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The Harvard-Westlake Chronicle

The Student News Site of Harvard-Westlake School

The Harvard-Westlake Chronicle

The Student News Site of Harvard-Westlake School

The Harvard-Westlake Chronicle

Jewish Club holds fundraiser for Israeli medical organization amid war

Connor Tang
Jewish Club leaders and members stand together at their table. The club organized a public fundraiser for Magen David Adom, a medical organization, that took place on the Quad on Oct. 19 and Oct. 20.

Jewish Club held a fundraiser on the Quad on Oct. 19 and Oct. 20 to support medical personnel in Israel in wake of the Israel-Hamas war. Club members brought homemade goods and snacks, and those who make donations were offered food as a courtesy. Proceeds were given to Magen David Adom (MDA), Israel’s official ambulance and disaster rescue agency, which operates within the International Red Cross committee.

According to MDA’s website, the war has caused a need for additional medical support in Israel to treat wounded civilians and provide medical supplies to Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) troops in need.

Jewish Club Leader Oren Hartstein ’24 said the club decided to donate to MDA to further support medical teams in Israel working to help civilians.

“Right now, there’s a big demand for emergency services and for medical care,” Hartstein said. “Because of this war, any funds are greatly needed, and we’re glad to do whatever we can do to help. [Originally], we were looking at a few other organizations. A few people knew some friends that were on the ground [in Israel] there were willing to help, but we decided on the MDA because it’s a very reliable organization that’s providing a much needed service at this time.”

Avery Kim ’25, who donated to the fundraiser, said supporting the MDA is less affiliated with politics and more with caring about the civilian crisis.

“It’s good to donate, especially because we’re in a very privileged position where we can help,” Kim said. “I also think that even if you don’t support Israel, the [MDA] is a civilian organization. There are no politics in supporting civilian causes, regardless of which side they may be on. You’re not supporting armed groups, you’re supporting civilians who really need it now despite their religion or ethnicity.”

Hartstein said the war has impacted the lives of his family members both in Israel and in the United States.

“Both my parents were born in Israel, and we have family members there [now],” Hartstein said. “Thank God most of them are in the north, in areas near Jerusalem, some living in the outskirts of Tel Aviv. We hear reports from them. Their day-to-day is basically hearing sirens, going into bomb shelters, going out and trying to continue work, trying to live their lives. All of our family and friends right now are tense, on edge and scared for their safety.”

Club Advisor and French Teacher Simona Ghirlanda said the conflict is far-reaching to all members of the Jewish community.

“I have a lot of friends in Israel, in Jerusalem, and right now they’re okay and [unharmed], but no one is okay emotionally,” Ghirlanda said. “Because Israel is such a small country, everyone knows someone who has been kidnapped, killed, decapitated [even] or is serving right now for the IDF. Israel is a little crumb in the world. Anyone who has connections with the global Israeli community knows someone impacted. [The issue] is very, very close to our hearts.”

Kim said students should continue to support those around them impacted by the war and remain informed.

“Regardless if you’re Jewish or not, it’s important to be there for others,” Kim said. “We all know Jewish members of our community who may have family being called up to serve, or family that live close to Gaza. We have to be there not just in the traditional way, by just talking to them about things, but actually acknowledging what’s going on and getting educated about it. It’s only going to get worse [in Israel and Palestine] from here, and even though you might hear less about it in the news, things aren’t getting better for Jewish members in our community.”

Ghirlanda said in the coming weeks, the club is looking to educate while looking at the conflict from different perspectives.

“We are trying to encourage education on the geopolitics of the Middle East in order to have a better understanding of the situation, which is tragic for both sides,” Ghirlanda said. “But at this time, Israel is defending itself against terrorism, which needs to be addressed. It’s not an option for us to let it go and pretend it didn’t happen. [In the future], we would like to have conversations with other clubs and other people to get everyone’s perspective.”

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About the Contributors
Connor Tang, Assistant News Editor
Audrey Kim
Audrey Kim, Layout Assistant and Staff Writer
Audrey Kim ’26 is a first year HW Media reporter who said she is interested in both print and broadcast journalism. “I want to pursue the Chronicle and HWTV,” Kim said. Kim previously worked on the Tenth Muse Art Magazine, and learned the basics of journalism in Media for the Modern Age. “I have [a small] background in journalism. I took the Media for the Modern Age class last year, so I learned the basics of journalism there. I also participated in the Tenth Muse last year, submitting stories and helping with layout.” Kim said she enjoys meeting people through her reporting beats, and creating relationships with people on campus through interviews. “My favorite part of the Chronicle is getting to know a lot of people in my beats. I get to interview people I've never met before and get to know them. For HWTV, I get to speak live on air and be like a real reporter,” Kim said.

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