By Aviva Perlman
Students at Indiana University Hillel are opening their hands to the community by participating in various social justice projects this week during their third annual TLC: Tzedakah Leads to Community Program.
Students will have the opportunity to make chocolate chip cookies and care packages for children living in transitional shelters, read books on tape for kindergartners from the Indiana School for the Blind and play sports with children in after-school programs at the Boys and Girls Club.
"The program is intended for students who aren't necessarily involved [in social justice work] to become more active or at least contribute in some way," said Jessie Mallor, director of Jewish student life at Indiana University Hillel.
For those not interested in hands-on social justice work, Indiana University Hillel is sponsoring "Making Change across Campus: A Little Change can make a Big Difference." All week any one on campus will be able to donate spare change to help UNICEF efforts aiding children from the regions affected by the tsunami.
"The idea is that small things make a difference. You don't have to do anything drastic," Mallor said. "We are trying to break down Tzedek work so that it's accessible to as many students as possible,
Last year's falafel-ball eating contest benefiting the Susan G. Koman Breast Cancer Foundation brought in approximately 150 students. In addition, students recorded more than five and a half hours' worth of children's books for the Indiana School for the Blind.
"Social action isn't and shouldn't be boring," Mallor said. "You can do many things that help your community that don't have to be painful."
TLC was started three years ago as a way to raise awareness about the needs of the university's town of Bloomington.
"Something about being on a college campus puts you in a bubble," Mallor said. "We thought it was important to connect students to tzedakah and with pressing issues and needs around them."
Aviva Perlman is a junior at American University and an intern in Hillel's communications department.