Mitzvah project aims to help kids surf in Israel

by | Apr 8, 2016 | Other News

ReSurf Shack in Israel.

ReSurf Shack in Israel.

I wanted to find a mitzvah project that would be new and fun to learn about and to share with others. Since I am a student at Virginia Beach Middle School’s Gifted Art Program and live at the beach with surfers all around me, tying art and my love of the ocean into a mitzvah project was of interest to me. After doing some research, I found ReSurf, a U.S. based nonprofit that refurbishes used, donated surfboards and other items, and ships them to underprivileged kids in Israel (Netanya, Tel Aviv, Herzliya, and Akko), among other places.

In addition to the refurbished surfboards, which are uniquely decorated by local artists, ReSurf programs teach surfing and sets up surf clubs in local community centers and public schools. These clubs are maintained by their staff and eventually taken over by the participants to serve the community and its children for generations.

The three-year-program is comprised of surfing lessons, classes on oceanography, and 150 hours of volunteer work, which includes cleaning beaches. Teenage participants also learn how to make short movies (no longer than three minutes) about their experiences, and in their final year of the program, they have the opportunity to become surfing instructors.

ReSurf builds a “ReSurf Shack,” which houses the surfboards, computers, cameras, wetsuits, board shorts, and whatever other tools the teens need to surf, film, and educate themselves about the sport.

Oran Bendelstein, the New Yorker who founded ReSurf, and his evolving volunteer staff of about 150, also host a weeklong leadership training for temporary ReSurf staff on the ground. Once the leadership team leaves—typically after a week—participants keep the program going. The ReSurf team checks in throughout its duration.

Over the coming months, I’m collecting items for ReSurf to send to Israel. If you or someone you know has an old surfboard or wet suit that you’re not using, or film equipment including GoPros or other digital cameras, please let me know. You can bring items to me, or I’m happy to pick them up by the end of June.

Some kids are less fortunate than me, and don’t get to do fun stuff in their dayto- day lives. I’m excited to help support this program that is teaching kids about the ocean and giving them a hobby they can enjoy for many years, while offering opportunities to develop confidence and community through the love of surfing.

Support ReSurf through Hannah Mancoll’s Bat Mitzvah Project by emailing her to arrange for pick up or drop off of items to donate, at Learn more about ReSurf at

by Hannah Mancoll