StandWithUs' Ahron Levin, Senior Southeast High School Coordinator and Brandon Orlinsky, Academic Logistics Coordinator with students at the "Command Center" at the Polo Club of Boca Raton
(Boca Raton, FL -- March, 2022) -- StandWithUs Southeast (SWU SE) is thrilled to announce that its "Start The Wave: Be the Ripple That Makes The Change" online campaign raised more than one million dollars to support the non-profit organization's efforts to educate about Israel and combat antisemitism in middle and high schools, universities and the community.
Sara Gold Rafel, executive director of SWU SE stated, "Our students are our future and this will provide the necessary funding to double our impact by expanding our programs, reach more students in the southeast and help strengthen our legal response team. I cannot begin to express our gratitude to our enthusiastic supporters who recognize how critical the need is for SWU SE's efforts as our children experience antisemitism and anti-Israel sentiment at younger ages than ever before. Each student we reach is mobilized as an informed and empowered change-maker, who starts an endless ripple effect with their peers and teachers."
The campaign launched in Fall, 2021 with numerous events and outreach. On March 2nd for a 27-hour period, the online site went live. Sara created a "Command Center" at the Polo Club of Boca Raton and it constantly buzzed with students and volunteers making outreach calls, texts and e-mails. There were hubs and teams in Miami, Palm Beach, Jacksonville, FL and Raleigh, NC and Atlanta, GA. To-date, there are more than 400 donors and the "Start The Wave" link is still open.
StandWithUs Kenneth Leventhal High School Interns and members of the Teen Leadership Council, together with Ahron Levin, StandWithUs Senior Southeast High School Coordinator brought much enthusiasm and energy to the Command Center. Says Ahron, "I was blown away that so many students showed up for more than just the free pizza, so excited to make this campaign a success! These are our future leaders and seeing their passion and dedication in helping continue the work we do at StandWithUs showed me the impact that we're making. They experience firsthand through our different leadership programs how beneficial SWU is to them and this motivates me every day to continue moving forward, one student at a time."
Jonathan Schram, StandWithUs SE Kenneth Leventhal High School Intern from Oxbridge Academy said, "The 'Start the Wave' Campaign was a great opportunity for me to meet some of my fellow interns in-person that I have been working with this year and, to raise funds for a common interest we all share."
Isaac Berkower, StandWithUs SE Kenneth Leventhal High School Intern from Donna Klein Jewish Academy said, "I think that raising this money for SWU was so important to help it continue to carry out its mission. I know personally how meaningful this is because I see where this money goes and how large of an impact it has on my community and so many other communities."
Eilat Berger, StandWithUs SE Kenneth Leventhal High School Intern from Katz Yeshiva High School said, "There was something so special about being in a room full of passionate, like-minded individuals working together to raise money for a cause we all believe so strongly in."
Ellie Mitrani, StandWithUs SE Kenneth Leventhal High School Intern from David Posnack Jewish Day School said, "The reason I continue to be involved with SWU is because education is really the best way to fight antisemitism. Running programs means being able to have those conversations and interactions with people, which I’ve seen have the most impact on both the community and me as a leader."
SWU SE Kenneth Leventhal High School Intern Noa Barak from William T. Dwyer High School also attended.
Ava Perloff, David Posnack Jewish Day School and a member of the StandWithUs Teen Leadership Council said, "I’m extremely grateful to be given the opportunity to take part in this amazing campaign. I loved participating and truly felt as if I was helping to make a difference in raising awareness for the state of Israel by reaching out to those in the community. I loved working with SWU and other teenagers, like myself, towards an important cause."
Hailey Rudman, David Posnack Jewish Day School and a member of the StandWithUs Teen Leadership Council said, "I had a really good time getting to know everyone and seeing all the behind-the-scenes of how the campaign worked. Also, I was really glad to be part of the whole process and know that I was part of something bigger."
Hailey Cohen, David Posnack Jewish Day School and a member of the StandWithUs Teen Leadership Council said, "This was the first in-person event with SWU that I attended and it was very nice because I was able to make a difference and meet others."
Sarah Eskandry, David Posnack Jewish Day School and a member of the StandWithUs Teen Leadership Council said, "It was an amazing night! I loved getting to know everyone, and I am really glad that we all worked hard together for a common goal which we achieved!"
StandWithUs (SWU) is an international, non-profit and non-partisan Israel education organization that works to inspire and educate people of all ages about Israel, as well as challenge misinformation and fight against antisemitism.
Through university fellowships, high school internships, middle school curricula, conferences, materials, social media, educational films and missions to Israel, StandWithUs supports people around the world who want to educate their schools and communities about Israel.
Founded in 2001 and headquartered in Los Angeles, the organization has chapters and programs on 5 continents, including the U.S., Israel, UK, Canada, South Africa and Brazil.
For the last ten years, SWU has consistently received the highest possible ratings from Charity Navigator (4 stars) and Guidestar (Platinum).