Cookies for Israel: Help Set a World Record
Here’s a sweet way to support Israel: Buy cookies!
You can even save calories when you join a worldwide celebration of Israel’s 70th anniversary, spearheaded by the Atlanta Jewish community.
The “Cookies for Israel” project is a five-week dash to raise more than $1 million for Israel – one cookie at a time – and set a record for the world’s largest cookie flag mosaic.
“By sponsoring a cookie for $10, you’ll be supporting three important charities in Israel: United Hatzalah, which provides free volunteer-based emergency medical services in Israel; One Family, which provides support for victims of terror, and the Jewish Agency's Partnership Together Program in Yokneam, helping immigrant communities in Israel's North,” according to the website cookiesforisrael.org.
Says Rabbi Yitzchok Tendler, executive director of Atlanta's Congregation Beth Jacob, who is working on the project with a diverse group of volunteers from around the city: "We are inviting supporters of Israel around the world to join us in making history by 'buying' a cookie, a small action which will send a very big message."
Photo credit: Sarah Moosazadeh
He adds that Atlanta donors are covering all overhead costs of Cookies for Israel – from buying the more than 100,000 iced cookies, to paying the fee for a Guinness World Records judge to be on site, to marketing and website hosting – so every dollar contributed to the campaign will go directly to the recipient Israeli charities. Cookies will come from a kosher factory in New York.
Eric Robbins, president and chief executive officer of the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta, bought the first cookie when he launched the campaign at Atlanta’s celebration of Israel’s 70th birthday in April.
Also lending their support via publicity are Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks of Britain and Jewish Agency Chair Natan Sharansky.
It will take approximately 130,000 blue-and-white cookies to smash the previous Guinness World Record for a cookie flag mosaic, which Pakistan set in 2017. The plan calls for the Israeli flag cookie mosaic to stretch more than 3,000 feet when assembled June 3 in Atlanta.
An engineering expert who holds a doctorate from the Georgia Institute of Technology is planning how to lay out the thousands of cookies. A surveyor will measure the doughy flag, and a Guinness judge will be on site to ensure all the specifications are “kosher” and certify the record.
Guinness requires the cookies be properly handled according to health regulations. Also, after the June 3 record attempt, Atlanta organizers must distribute the cookies for consumption and not throw them away. They expect to donate the cookies to schools and homeless shelters.
Tendler sees the Cookies for Israel project as a win-win-win: “We send a strong message to Israel that they have Jewish and non-Jewish supporters around the world. We raise several hundred thousand dollars each for three Israeli charities. And we donate cookies to good causes locally.”
Make the Cookie Record Crumble
In addition, supporters will help set a new world record and make the old one crumble.
Large-scale efforts like this are not just pie-in-the-sky. “Last year during Hurricane Irma, an incredible group of volunteers accomplished the impossible, hosting over a thousand refugees from South Florida with just a few days to prepare. Cookies for Israel presented an opportunity to work with some of these incredible volunteers on an even bigger project,” Atlanta physician’s assistant anesthetist Matt Lewis said in an e-mail interview from Israel after his son, Avrumi’s, recent swearing-in ceremony as a lone soldier with the Israel Defense Forces.
Avrumi and Matt Lewis
“He is giving so much for Eretz Yisrael and the people of Israel. If there is a way that I can contribute, it’s important for me to do so,” the elder Lewis wrote.
Tendler agrees, saying Cookies for Israel provides a way for supporters around the world to “send a giant hug” to the people of Israel. “By working together we can accomplish the seemingly impossible.”