Following the untimely death this past December of Judah Marans, a local resident and student at UC Berkeley School of Law, the Chabad Jewish Student Center at UC Berkeley and Boalt Jewish Student Association, supported by Berkeley Law, are organizing a campus-wide Day of Loving Kindness on March 10, 2016 to promote acts of goodness and kindness in Judah’s memory.
“In addition to his academic brilliance and diverse artistic talents, Judah was beloved for his humanity, his kindness, and his genuine interest in helping and caring for others,” said Mark Donig, co-president of the Boalt Jewish Student Association, and board member of Chabad at UC Berkeley, the organizations arranging the event. “Judah embodied the Jewish teaching to love our fellow as we love ourselves.”
In the weeks following Judah’s passing, students at UC Berkeley gathered at Berkeley Law’s Boalt Hall and at the Chabad Jewish Student Center to share memories of Judah and to plan ways to honor him to continue his legacy. In addition to an ongoing class on the Talmud (a text that Judah was passionate about) and their own personal resolutions, students decided to dedicate a Day of Loving Kindness on campus to honor Judah’s memory.
“On March 10th our goal is to raise 1,000 good deeds and acts of kindness from students on campus as well as around the world via social media,” said UC Berkeley student and former ASUC senator Ori Herschmann. “Encouraging others to increase in kindness is a value that Judah embraced.”
The event will include student volunteers, joined by Nina Kampler, Judah’s mother. There will be tabling on campus at UC Berkeley and Berkeley Law throughout the day, encouraging students of all faiths and backgrounds to pledge good deeds on the way to class. Ribbons will be distributed to participants of the event to wear around campus that day.
Some examples of the good deeds that will be encouraged include providing cheer to someone who is ill, giving someone the benefit of the doubt, giving someone a sincere compliment, letting someone go before you in a store or while you are in your car, contacting an old friend to reconnect, donating blood, giving money to charity, and asking for forgiveness when you have made a mistake or treated someone poorly.
“Judaism teaches that our deeds matter and we have the ability to transform the world around us through our actions,” said Rabbi Gil Leeds of Chabad at UC Berkeley. “By doing Mitzvot (Good deeds) we connect to the source of good and make the world around us brighter.”
In order to increase the impact of this effort conceived and organized by students at UC Berkeley, parallel events are being organized that day at Brandeis University in Massachusetts, where Judah attended undergraduate studies, The Ramaz School in NYC where Judah attended High School, and Yavneh Academy in Paramus, NJ where Judah attended elementary school. In addition, NYU, the college currently attended by Judah’s younger brother, Ben Marans, is also joining this effort, as are various other institutions attended by Judah’s cousins and friends around the world.
“Judah was an extraordinarily kind and thoughtful young man, and a curious and bright student,” said Berkeley Law Dean Sujit Choudhry. “We were fortunate to have him as a part of our community. This Day of Kindess is a fitting tribute to his memory.”
While the aforementioned campuses are sponsoring the event, anyone around the world can participate in the Day of Loving Kindness by pledging a good deed in Judah’s memory by visiting http://www.jewishucb.com/judahkindnessday.html.