28 January 2010

Deep Roots: Walden & Hoops 4 Israel

If you were part of a pick-up basketball game at Camp Walden during the years of 1994 to 2009 there is a strong likelihood that you have contributed to Hoops 4 Israel based on the tight network that has stemmed from love of the game out of Palmer Rapids, Ontario. For the past 4 years, Sol Birenbaum and Howie Grosinger, have been long-standing sponsors and supporters of this charitable initiative. "The friendships that we made and lessons that we developed to sports were fostered at Walden and amazingly translated into philanthropy for the Toronto Jewish community and Israel, years after our Walden days" remarks Daniel Winberg (2010 H4I Team Management Chair).

Walden Inter-Camp Bball team (1998) - H4I volunteers make up the core of this roster

Sol Birenbaum, Walden Director and part-owner, has been actively fostering his Walden alumni network since his tenure with the camp began in 2003. Upon developing tremendous relationships with some of these staff, he noted the synergy amongst some of his most faithful Walden alum and their involvement with the Hoops 4 Israel charitable initiative. As an alumnus of CHAT and an avid-sports fan, Sol has brought H4I into his corporate social responsibility portfolio for the camp. The commonality of helping at-risk youth in Israel and running a summer camp that provides life-long experiences that allow youth to reach their full potential is something that resonates deeply with Sol and Howie. The fact that active Walden alumni can find a connection and provide significant support to the Jewish community in Toronto and Israel makes the partnership that much more meaningful .

Sol Birenbaum, President & CEO of Walden since 2003

The foundation of volunteer and professional support, from left: Daniel Winberg (Past Unit-head / Walden Camper of 10+ years), David Katz (Past Head of Ski / Walden Camper of 10+ years), David Goodman (Past staff member / Camper of 10+ years) and Aaron Collins (Past Unit-head / Leadership team member / Alumni Reunion Committee Volunteer / Camper of 10+ years) demonstrate their commitment to Jewish community after years of personal growth at Walden. Several other volunteers of H4I who spent their formative years at Walden include: Michael Binder, Jon Goldfarb, Brandon Pike, Jamie Goodman, Emily Goodman, Rob Trager, Luke Cole, Jamie Collins, Dave Borins, Dave Rotchtin, Mike Gilbert, Aron Brager and Josh Lerner.

Walden has been able to lift the Hoops 4 Israel charitable intiative to amazing fundraising levels, contributing as a corporate team sponsor in 2007 where H4I raised $100,250, 2008: $131,000 and 2009: $98,200. Walden has committed to be a team sponsor in 2010 to further solidify this partnership. As cliche a basketball term as we can find is only fitting to describe the Hoops 4 Israel partnership with Walden...a Slam Dunk!

27 January 2010

Birthright Visits Bat Yam in January 2010!

Visiting Bat Yam and Kiryat Moshe has become a staple of Canada Israel Experience - Taglit-Birthright Israel trips over the past 3 years. The engine that drives this partnership is of course fueled by Laura Kindler & Leah Biteolin, two outstanding individuals who have facilitated over 30 volunteer projects with BRI trips. On January 25th, 42 Canadian participants teamed up with at-risk youth of Bat Yam to create gift-packages for soldiers, paint murals to decorate the school, and taught basketball skills to the youngsters who were grateful to share the afternoon with such spirited Taglit participants.

Kindler & Biteolin describing the background of Ethiopian-Israeli youth

The participants visit to Bat Yam was an nice lift of for the students of the Akiva after-school program, as the BRI participants taught them english words, affirmed the importance of tikkun olam and doing volunteer service, and gave the children a sense of importance and purpose in making a special visit to spend time with them in Israel as Diaspora Jews.

Leah cutting cake for a student's birthday

Dave Goodman in a photo opp with some of the at-risk youth in the after school program

One unique aspect of these Akiva after-school programs - also known as 'Youth Futures' - a dynamic program supported by Hoops 4 Israel in Bat Yam since 2008. A tailored intervention that helps at-risk youth achieve personal and scholastic success and become productive members of society. Below shows a boy who receives additional food from the supplemental assistance that this program provides.

A Taglit-Birthright Israel participant really takes to the youth on Jan 25

Birthright volunteers teach the youth basketball skills and use some of the donated
Wilson Sports equipment brought down by them on their flight to Israel

A professional soccer coach is subsidized for training this youth soccer team - providing leadership and purpose to these sports and recreational programs for the at-risk youth

Packing gift boxes from IDF soldiers living away from their families

Volunteers involved the children in the mural painting project - a huge success!

On behalf of Hoops 4 Israel & Taglit-Birthright Israel:

THANK YOU > Laura & Leah for coordinating such a fulfilling afternoon of Tikkun Olam activities for us!!

