Avi Shaffer was an American teenager whose life probably looked a lot like yours. He went to NFTY, participated in his local Jewish community, and was very close with his family. At the age of 18, Avi and his brother left behind everything they have known to go to Israel and join the Israeli Defense Forces. He took it upon himself to be a protector for the Jewish people and become a lone soldier- which is the term for someone who volunteers to join the IDF and does not have immediate family in Israel. While there, he eventually became part of a highly trained special forces team. After serving, Avi continued to positively impact his Jewish community with his involvement at Brown University, where he took part in various efforts for the Jewish community including increasing education on the Israel-Palestinian conflict.
Unfortunately, Avi’s life was cut incredibly short, when he was killed by a drunk driver on Brown campus at the young age of 21. However, his impact and legacy live on through the Avi Shaffer foundation, which delivers microgrants to college campuses to host events related to Avi’s passions: cultural understanding and education on the Isreali-Palestinean conflict. Avi’s story is a reminder to us all of two things. First, we are reminded that life is short, so it is important to do things we are passionate about. Secondly, we are reminded that all of us can make a huge impact on the world around us. Everyone has the power to create their own legacy.
CSU Hillel has recently been awarded the Avi Shaffer Shabbat microgrant! This grant allows us to put together an event focused on fostering interfaith understanding and cross-cultural encounters. We are partnering with the CSU Interfaith coalition to host a night of deep discussion and delicious food. At this event, we will be discussing how to create a campus climate of acceptance and stand up for each other. The event is open to all regardless of background or faith belief system.