The above headline is the subject line of an email I got after Shabbat last night. I was so impressed with the email that I asked the writer of the email – Shira Telushkin – for permission to reprint it here in the hope that people will help fulfill her request. (The boldface below is mine.)
My name is Shira Telushkin and I am a senior at SAR High School, a coed Orthodox day school in Riverdale, NY. This upcoming Shavuot several friends and I are looking for a way to give back to the Jewish community.
All of us spend nearly five periods a day in the top Talmud and Tanakh/Bible classes at SAR, engage in serious additional learning, and have extensive public speaking experience. I myself identify as non-denominational, and have been very active in teaching and learning throughout the full spectrum of Jewish knowledge and/or involvement.
We would like to spend this Shavuot learning with and helping create Torah-learning options for Jews serving in the military if possible. Having grown up inside a New York Jewish bubble, none of us has ever had serious exposure to the U.S. Army. There seems nothing more significant than showing our support by going and leading discussion groups, giving shiurs, presenting texts, or anything else people would be interested in. We would create a full program for the holiday in accord with interest and time availability.
Having little contacts in the military world, we have no clear way to find information about Jewish life. Which army bases have Jewish soldiers? Which bases would actually be interested in such a program? How do we contact people? Is this idea even feasible? Where would we be most helpful?
We are more than willing to travel to wherever we could be needed. All of us are knowledgeable and vibrant students eager to show our support for our brothers and sisters in uniform however we can — and what we can do is learn.
If you could be of help in any way at all regarding this matter, we would be so appreciative.
In response to a question I then emailed her, she added:
We did notice the bases close to our area [in the database on OperationSupportJewsintheMilitary.com], though we felt it might actually be more interesting or even helpful to get out of the Tri-state area, perhaps even head to a state we’ve never been in before, or where Jewish life is in more need of invigoration than New York.
Now let’s see if we can find a way for Shira and her friends to fulfill this proposal. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if 1) you want to help find a place for these high school students to do this or 2) you are on a military base and would be interested in getting in touch with Shira about this proposed project. I will then forward any appropriate emails to Shira.