Beards set to raise charity funds

A group of students and youth organisation workers will raise money for charity by being sponsored to grow their beards during the Omer.

Members of Marom, Noam, RSY-Netzer, and LJY-Netzer hope to replicate the success of "Movember", the moustache-growing cancer fundraiser held every November.

They will use the hair-cutting prohibition of the 50-day period between Pesach and Shavuot to encourage friends and family to donate money.

Proceeds will be donated to the Israeli non-profit organisation African Refugee Development Center (ARDC), which helps asylum-seekers build a life in Israel.

When someone sees a friend update Facebook with a beard picture they will hopefully join in

Yoav Guttman, Marom fieldworker and chief of campus strategy, said: "Beard-growers will be empowered by the change they can make, and their friends and family can join them. This will hopefully be the first of many future Jewish 'Movembers' during the Omer."

Noam's Richard Sarsby said: "We are hoping that this will become an inter-movement success.

"Ahead of the campaign we have organised a group of beard-growers including young professionals in London, students from Leeds, Bristol, and other British universities, as well as movement workers.

"Hopefully when someone sees their friend update their Facebook status with a photo of their shaggy beard, they will join in."

Josh Dubell of LJY-Netzer said the beard-growers had chosen ARDC because the charity "fits in well to the time of year, with the exodus from Egypt. Refugees enter the Holy Land after a long and dangerous trek in the Sinai desert."

Gap year students from the organisations also visit the charity in Tel Aviv during their time in Israel.

Mr Dubell will also approach Liberal synagogues to see if community members will join the fundraising efforts.

To make a donation visit: www.justgiving.com/teams/omerbeards

    Last updated: 11:57am, April 14 2011