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Building Hope & Justice: Assisting Those in Nicaragua

The Temple participated in an interfaith youth trip to Nicaragua with a local Presbyterian Church. They helped build homes and spent time caring for the Nicaraguan children.

Temple Shaaray Tefila
89 Baldwin Road 
Bedford Corners, New York 10549 
(914) 666-1333 

Target Groups: High School and Youth Group Programs 

Teenagers from Temple Shaaray Tefila of Northern Westchester participated in an award-winning and rewarding interfaith work trip to Nicaragua. In February 2004, sixteen high school students from the temple, along with their youth director and a few parents, joined with a similar-sized group from the nearby Bedford Presbyterian Church to travel to Nicaragua.

The Shaaray Tefila teens raised one-third of the cost of the trip through fundraising efforts in their synagogue. They sold “stock” in their trip for $36 a share, and then hosted a “Stockholder’s Dinner” when they returned from Nicaragua, where they showed a slide show, spoke about their experiences, and thanked the “stockholders” for their financial assistance.

The families in the Nicaraguan community lived in small homes built from scraps of wood, metal, and other materials. The teenagers worked hard to build new homes for these families made from cinderblocks and cement, and which included metal supports, doors, windows, and roofs. After a short time, the high school students from Westchester became masters at bending metal, mixing cement, and laying blocks. During their stay in Nicaragua the students built over five homes and repaired the community center’s porch. They also spent time reading, singing, and playing with the Nicaraguan children. After returning home, these students raised $300 to purchase school supplies for the Nicaraguan towns that they visited. The Shaaray Tefila teenagers overcame language barriers as they worked to create justice and hope in an extremely impoverished area.