Every shekel counts! That’s how Arava Lightstone sees it. Arava has been studying the story of Passover (Pesach) for the past month in her school, and also at home with her parents. She was deeply moved by the story of how God chose Moses to help Him free the Hebrew slaves. She also learned that there are still slaves in the world today, and has been thinking a lot about children who are enslaved.
Every Friday her family gets ready for Shabbat, the Jewish Sabbath, by cleaning the house. Arava’s job is to take out the recycling, and she earns some money each Friday for doing this. She has put the money away in her tzedaka (charity) box, and decided that her Passover charity donation would go to an organization that fights slavery. Her mother told her that FTS ally Marjorie Gann would know about a good anti-slavery organization because Marjorie wrote a children’s book about slavery. Marjorie chose Free the Slaves because its co-founder, Kevin Bales, helped her with the research for her book.
Arava’s Passover donation of 100 Israeli shekels comes to $36.00. It is a Jewish tradition to give charity in multiples of 18, since the Hebrew letters for the number 18 equal the word “chai,” which means “life.” Arava and her family say that they hope that her “double chai” donation will help Free the Slaves give a life of freedom to the many enslaved people we work to liberate in Asia, Africa and the Americas.
Toda rabah, Arava.
Learn more about the Free the Slaves Passover Project on our Faith in Action webpage, including ideas and handouts for making your Seder about slavery past and present. To make your own Passover gift, visit our special Judaism donation webpage.
Thanks to Arava’s mother and grandmother for sharing the news of her remarkable activism!