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The Ahavas Yisrael - AY Project
The Ahavas Yisrael (AY) Project inspires Jewish women to transform themselves, their families, their communities and the Jewish world by focusing on how to navigate interpersonal relationships & pertinent topics from a Jewish perspective.
A group of women noting the rise in physical, emotional and spiritual suffering, terrorism, anti-Semitism and an overall decline of ethical behavior worldwide sought the advice of Jewish leaders. The responses overwhelmingly stressed the importance of Ahavas Yisrael, loving our fellow Jew despite our differences. As a result, the "AY Project" was born.
I am going out of my way now to brighten people’s lives. I am making a conscious effort to praise, compliment, and express sincere appreciation for the people I interact with, whether it is my immediate family, the plumber who came to fix a leak or my mother on the phone. It is amazing to see that they really appreciate the acknowledgement. Even though it is a stretch for me, it gives me energy and a great feeling!
It was difficult to do but, I picked up the phone and called a woman I haven’t spoken to in 3 years, even though I feared that she was upset with me. She said it was a pleasant surprise to hear from me. I apologized for what I thought upset her and invited her to join our family for Shabbat. She was so happy to get the invitation and will be coming for the meal next week.
Two families who lived in the same building stopped speaking to each other. The maklokes began with the husbands, then spread to the wives and the children. Mrs. B. who joined an Ahavas Yisrael group, realized that, even though Mr. C. was at fault, maklokes is the scourge of Klal Yisrael, so she resolved to end it. When she made a Pidyan HaBen in her home for her new grandson, Mrs. B. invited the C. family. They came, and peace was restored between the two families.
Mrs. G., a resident of Boro Park, was sitting with her friends at a chassana. Across the hall she recognized Zelda, who used to live in the community, but had moved away. Although Mrs. G. Was comfortable sitting with her friends, she realized that Ahavas Yisrael required greeting Zelda, who was all alone. Mrs. G. Got up, went over to Zelda, and greeted her warmly. The next day she got a phone call from Zelda’s cousin, who said, “You did such a chashuvah mitzvah last night. You were the only person who spoke to Zelda. She’s just moved back into the neighborhood, and was feeling awkward until you came over.”
A woman in Jerusalem reported: “I don’t have a good relationship with my brother. Whenever he comes to visit me in Israel, he stays in my parents’ empty apartment, which I have cleaned for him, but I don’t fix it up. This time when he came, because of my Ahavas Yisrael commitment, I fixed up the apartment with flowers and refreshments. I stretched myself to treat him lovingly.”