Chabad at CSUN hosted a day of remembrance and pledging good deeds at the second 9/11 Mitzvah Marathon on Tuesday.
Six years after the tragedy of Sept. 11, about 100 students, staff and community members pledged to do something good, and more than 30 of them donated blood to the American Red Cross Blood Services.
“It’s important that we remember and be consistent,” said Selina Rittel, a junior communications major. “Something should be done each year.”
Linda Pinkowski, a former CSUN student, was on campus visiting a friend and was expecting to see students hosting an anti-war rally. Instead, she donated blood when she was met by Chabad students urging passers-by to make a pledge.
“This is very, very good,” Pinkowski said.
The majority of people donated money, said a prayer, or donated blood. Some students even had to schedule a later blood donation date because there wasn’t enough room on the bus for all the students who wanted to donate. The American Red Cross will be back to take CSUN students’ blood donations on Oct. 3 and 4.
Some students who were walking into or out of the Matador Bookstore who passed the Mitzvah Marathon booth quickly dropped dollar bills into the charity box and continued on to class. Other students took a second to tell one of the Chabad students their names so they could fill out a pledge card.
Raizel Brook, wife of the Chabad House Rabbi Chaim Brook, helped organize the event and said they picked good deeds that could be done in just a few seconds by busy students.
“It’s so small and makes a difference,” said Raizel Brook.
Many students agreed with the convenience of the activity. Farnaz Sabouhi, a business management major, was walking to the bookstore when she decided to give $5 and said a prayer.
“It is close to Rosh Hashanah and I was going to go to temple, but now I don’t have to,” said Sabouhi.
Several other male Jewish students stopped to do a Teffilin, a prayer routine reserved for 13-year-old males and older.
Each pledge of a good deed was marked with a card being taped to a wall with a picture of a victim of terror. Some cards pictured only a candle so student could make a specific pledge in remembrance of someone.
“People need help and a dollar is nothing to me,” said 18-year-old David Albarrab, a freshman criminal justice major, who donated a dollar to the families of victims of terror.
Exact donation amounts were unknown, but all donations will be given to Kolel Chabad, a Jewish organization that gives to the needy and has a specific branch for terror victims, said Chaim Brook.
Not all students were receptive to the event. One student flipped off the Chabad students and another said, “screw it” as they passed the booth. Another group of students who wished not to be identified stood in front of the booth as one of their friends made a pledge and commented that “9/11 didn’t matter.”
Courtney Mickelson, a 22-year-old journalism major, didn’t feel the need to participate either. Her boyfriend is in the Navy SEALS, but she doesn’t get involved in campus. She said she “says a prayer and remembers everyone”.
Jonathan Kim, a 19-year-old CTVA major said, “It was cool,” but probably wouldn’t participate though he does donate blood regularly.
“Even if people don’t stop, they see it and it affects them,” said Chaim Brook. “It brings light into the world.”
Event participation was down from last year when nearly 400 students participated in making a pledge to do a good deed, but Chabad organizers still felt it was a success.
“Busy people are stopping and enjoying it,” Raizel Brook said.
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