Jewish students donate stipends to help Syrian refugees in Aleppo
Ten Jewish students from Vassar College in New York chose to donate their education stipends to help send aid to Syrian refugees in Aleppo.
Last year, ten students at the liberal arts college who are participants of the Sinai Scholars Society program jointly decided to donate their $350 participant stipends to fund an aid shipment for the refugees and internally displaced people at five refugee camps in the Aleppo area, which is currently helping 537 families, a statement from Chabad of Fulton said.
The container, which cost $5,500 to ship to Syria, finally arrived at the refugee camps last week following months of hard work.
The students' donation of $3500 went towards the $5500 cost of shipping the 40-foot container, which was filled with supple of supplies that “included medicines, medical supplies and hospital equipment, food and clothing,” the organizations explained in the press release.
To make up the the $2,000 difference, the students held a fundraising drive, in which they were able to raise the of the remainder of the money rest from private donors. As intensified bombings around the outskirts of Idlib and Aleppo have continued over the last several weeks, the aid was in critical need.
Vassar student Iliana Jaime, who is one of the ten students that donated her stipend, said that in Sinai Scholars she has “learned that every good deed brings value into the world.”
“Instead of feeling burdened [with life], we can focus on the mitzvot [good deeds] we can do and what they can achieve,” she said. “When I think about giving supplies to refugees, it’s the same idea. One container is not going to fix the situation but it’s still valuable and is working towards the larger goal.”
The supplies were delivered through the Multifaith Alliance for Syrian Refugees (MFA), a charity initiative founded by Vassar alumna Dr. Georgette F. Bennett.
Through its humanitarian relief network, MFA has access to a wide variety of supplies.
“However, the challenge is to get those supplies to the people who need them,” Chabad of Fulton continued. “MFA raises money to cover the cost of shipping the massive containers of supplies to the region, and it’s this effort that the students decided to support.”
On the donations, Bennett said that “the Sinai Scholars at Chabad on Fulton is the youngest group to have shipped a container of relief to Syria.”
“Their commitment to tzedakah [charity] and our shared humanitarian values serves as an example to which we can all aspire,” he said. “We are deeply grateful for their initiative, dedication, and generosity – and the assistance they have provided to those in such desperate need.”
In cooperation with the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), the MFA has shipped $120 million of humanitarian aid through Israel to the Golan Heights, where it has been delivered to Syrian NGOs for distribution to those in need in southwest Syria and most recently in in northwest Syria, which has been the target of new bombing by the regime and Russian and Iranian-backed forces.
Instructors from the Sinai Scholars Society program at Chabad, Rabbi Daniel and Dalia Sanoff, said it was “inspiring to see Jewish students putting their values into action by helping refugees."
"Sinai Scholars' Society has had a global impact, enriching our students' Jewish education on campus but also inspiring students involvement in caring for those who need assistance,” explained Sanoff, who is also director of Chabad on Fulton. “Their choice exemplifies the three pillars of the Jewish world: Torah learning, service, and acts of loving kindness."
The Sinai Scholars Society, a joint project of the Rohr Jewish Learning Institute and Chabad on Campus International.