07 January 2010

Hoops 4 Israel Exec Crew 2010

"It's all right to aim high if you have plenty of ammunition" -Hawley R. Everhart

That is how we feel with Hoops 4 Israel, lofty goals on a yearly basis, but plenty of fire power in our volunteers to make it happen. H4I is privileged to have buy-in from some of the most capable and dedicated young volunteers in the Toronto Jewish Community.
Aaron Collins (28), joined the H4I committee in 2007 to help plan and implement its inaugural event. Since then, Aaron has been extremely active in the planning process and took on Gameday operations chair in March 2009. A 2005 Birthright Israel alumnus, Aaron has made a significant impact on the Hoops squad through his years of volunteerism with us, and continues that trend by heading up Gameday ops in 2010 (contact: aaronc@hoops4israel.com)
Daniel Winberg (27), has been part of the H4I faithful, planning and playing in the event since 2007. In 2008, Dan was a top-individual fundraiser and furthered his involvement in the community by Chairing the annual One Family Fund bike-a-thon to support Israeli victims of terror. A Birthright Israel alumnus of 2004, Dan is spearheading the team management division of H4I 2010. To register a team with us, please contact danielw@hoops4israel.com.

Jon Ordon (27), joined H4I in 2009 and made a significant impact in his first year as part of the in-kind sponsorship division, leading H4I to have its largest amount of rewards for top fundraisers and winning teams since our beginning. Jon is heading up this division again in 2010 and is looking for volunteers to help enhance our event by obtaining goods that can be used to reward our amazing volunteer participants. Jon can be reached at jonathano@hoops4israel.com.
Ari Ditkofksy (26), is the newest member of the executive crew of Hoops 4 Israel 2010. Having returned from his Birthright Israel trip in August 2009 and having spent a week with Ethiopian-Israeli youth, Ari is ready to make an impact through Hoops 4 Israel channels in 2010. A player and committee member, Ari brings an innovative and enthusiastic approach to Jewish fundraising that will set a new standard of how fundraising events are conducted in the Toronto scene moving forward. To connect with Ari, please send him an email to arid@hoops4israel.com to ask how you can get involved with his help.
Team Post of Birthright Israel Alumni Community (BAC): Lior Cyngiser (29), Shira Webber (29), Shauna Waltman (29), Dave Goodman (27) have been the staff-arm of Hoops 4 Israel since 2007. H4I is a grassroots initiative that has used the guidance and support of BAC since its inception of planning in 2006. For more information about the plethora of initiatives and programming that BAC executes on a monthly basis, please visit www.bactoronto.com.

Nice Chemistry: Taglit-Birthright Israel & Hoops 4 Israel

Since 2007, Canada Israel Experience, the leading trip organizer of Taglit-Birthright Israel in Canada has partnered with the Jewish Agency of Israel to provide volunteer outlets during the trip where participants could learn about the challenges of Ethiopian Olim (immigrants) in both Kiryat Moshe and Bat Yam. The volunteer projects have been a huge success over the past three years, ranging from painting projects to packing gift packages for Israelis serving the IDF.

In June 2007, David Goodman (founder of H4I) had the privilege of bringing his national bus to visit Kiryat Moshe on the final day of their trip and the grand opening of the outdoor sports-court that was built with the funds of Hoops 4 Israel from April 2007. Speeches, dancing and an inaugural basketball game put an explanation mark on this Birthright Israel trip, emphasizing the significance of volunteer work in support of Israel from the Diaspora (outside of Israel).

The inaugural basketball game: Birthright Israel vs. Yechallal sponsored basketball team in Kiryat Moshe
Birthright Israel participants repaint an old post-office in the centre of Kiryat Moshe

Since that initial visit to Kiryat Moshe, Laura Kindler & Leah Biteolin have facilitated over 25 projects with Taglit-Birthright Israel buses, involving 1000+ Canadian Jews in Tikkun Olam (meaning: 'repairing the world') in conjunction with at-risk Ethiopian Israeli youth.

Basketball games are a staple when CIE Birthright Israel trips visit Kiryat Moshe

A CIE Birthright Israel group visits Bat Yam in December 2008

Laura "Superwoman" Kindler, delivers messages to BRI pariticipants and youth of the Kadimah centre in Bat Yam

A visit with a David Goodman bus guarantees a couple case loads of rubber basketballs as a corporate donation from Wilson Canada through Jim Sanderson.

If you have interest in donating tangible goods that can be delivered to children in Bat Yam or Kiryat Moshe, please contact davidg@hoops4israel.com to arrange transferring the merchandise via Birthright Israel trips to our constituents in Israel.