A week before Shavuot, JLIC Tel Aviv posed an unexpected question to its community of young Jewish professionals: would anyone be interested in forgoing the city’s robust holiday social scene in favor of visiting an orphanage in Romania? Turns out, they would. In droves. The response was so overwhelming that a waitlist had to be drawn up.

“Tikva Children’s Home is an orphanage for Jewish children in Ukraine doing holy work for many years. With the outbreak of war they had a traumatic escape across borders, eventually finding a place in Romania”, explains Rabbi Joe Wolfson, JLIC’s National Chesed Coordinator.

“They have 175 children aged newborn-18 and a small number of exhausted staff members. The children are twice traumatised – both from the loss of family and from the experience of being refugees.”

In partnership with OU Relief Missions, JLIC Tel Aviv created a Mission to Romania – where 6 men and 8 women volunteered to pay out of pocket for airfare to Bucharest – for the opportunity to create a joyous holiday atmosphere with orphan refugees.It was an experience that neither the volunteers or the kids would soon forget.