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To New and Exciting Experiences!

Welcome to our brand new blog. You can come here to read the latest news from Hollywood CARES, about Project Papillon, and Haiti. We hope you will comment…share your thoughts, your experiences, what you're doing in your community.


Our most recent trip to Haiti, from July 5-8, 2010, was very special, with members of URJ (Union for Reform Judaism) congregations from across the country joining us to work, to pray, and to learn. People who had never met before, 21 of us, getting to know each other and finding common ground – the desire to help others – on which to build new friendships and alliances. Email addresses were exchanged and when we came home, these new friends started communicating – sharing photos, ideas for future projects, donations. It has all been so exciting! I hope these new friends of mine will be among the first to write here.

One member of our group, Jackie Eshet of Temple Beth El, has already written about her experience and she’s given permission for her words to be published. What follows comes from Jackie.

I have been a member of Temple Beth El for years and although I’m not a particularly involved member, I do attend the High Holiday services and any service my daughter’s religious class is leading. It’s not a lot, but I pay my dues and show up when I should, or at least when I think I should. When the earthquake in Haiti happened I responded immediately. I knew the Temple sponsored an orphanage there, so I wrote my checks and raided my closet for donations. I did my part and my conscience was clear. However, even after the news coverage of Haiti had faded away, I kept wondering about how the country was managing.

Six months passed, the summer was upon us, and my children would be gone for four weeks. A vacation was definitely on my mind. Where should I go? The mountains, a spa, or a beautiful beach vacation? They all sounded good. Then I received an unexpected email from the Temple and after receiving that email, my plans suddenly changed. It turned out that I would not be planning any of the vacations I had had in mind; I would instead be joining the Temple and Hollywood CARES on their Mitzvah Work Mission to Haiti. I recruited my boyfriend and my sister. We booked our tickets (bought travel insurance just in case we lost our nerve), sent emails out to friends and family for donations, packed our fifty-pound bags, and headed for Haiti with a group of 21 people (aside from the Rabbi and trip organizer, Sharon Tanenhaus, I was one of only two Temple members on the trip).

I cannot even begin to describe to you how incredible an experience this trip to Haiti was. As a congregation, we should be incredibly proud of our Temple’s association with such a beautiful cause. Pastor John, who is the man that runs the orphanage, has such an amazing vision for his orphans, for the youths he mentors, and for the people of Haiti, that his dedication alone deserves our continued funding. The children are well taken care of, sweet, soft spoken, and simply delicious. I can’t wait to go back! Aside from the sadness of the obvious poverty, the extreme heat, and lack of running water, the Haitian people could certainly teach us all a thing or two about what it truly means to persevere. Be thankful for the simple things, and the next time you’re thinking about that vacation somewhere exotic, try stepping out of your comfort zone and joining the Temple on a Mitzvah Mission to Haiti. You’ll be glad you did!


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1. Sharon Tanenhaus | August 22, 2010 at 03:05 AM EDT

I agree wholeheartedly with Jackie. Pastor John Dieubon is a man with amazing vision and dedication. I'm very proud to call him my dear friend and equally proud of what we are able to accomplish with him.

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