Shabbat walk was founded by Eliezer Gilbert in November 2015. Eliezer had been visiting the Royal Free on a weekly basis. The idea emerged when a group of volunteers wanted to also visit the Royal Free hospital on a Shabbos afternoon. The search was on to find volunteering opportunities for young volunteers. This quickly expanded to include care homes and visiting many other hospitals across London. From this idea a concept was born – Using a time that teenagers are free to have them actively engaging in acts of Chessed whilst simultaneously helping those who are in need of visiting.
Avi Dubiner a volunteer for the Shabbat Walk (who was just 15 at the time) was instrumental in its growth. He encouraged over 200 young volunteers from his school and the community to get involved by volunteering regularly. This enabled the Shabbat Walk to expand its services into helping families on Shabbos afternoons and weekdays. Michal Morgenstern took charge of the girls side of the Shabbat Walk and coordinated over 200 female volunteers.
The Shabbat Walk then recruited more coordinators to match the increase in the number of volunteers and volunteering activity. There are now 17 teenage volunteer coordinators who have specific duties and responsibilities and without them none of the volunteering activity would be possible.
In April 2018 Chaya Hoff, a regular volunteer for the Shabbat Walk officially begun the Hospital project facilitating 100’s of volunteers 18+ to offer some respite and visiting of those in hospital.
In September 2018 Avi Dubiner launched Shabbat Walk Israel. Over 50 volunteers from yeshivas and seminaries volunteer their time at local families.
The Shabbat Walk also introduced regular Chaburah’s for the regular volunteers to learn about the torah values and concepts surrounding the topic of ‘giving’. This added the dimension of thought and intention behind the actions of volunteering.
We look forward to see what the future will bring……
Awards and Accolades
2016 – Eliezer Gilbert – Volunteer of the year – Jewish Volunteering Network
2017 – Eliezer Gilbert – Thirty under 30
Avi Dubiner and Michal Morgenstern – Eighteen under 18
Avi Dubiner – Awarded ‘ points of light’ award by the Prime Minister Theresa May.
2018 – Chaya Hoff – Rising Star award – Jewish Volunteering Network .
Help families with special needs children
Shabbat Walk volunteers befriend and take out special needs children at times which is beneficial for the family. This can include going out for pizza, going to the park or general playing at home.
Help families with newborns
Shabbat Walk volunteers assist families with newborns where the mother is not coping with the normal schedule. Our volunteers help with holding the baby whilst the mother rests or gives the other children some much needed attention, playing or doing homework with the other children.
Help families with financial and emotional struggles
Shabbat Walk volunteers assist families in financial and emotional crisis. This could be due to the family bereavement or mental health. Our volunteers help these families with providing much needed support by doing homework with the children, playing, taking the children out to the park.
Israel Shabbat Walk
Shabbat Walk Israel volunteers are yeshiva and seminary students who give up their break time to assist families with special needs and visit the elderly.
Visiting care homes
Shabbat Walk volunteers visit over 20 care and assisted living homes on Shabbos.
Hospital visitation & overnight shifts
The hospital Visiting Project volunteers visit and assists patients and their families in hospital. These are volunteers (aged 18+) who go straight from work or uni to the hospital. The volunteers will visit, do a day time or night time shift, or even an entire Shabbos shift. This allows the family much needed respite. In some cases the patient has no family and our volunteers are their only visitors.
Walking to hospitals on Shabbos
Shabbat Walk volunteers walk to hospitals across London on Shabbos to visit patients who wouldn’t otherwise be visited by family and friends due to Shabbos.
Shabbat walk volunteers have the opportunity to deepen their understanding of what it means to become a true giver by attending one of our education sessions. We have 7 fantastic female madrichot who have set groups and meet on a fortnightly basis. For the boys there are 5 weekly programs which is well attended. In excess of 200 volunteers attend.