Angels in the COOP

 

 

Jess Mawhirt

Do you want to be an angel for one day? That was the question posed to passersby at the O’Connor Campus Center (Coop) on Tuesday afternoon as Calling All Angels, a new group led by Associate University Chaplain and Director of Jewish Life Rabbi David Levy, ran a spin-art table to create cards to send to various groups and charities.

The group’s goal is to encourage Colgate students to emulate God’s acts to make the world a better place. For example, this week’s theme was ‘Create,’ hence the spin-art table. Some other themes will be ‘Bless,’ ‘Care,’ ‘Forgive,’ ‘Call,’ ‘Comfort,’ ‘Repair’ and ‘Give,’ and each will have a real world application.

The group is based on a book by Ron Wolfson titled God’s to-do List: 103 Ways to be an Angel and do God’s work on Earth.

Rabbi Levy said that the Jewish religion has a tradition of ‘tzedaka’, to give back and walk in God’s way. Calling All Angels, which meets at The Saperstein Jewish Center on Tuesdays at noon for lunch, is all about tzedaka. Rather than just studying in the Ivory tower sense, Calling All Angels also encourages action.

“We take things we observe God doing and try to emulate those qualities to make the world a better place,” Rabbi Levy said.

Senior Ceci Sibony, who is involved in Calling All Angels, joined the group because, as she said, “It sounded different than anything the Colgate Jewish Union (CJU) had ever done before.” She also mentioned that although philanthropy is always a component of the CJU’s program, Calling All Angels is doing it in a different way.

Junior Hilary Stiss agreed.

“We usually raise money and send it off, but this way we can actually actively participate in tzedakah,” Stiss said.

The spin-art table at the Coop was the first of many of upcoming Calling All Angels activities. The cards made by Colgate students will be sent to various charities and other groups such as Ronald McDonald House, St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, Save a Child’s Heart and a senior citizen’s home in Syracuse as well as to soldiers in Iraq.

Students were able to get involved in a personal way through the activity by writing on the cards and choosing where to send them. For example, sophomore Jessica Lippman chose to write to the senior citizen’s home because her grandmother lives in one and she knows that cards can help brighten up a lonely day. Senior Andrew Hatzenbuhler chose to write to a soldier in Iraq because his cousin is currently stationed there.

“I think any of us can take two minutes out of our day to thank people who are over there for a year at a time,” he said.

And that, according to Rabbi Levy, is the whole point of it all.

“It’s about raising people’s consciousness about the really simple things we can do to improve the world,” he said.

The group may be coming from a Jewish perspective, but all students are welcome and encouraged to participate.

“The message is universal and transformative,” Levy said.