“What makes your organization unique?”
This is a constant question I face from potential donors, partners, and volunteers.
And the truth is, my nonprofit isn’t unique. There are multiple groups that do the same thing as Amutat Chetz. We aim to support our clientele at different life stages through coaching and mentoring. Hundreds of organizations are active, often with those exact same goals, within their respective communities.
But what makes us special, our contribution, if you will, is the population we serve within the broader lone soldier community. It’s not what or how we do it but who we do it for. And the same could be said for dozens of nonprofits: Many organizations seek to educate and help, but what distinguishes us from each other is the communities we serve and the populations we work with.
Each organization serves a specific community. Whether it be youth at risk, individuals with special needs, or olim chadashim, many nonprofits serve these groups, and even cliques within these communities, like we do.
Take, for example, the community we work with: ultra-Orthodox lone soldiers. There are organizations with different aims active to help the brave young men and women who serve valiantly in the IDF with little external support. From overall support to a place to live to a random assortment of services, the lone soldier community is well supported.
But it’s also very segmented. Whether it be the units they serve in to the countries they come from, to their religious identities, each lone soldier is unique and different. The Jewish People are and always were a diverse group, starting in the times of the Tanach and spanning all the way to today’s political and religious pluralistic society. Rabbi Sacks in Ki Tavo spoke about why the Jewish People have been able to survive all persecutions, answering because of our strong, Jewish identity.
We may be diverse and opinionated but we will always have the same identity. No matter how much we fight, no matter how many organizations, streams of Judaism, or synagogues we have, we are one nation.
This time of year, as we approach Rosh Hashana, we turn inward, a time of self-reflection on our actions over the past year. The time of teshuva, repentance, dictates that we examine our deeds and promise to be better in the year to come. Although it’s a time of introspection and self-improvement, not only are we commanded to investigate our relationship with Hashem but also with others, and within our communities.
Community is an important feature in Judaism, an alluring commodity that attracts all, no matter the level of religiosity, identity, or ethnicity. We at Amutat Chetz are working hard at not only building our community, but bridging gaps in Israeli society. At a time when a national self-reflection period has never been more needed, let us pray for thriving, intertwined communities in the sweet new year.