Since the Corona Virus Pandemic plagued the world over one million Israelis have lost their jobs and millions around the globe are desperately trying to feed their families and care for their daily needs. Lack of job availability and fear of getting sick by going outside has put many families into an impossible position; Risk exposing themselves, their families and their neighbors to the virus or not putting food on the table and taking care of their vital needs.
Recognizing immediate action must take place to deal with this crisis, on June 5th, Rabbi Yitzchok Berkovits, the Rosh Yeshiva of Aish HaTorah issued a public statement for people to step up and do their part in assisting their neighbors adhere to safety rules with the comfort of knowing that friends would care for their needs.
Eager to step up, Rabbi Yosef Y. Ettlinger agreed to establish GoBidud with the hope to help everyone in need during the pandemic. This Israeli startup has a mission to spearhead a movement to organize and mobilize volunteers throughout the country in an effort to get anyone the necessary resources they need and provide them with the information needed to stay safe. Community leaders are also stationed and on call whenever someone needs help across the country.
No one could have prepared for this pandemic yet GoBidud has found partners and volunteers to provide services including care packages, shopping, taking out garbage, catering meals, providing toys, activities and books for kids, finding places for people to quarantine, a confidential emotional support hotline with a licensed therapist and more! Currently GoBidud’s team of over 200 volunteers have helped over 3700 people, including over 1550 packages sent to children, hundreds of care packages to mothers, and has delivered over 1140 catered meals. (Additional information can be found at gobidud.com/info.)
“Kindness is more contagious than Covid; it transcends social distancing.” Says Rabbi Ettlinger who just this week – within hours – helped furnish an apartment for someone making Aliyah who otherwise would not have a bed, refrigerator and other necessities for two weeks until quarantine ended.
“We are fighting Covid with KBU antibodies; kindness, brotherhood and unity,” says the Rabbi in between helping a new mother with corona with a family of ten in Modiin, a student in Musrara, a family in Givat HaMivtar, 80 fourth graders in Carmei Tzur, and a quarantined foreigner arranging a corona-age wedding for her daughter in Israel.
“We’re living in a time where there are destructive forces in the world. We’re breathing it in. The antibody for this is kindness, because when you create kindness, it’s infectious, it’s contagious. The excitement that I’ve discovered comes from people who have a portal to share their heart with other people.” Said Rabbi Ettlinger.
GoBidud is built on the core belief that “One kind act cascades a sea of kindness and brotherhood which irrigates the earth which we commonly share.” This kindness has spread rapidly throughout Israel and people are on notice. Invited on I24 for a live interview, the Rabbi discussed how this initiative, which started off as a google doc with 10-15 families listed, has spread to 30 communities and counting. GoBidud has also been featured on the Jerusalem Post and Aish.com. (Articles can be found at gobidud.com/media.)
With all the exposure and people longing to help their fellow community members GoBidud has expanded to 42 team members and 222 volunteers. They have also formed partnerships with organizations such as Kedma in order to engage 200 incoming seminary students from the Diaspora in volunteerism and activism for GoBidud.
People reveal just how giving they really are when presented an opportunity to help others. That is why GoBidud’s motto is “Faces Concealed: Hearts Revealed.” When people show just how much light is inside of them, they let that light shine bright and this light is much stronger than the darkness of a pandemic.
Despite the incredible success up to this point, the Rabbi does not harp on GoBidud’s accomplishments. He is pained by the amount of people who still need help but is willing to put in the work.
Moving forward, Rabbi Ettlinger has huge aspirations in expanding GoBidud not only in size but also in resources based on community needs. Expansion includes but is not limited to increased psychological support, advocating for patients in hospitals, getting more new mothers homecare, bringing medicine to people efficiently, subsidized safe transportation for people sent into quarantine, sending more volunteers safely to elders homes, adding additional languages on the website to help GoBidud spread worldwide and more. He also asks manufacturers to donate goods, service providers to donate their skillsets, schools to encourage their student body to get involved, people to volunteer and donate as well as partnerships in this “kindness revolution.”
In order to expand during this unprecedented time, GoBidud is launching a fundraising campaign with a goal to raise an initial $360 thousand. All it takes is 36 passionate visionaries to raise 10K! Support will help with outreach across the globe, supporting family security and saving lives! To help support this amazing cause please go to gobidud.com/donate donate.
If you would like to start a branch in your community, volunteer or help with the fundraising campaign sign up at gobidud.com/volunteer.