COVID-19 maps spur enterprising teenagers to launch map of good deeds
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COVID-19 maps spur enterprising teenagers to launch map of good deeds

200 constructive efforts marked on interactive map in first week, as word of initiative spreads globally

Sue Surkes is The Times of Israel's environment reporter.

Screenshot of the The Doing Good Map section for Israel, showing good deeds being carried out all over the country.
Screenshot of the The Doing Good Map section for Israel, showing good deeds being carried out all over the country.

Enterprising teenager Nadav Weiss was in lockdown with his family in Jerusalem earlier this month, watching on the news how coronavirus was advancing ever closer, when he realized that something else was spreading too — good people doing good deeds.

He hooked up with a couple of friends, one of them with a good grasp of tech, and within days, they launched The Doing Good Map online.

In just a week, the platform has amassed some 200 good deeds from all over Israel and from as far afield as Greece, Italy, the UK, Australia, and the US — and it is growing and spreading all the time.

The interactive site allows anyone doing good to fill in a simple questionnaire. After being checked, the details go up on the site in the language in which they were submitted.

Adding a name or photograph is optional. While there are no contact details, there are links to and logos of various organizations that have been in touch.

The deeds range from helping an elderly person in one’s building, phoning elderly people who are alone (Los Angeles) and donating to a hospital in Bergamo (a city at the epicenter of the virus in Italy) to organizing online art classes for teenagers (Athens) and designing and renovating a bakery (pictured below) at a home for children and youth in Kiryat Gat, in southern Israel.

פורסם על ידי ‏מאפיית ילדודס‏ ב- יום שני, 28 במאי 2018

“We believe good is being done all over the world,” said Weiss, 18. “We’re hearing amazing stories from everywhere.”

He added that while the site welcomed details from people of any age, “We’d like to make this an international network of teenagers doing good.”

Weiss explained, “It wasn’t until around [the Jewish festival of] Purim [in March] that the coronavirus really registered with us in Israel.

“After a week, they sent us home from yeshiva [he attends a pre-army religious seminary, called a mechina] and while I was sitting around, I started getting lots of messages about amazing projects. One friend’s mechina went down to the south of the country to help the farmers pick fruit. I’ve got friends all over the country doing similar things, or helping to bring food to elderly people or phoning them, and I thought, wow, we’ve got all of these fantastic people doing incredible things and that deserves a map too.”

Weiss has been working on the project with Eylon Lifschitz, 18, a close friend from school and mechina, and Tehilla Peled, 19, who designed the website. She recently graduated from mechina and will shortly be enlisted into the IDF. Two other friends, Ofer Stolov and Sammy Wurtman, have since joined. All are volunteering.

In the past, Weiss — a graduate of the modern Orthodox Hartman High School in the capital — volunteered at Krembo Wings, a youth movement for children with special needs. He was part of the LEAD leadership training program and, in addition, co-led with Peled TomorrowJLM, which organized speakers every few months to help encourage young entrepreneurs.

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