,” by photographer Gail Hadani.

According to Silber, the celebration, dubbed the Jewelbilation Gala, will recognize significant gifts, or “Sharsheret jewels.”

Also planned is a “Text for your Next” mobile campaign.

“We’ll ask people to text 10 people, telling them to text Sharsheret, which will then send them regular reminders about checkups,” said Silber. “That was launched at last year’s benefit. We also use a blog, Twitter, and Facebook. We’re finding new ways to reach people.”

To mark its 10th year, Sharsheret will sponsor a 10-member team in the next New York City marathon; work with college students on a “pink day” in February, where students will wear pink and make $10 donations to the organization; and encourage 10 friends to buy Purim cards to benefit the organization.

Silber is particularly proud of the group’s association with AEPi and AEPhi, Jewish college sororities and fraternities, which have become “official partners” with the breast cancer group.

“They’re the next generation of health-care professionals, rabbis, and community leaders,” she said, explaining that members of these fraternities and sororities are “encouraging peers to learn about the issue and study their family history. It’s men as well as women,” she said. “They’ve made a tremendous impact on the college campus.”

“It’s a resource for us and for them as they enter the Jewish community as adults,” she added. The more people recognize Sharsheret’s name, the more likely they are to refer family members and friends with breast cancer to the group for help.

“It’s exciting to think about where Sharsheret will be 10 years from now,” said Shoretz. “We’ve grown in the wake of a difficult economy, and our strategic plan is ambitious. With the dedication of an incredible staff and board, and with the support of thousands of Jewish families across the country, years ‘10 plus’ show real promise for Sharsheret programs and outreach.”

The organization has accomplished a great deal, said Silber, suggesting that Sharsheret’s proudest achievement is “when women who first call us for support call in later to see how they can help others.”

And, she said, “In communities that 10 years ago wouldn’t say the word ‘breast’ or ‘cancer,’ they are now encouraging the use of these words and distributing booklets.”

This includes men who recognize that breast cancer “affects the whole family and that they can also pass down the gene mutation. There’s more recognition,” she said. “It’s less of a taboo.”

“The more information the better,” said Silber. And if that raises more questions?

“We’re prepared for that,” she said.

For more information about Sharsheret, call (201) 833-2341 or visit www.sharsheret.org.

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Team Sharsheret, powered by Sharsheret volunteers, friends, and family members, has grown from 100 members in 2004 to 700 in 2009. The group participates in races, walks, triathlons, and marathons locally and in cities across the country, including Minneapolis, St. Petersburg, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. Courtesy Sharsheret
 
 

Triathlon tribute

A day at the races

_JStandardLocal
Published: 05 August 2011
(tags): sharsheret

Yitzhak Zahavy is not the only one participating in the Nautica NYC Triathlon for a charitable purpose. Sharsheret, a national organization supporting young Jewish women and their families facing breast cancer, is fielding its own team.

A number of local New Jersey residents are part of Team Sharsheret, including Jonathan Blinken, Judah Greenblatt, and Talya Spitzer, all of Englewood; Dr. Mark Levie of Teaneck; and Rebecca Schwartz of Bergenfield. To date, Team Sharsheret athletes have raised more than $50,000 for Sharsheret’s programs.

Team Sharsheret is also recruiting runners to participate in the ING New York City Marathon on Nov. 6. E-mail .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

 
 

Think (Sharsheret) pink

A color-coded way of making a difference

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Over 150 students and faculty at Torah Academy of Bergen County donated at least $5 to Sharsheret’s breast cancer campaign in order to be included in this photograph, taken on Wednesday. Over $2,000 was raised, in memory of Mrs. Toby Mayer, the mother of TABC junior Jared Mayer. Courtesy TABC

It did not cost a dime to participate in the third annual Sharsheret Pink Day Around the World. Jewish students in four countries on Wednesday raised awareness for the Teaneck-based national breast cancer support organization (sharsheret.org) simply by wearing pink to school. If they generated donations, too — Torah Academy of Bergen County (TABC) alone raised $2,000 on Wednesday — that is icing on the cake.

And here is another unusual aspect of this volunteer effort: The driving force behind the annual event is an Orthodox college student, Tzvi Solomon.

Solomon was a freshman six years ago at TABC when admissions director Donna Hoenig launched “Do Real Men Wear Pink?” at the yeshivah high school in support of Sharsheret. He was one of a handful who showed up in pink on the designated day. Hoenig tried again the next year, and the next.

“By the time I graduated, the entire school, including the faculty, was wearing pink on Sharsheret Pink Day,” says Solomon. The boys also raised funds for the organization by charging $5 a head to be included in a group portrait.

“It was not easy to do in a boys high school, yet even today TABC raises the most money of any school,” says Solomon, now a junior at Yeshiva University. Whether it remains so this year awaits the final tally of donations, but it seems likely that the TABC record will hold.

Still, “it was never about the money. It’s about awareness. I find people neglect to get involved in causes because they feel it will cost them money they don’t have. I wanted kids to feel they could just put on a pink shirt one morning and make a difference.”

Inspired by Hoenig, Solomon harnessed the power of social media to turn Pink Day into an international phenomenon in Jewish high schools and post-high school programs in Israel. In cooperation with their administrators, kids come up with creative ways to mark the day, from serving pink snacks to suspending dress codes that normally preclude bright colors. Sharsheret supplies promotional and educational materials.

“I feel, as a 20-year-old, that I want to show people they have the potential to create change and do something positive,” says Solomon, who plans to wear a pink button-down shirt, pink yarmulke and pink socks on Feb. 29. “One of the most amazing aspects of the day is that almost the entire event is student-run and organized.”

Last year, students in about 70 schools in the United States, England, Canada, and Israel participated. Even more signed up this year, as evidenced by the listing on the event’s Facebook page. “We’ve built a network of go-to people. Many of the kids who did it three years ago as seniors in high school did it at school in Israel and now in their college or university.” In fact, students at 29 colleges and universities were participating this year.

Last year at Yeshiva University, Teaneck resident David Bodner served on a Pink Day volunteer committee that sponsored — with the support of the administration and various student groups — a 40-minute cake-decorating contest involving 15 teams of male and female YU college students, 15 sheet cakes, and unlimited frostings and toppings.

Ellen Kleinhaus, program manager and campus liaison for Sharsheret, says the organization encourages all kinds of fun events to raise awareness of its services. Sharsheret (Hebrew for “chain”) offers a community of support to young Jewish women diagnosed with breast cancer or at increased genetic risk — and their families — through networks of peers, health professionals, and related resources.

“We’re so grateful to Tzvi for helping us publicize Pink Day,” says Kleinhaus. “He’s a perfect example of how we’re engaging the next generation. We just want to encourage them to make a difference creatively, to do something fun and utilize social media to educate everybody around them.”

Kleinhaus says other groups have done events such as Pink Shabbat and Manicure for Sharsheret. “TABC was the first school to designate a day to wear pink. Now some schools make their own pink shirts as Sharsheret Pink Day is growing.”

Solomon, who also recently began collecting nearly expired packaged foods from a local manufacturer to distribute at local food pantries and shelters, and to American troops abroad, uses Pink Day as an example of what can be done with little more than access to the Internet.

“It’s a shame that, as Jews, we so often look at a pink ribbon and the first thing that comes to mind is not Sharsheret,” he says. “I want to get into the most obvious and random places to make Sharsheret a household name.”

 
 
 
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