The Power of a 7th Grade Class

If you’re an avid reader of this blog, you’ll know about Yeshiva Mevakshei Hashem’s write-a-thon. The seventh grade class campaigned to raise money for Oorah through writing and fundraising to their friends and relatives.

We’ve recently received an email following up on the campaign. This group of seventh graders raised an outstanding amount of…. $2,290.10! The students will be dedicating an item  for one of Oorah’s programs.

They’ve also created an exhibit to feature the various Oorah programs. We love TheZone 🙂

Quite an impressive feat!

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From Our Mailbox

From Fiveish fan mail to event feedback, Oorah often receives interesting letters in the mail.  But we’ve never received a manilla envelope like the one we did last week.

The envelope was stuffed with handwritten notes composed by the seventh grade students of Yeshivas Mevakshai Hashem. These students are in the midst of a Write-a-thon, a project where students choose an organization and fund-raise for them. The seventh grade class choose Oorah as their favorite organization!

Here are just a few of the beautiful letters we received:

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Giving Back

A parent whom Oorah has assisted in the past with tuition while they were struggling financially contacted Oorah and said that now BH business picked up and they don’t feel right taking the scholarship money they would like us to give it to other children who need it. She wanted to know exactly how much we were paying so she can send it to the school. They are really grateful!
Besides Oorah helping them financially Oorah also gave them the realization that Yeshiva is important and that it is worth the money!

Landmark Victory for Nonprofit Camps in Oorah Court Case

TheZone Boys Division campus in Jefferson, NY
This was a decision we waited three long years for. The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of New York ruled last week that the Town of Jefferson, where Oorah’s TheZone Boys Division campus is located, does not have the jurisdiction to deny us our tax exemption on the property.

From the day we entered town, former Town Supervisor Dan Singletary made every effort to prevent us from getting the camp up and running. (He was voted out of office in November.) The town tried to deny us our tax exemption by calling our nonprofit status into question and by holding back our Certificates of Occupancy because of supposed building and fire code violations.

In neighboring Gilboa meanwhile, where TheZone Girls Division is located, we enjoy a very amicable relationship with the town and its supervisor, Tony Van Glad, and we show our appreciation every summer with a donation to the town.

Last week’s unanimous decision of the court is very clear: As a federally-recognized 501(c)3 nonprofit organization using our campgrounds in the furtherance of our charitable mission, the Town of Jefferson had no right to deny us our real property tax exemption. Nor could they use the excuse of alleged building code violations to hold it back either.

We are, understandably, thrilled with this outcome. As Rabbi Avraham Krawiec, TheZone camp director, put it, “The town was essentially trying to extort huge sums of money from the children who enjoy our camp each year. The long and difficult legal battle we endured was a mission we accepted on their behalf.”

Here’s what our attorney, John Privitera, had to say: “This decision is a victory against municipalities that seek to throttle charities and organizations they don’t like or follow religions they don’t embrace. By trying to impose the shackles of taxes upon a charitable organization, the governing body of Jefferson sought to challenge the very validity and values of Oorah and limit them from fulfilling their vision and mission. This landmark decision affirms the values we’ve chosen as a society not to take donated dollars from a charity…”

Read more about the Oorah case in the Daily Gazette, Watershed Post and Schoharie News.

When $4.50 is the Ultimate Donation

Ah, the sincerity of the young.

bag of coins “My seven-year-old daughter ran to me last night with excitement to tell me that her class has been raising some tzedakah money for the past few weeks. When the time came to do the actual mitzvah of giving, they voted on where it should be donated. The winner was none other than OORAH.

I have a bag of change totaling $4.50 (they actually inspired me and it’s up to $5.50) that came from the purest source, worthy do be used for the “Aron Hakodesh” of Oorah.”

– Moshe Franco, Oorah employee

Well, kids, your donation has certainly touched us all. We’re proud and grateful to have been chosen as the recipients of your gift. May we all merit giving with such open arms and full hearts.