HaOlam Monthy: Social Action While Social Distancing

Hey everyone!

Welcome to the first edition of the HaOlam Monthly journals! These journals will be centered on different SA/TO events and opportunities happening in our world and in USY itself. It will feature different USYers every month who have done great social action work!

My name is Anna Clauer and I am a current junior from the Exceptional EMTZA region!


My name is Jeremy Malaga and I am a current sophomore from the Mighty METNY region! We’re the SA/TO Outreach Co-Chairs on IGB, and we’re very excited for this year!

With everyone practicing social distancing right now, it can be hard for USYers to keep up their SA/TO work. But we want to make sure that USYers are still raising TO money, practicing social action in their communities, and following their individual passions. Here are a few ways that you can help out in your community:

Offer to buy groceries for others
Because most teens have a much lower chance of having a bad reaction if they get sick, this is an easy way to give a helping hand without putting other people at risk.

Hagalil USYers participated in an online J Serve program where they learned about food insecurity and participated in different online social action projects!

Offer to tutor
Another way that you can give back to your community, especially kids, is by offering to tutor students online. No one can get the same experience of learning online or over zoom that they do in person, and it is inevitably harder for kids to fully understand their school material. Offer to set up a time to meet with them online to help them with their work so that they continue to learn.

Donate to TO
Even though it may be hard to connect with our regions during this time, see if you can still donate to TO. Check with your regional SA/TO to see if they have set up any online fundraisers.

In Pinwheel, USYers participated in an online Instagram TO challenge, where they could donate to their region’s TO fund. They ended up raising $47!

Take a break and pick up trash
There is no doubt that you are bored in your houses 24/7. It can be therapeutic to get out of the house and take a walk around the neighborhood, and while you’re doing that, you can help clean the neighborhood up, too. Take a small trash bag and pick up any garbage or recycling that you find!

Participate in Regional or International 613 Mitzvah Corps programs
Even in quarantine, there are so many ways that you can participate in online programs. It is still super important to stay informed and have meaningful and educational discussions.

Internationally, the SA/TO International General Board recently hosted a 613 Mitzvah Corps event about climate change deniers and how to deal with the spread of false information. In Emtza, USYers engaged in a conversation about fast fashion and the negative effects on the environment from clothing being produced rapidly.

Foster pets from a nearby shelter
Since you’re at home now, it can be a lot easier to take good care of a pet. Get in touch with a local shelter to see if you can foster animals.

Volunteer if you are healthy enough!
Obviously everyone should stay in their homes, but if you are able to in a safe manner, try and donate your time! For example, you could package food to give to those in need. There is a large shortage of blood donations as well, so if you are able, try and donate your blood to hospitals.

“We got an email from a local food distribution center saying they were looking for volunteers. When we got to our shift, we were greeted with safety precautions and social distancing warnings. Although I could not see the people I was helping, I knew that each item of food that passed through my hands would make it to the hands of the people that are struggling the most during this crisis. Being out of the house and doing something to help people felt amazing” – Shira Presberg, Tzafon

Donate clothes
One last way that you can practice social action is by going through your clothes and setting aside a bag to donate. Once the virus has passed, wash your old clothes and donate them to your local thrift stores.

Even through these tough times, you can still give back to the community and make a difference! Do you have examples of ways you are participating in social action during quarantine? We would love to hear about it! Share your stories with Michael Pincus, International Social Action/Tikun Olam Vice President, at [email protected].