RAJEing since 2008
The attitude of Charlie's family was always, "Now
that we were free, there was no reason to practice
Judaism. Hey, why risk getting killed again?" His
Jewish education stopped after his bar-mitzvah,
and he was not encouraged to grow further.
His first trip to Israel was life-changing. "I felt a spark like I never felt
before...I was now onto something big, like a hidden treasure that has
been kept from me." Back in the States, he was looking for a way to
translate his inspiration into action. "I wanted to do more, become more
involved with my community, learn more about my heritage. With this new
discovery, what good use would I be if I were just silent and not doing
anything to help my people prosper?"
A Google search connected him to RAJE in 2008. The classes were
right up his alley. "I enjoyed the Chavruta learning sessions the most,
because I was free to ask questions. I would learn things, which I always
felt inside, but could never put into words."
His trip to Athens and Israel with Rabbi Ibragimov helped him go even
further: "I learned from that trip that I am very good with people, and that
it is a Jewish mission to inspire and light up this world. From that trip it
was all history, no turning back!"
Charlie has utilized several opportunities to share his inspiration with
others. In addition to writing a weekly inspirational newsletter and staffing
several trips to Israel as a madrich, "I also helped with organization,
planning and implementation of many programs at RAJE including the
Israel day parade. One year, I even organized an event called iJAM
- Israel Jewish American Music Festival, where we had nine Jewish
rappers and performers all under one roof after the Israel day parade. I
had also worked closely with two good friends who are singers and we
put together a project which was the birth of an anthem for RAJE. Now
we perform this song every year at the parade in front of thousands of