Rabbi Yisrael Abisror is a living example of the adage, “Anyone can make a difference.” Rabbi Abisror grew up in Deal, New Jersey, moved to Aventura, Florida, and then moved his family to Orlando, Florida in order to direct the Orlando branch of YEHUDI. The organization is housed at the University of Central Florida and focuses on outreach to the university’s 6,000 Jewish students and local young professionals.
YEHUDI Makes a Difference
YEHUDI encourages students to participate in learning programs, and those who attend regularly are eligible to participate in trips to Israel and/or other destinations, such as Morocco.
“We have been blessed to open our home to so many students over the years. We recently did a count and realized we host approximately 2,000 students for Shabbat meals a year,” said Rabbi Abisror. Many of these students previously did not even know about Shabbat.
“We have minyanim during the week and on Shabbat, kosher food nearby, and an almost complete eruv. The community even incentivizes young couples to come to live in the area. They receive a stipend of $1,000 a month for two years. The houses are large and affordable, and you can raise a family in a beautiful environment without the pressure of keeping up with others,” said Rabbi Abisror.
Rabbi Abisror also serves as the Vice President of Daily Giving, a platform that allows individuals to automate their charitable giving by signing up to give as little as one dollar a day. To date, $10 million has been donated to more than 80 organizations. “This only happened with the help of over 14,000 ‘Daily Givers’ who are making a small difference go a very long way,” said Rabbi Abisror.
Political Advances – School Vouchers
Rabbi Abisror is also working to build up a small community nearby in Northeast Orlando. He has worked hard to impact the local community through his involvement in local politics. He gave the opening invocation to the Florida House of Representatives, invited by Representative Fred Hawkins, through his legislative aide, Ben Rembaum, an alumni of the University of Central Florida.
Rabbi Abisror recently worked with the OU Teach Coalition organization to lobby for subsidized tuitions for Jewish students from kindergarten through twelfth grade.
In March of this year, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill to establish a statewide voucher program in which every child will be eligible to receive nearly $8,000 toward schooling, tutoring or other education-related expenses. This is an incredible achievement and significantly helps parents of parochial school children to afford the high tuition costs. Now many more Jewish parents will be able to afford to provide their children with a strong Jewish education. This bill would not have been passed without many individuals personally taking a stand.
Get Involved to Make a Difference
A person does not need to have great wealth or influence to make a difference in the world. It is important lesson for us all to recognize that anyone, even a seemingly “regular ordinary person,” can make a difference, too.
“Around the world we need to focus on our young people who can make a difference by inspiring them and giving them the tools. The most important thing is to get involved and find a way to take responsibility for the Jewish people,” said Rabbi Abisror.