a social media post from the “Give A Smile” campaign

The Coronavirus has impacted us all. In none is this more felt than in the life of ZAKA Search and Rescue founder Yehuda Meshi Zahav. As an ultra-orthodox Israeli, he has been pushing for more strict regulations to prevent the spread of the deadly disease in Haredi communities throughout the country. His cause hit home when he lost his mother, father, and brother to Covid-19 because of a lack of adherence to social distancing and other preventative measures in their community.

Meshi Zahav has saved so many lives while honoring those whose lives have been lost. He works tirelessly to guide ZAKA in its mission to bring aid to nations after natural disasters, train and implements paramedics in neighborhoods around the world, properly honor the deceased, and more. Yehuda Meshi Zahav’s unyielding spirit reflects his clear divine motives that shine through his actions, echoing Mordechai’s message to Queen Esther in the Purim story: “Who knows? Perhaps this is why God has placed you here (Esther 4:14).” Indeed, Meshi Zahav has found his calling.

Emotionally inundated by the loss of his family in such a short amount of time, ZAKA’s founder now looked to the world for support, to the people whose lives he has touched. That is why ZAKA launched in February the “Give A Smile” which aimed to inspire people from all over the globe to do random acts of kindness to comfort Yehuda Meshi Zahav and instill meaning in his grief. The response to their campaign was overwhelming: over 500 smiles and other random acts of kindness were given by people from the Americas, Africa, Europe, Asia, and Oceania. To help raise his spirits, ZAKA compiled a list of names of those who gave these selfless deeds to ZAKA’s cause into a book for Meshi Zahav to help give him hope in his time of grief.

ZAKA is thankful to all who gave their time and love to the “Give A Smile” campaign. Inspiring collaborations like the “Give A Smile” project are a testament to us all. The project reiterates that the ZAKA worldwide family will always be there to lend a helping hand, no matter the tragedy. May Yehuda Meshi Zahav be comforted among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.