ACHI: Activism Through Commerce
Meira Book, SCW student and ACHI Associate, describes her involvement with ACHI.
I am currently a junior at Stern College for Women, majoring in Jewish education. Before college, I spent a year and a half in Israel at Sha'alvim for Women. Right after Purim during my shana alef, the pandemic hit and Sha’alvim closed. I returned to America, continued learning on Zoom and spent summer at home along with the rest of my friends and family, always wishing I could go back to Israel. As the pandemic waned, my parents agreed to let me go back for shana bet, which was to be a half-year program.
When I returned to Israel, I immediately saw the impact of the pandemic. Stores were struggling to stay open, or had closed because they were not getting enough business. Seeing a place that is so close to my heart suffer in this way was a powerful experience. I knew I had to take on something to help make a change. That’s when I joined ACHI, American Communities Helping Israel.
ACHI is an online platform that represents over 150 Israeli vendors. These vendors deliver their items all around Israel and ship to the United States. The types of vendors fall into many different categories such as Judaica, jewelry, clothing and gift baskets, but what ties them together is their need for the support of American customers. I joined because I wanted a part-time job where I could make a difference, and because ACHI’s mission, to encourage Jews in America to “Think Israel and Buy Israel,” really resonated with me. The idea that purchasing Israeli products will cause Jews in the diaspora to keep Israel in their hearts and minds is a powerful one. I believe that as Jewish people we should not only publicly profess our love for Israel, but act on this love by providing support for the Jewish State. Now more than ever, we must support Israeli vendors who are struggling due to the pandemic. ACHI makes this especially easy by providing products and goods from Israel that people can purchase seamlessly from behind their computers.
I began working for ACHI after Sukkot. I wanted to help the team by contributing my social media skills to advancing and enhancing their online presence. My first project was to revamp their social media profiles, and I was able to reintroduce the ACHI Team on Facebook and Instagram. Presently, my job is to design advertisements and content, which I do along with two other associates; together, we create fundraisers and develop new programs and ideas for ACHI.
I am always amazed by the variety of the ACHI vendors. That got us thinking, and we introduced a new program to highlight one such vendor each month. In doing so, we can show our followers the lives and backgrounds of each of the vendors, making the shopping experience more personal for our customers. For example, GivinGifts is a vendor that sells products made by adults with special needs, communities facing a range of challenges in Israeli society and women developing skills for financial independence. There are many more vendors who have vastly different backgrounds but similarly meaningful stories. I hope that everyone who reads this will visit the ACHI Market and buy something from an Israeli vendor, making a significant impact in supporting their businesses. Together we can show our brothers and sisters in Israel that we, as American Jews, care for them and want to support them. When you buy their amazing goods, you can have them delivered to the U.S. or sent to people in Israel. Another way you can help is by donating to ACHI to support their important work. Let’s help Israel together!