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New York - A Year After Her Death, Memorial Projects Continue Daniella Moffson’s Legacy Of Kindness

Published on: January 26, 2017 09:15 PM
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file - Daniella Moffson at Camp Simcha file - Daniella Moffson at Camp Simcha

New York - One year after the death of a young woman from Manhattan who lived to help others, her legacy lives on through a long list of projects that are being perpetuated in her memory.

As previously reported on VIN News (http://bit.ly/2jW0I0O), 21 year old Daniella Moffson had just completed a compassionate mission in Honduras when she was in a fatal accident on her way to the airport. Moffson, a Barnard student who aspired to become a pediatric oncologist, was one of three who died in the crash.

Over the past year, numerous projects have cropped up as grieving friends and family struggled to cope with a profound sense of loss.

Challah bakes using Moffson’s challah recipe have been held in locations including Australia, Israel, London, South Africa, North Carolina and Boston, popularized on social media with the hashtag #dough4daniella. 

Two toy drives held this winter for OHEL and Jerusalem’s AMIT Beit Hayeled brought in hundreds of toys to benefit needy children and were among several projects orchestrated with the assistance of the Daniella Moffson Foundation.

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Moffson, who spent two summers at Camp Simcha, had a special place in her heart for Chai Lifeline and she had been planning to run last winter in the organization’s Jerusalem marathon.  Teams of runners assembled in Moffson’s memory this year have so far raised more than $110,000 for Chai Lifeline’s January 29th Miami marathon and nearly $6,000 for the March 17th Jerusalem marathon.

FILE - Mofson seen with her pink sidur at the KotelFILE - Mofson seen with her pink sidur at the Kotel

A new cottage, named Beit Daniella, is being constructed in Camp Simcha in Moffson’s memory.  Family and friends are sponsoring the $500,000 project.

“Daniella was really very unique and part and parcel of the camp,” Rabbi Simcha Scholar, director of Camp Simcha told VIN News.  “She was very dedicated and we hope that this will be a living tribute to her.”

Close friend and roommate Ariella Spievack launched her own project in memory of Moffson, printing siddurim embossed with Moffson’s name and a quote from Eishes Chayil.  The siddurim, sold as a fundraiser for Chai Lifeline, were printed with either navy blue or pink covers, the pink a nod to Moffson’s own similarly-hued siddur, one of her most treasured possessions.

In a Facebook post, Spievack spoke of Moffson dedication to tefila, davening three times a day with heartfelt kavana and using her pink siddur every night to say Kriyas Shema.

“I asked her how she managed to wake up early to go minyan despite how late she would stay up studying for her pre-med classes,” wrote Spievack.  “She explained to me with her warm and infectious smile that ‘waking up for minyan is the best way to start my day, it makes me so much more productive throughout the day.’”

Spievack shared that one of the last texts she received from Moffson showed a table set up for Havdala in Honduras, her pink siddur positioned next to the candle on the small wooden table.

“This picture embodies Daniella,” noted Spievack.  “She was strong in her Jewish beliefs, commitment to prayer and to doing acts of loving kindness. Together they energized her and filled her heart.”

Spievack sold 1,300 siddurim from her first printing, with 150 donated to the Columbia/Barnard Hillel and 55 to Midreshet Amit, the seminary where Moffson studied in Jerusalem.  She is currently putting together a second printing to accommodate the overwhelming response she has received for the siddurim which are priced at $36 each.

Moffson’s friends raised $21,000 for the Shalva National Children’s Center at a recent Jerusalem marathon and numerous shiurim have also been held in Moffson’s memory.

At Camp Seneca Lake, which Moffson attended as both a camper and a counselor, the beis medrash has been renamed the Daniella Moffson Beit Medrash and at the Ramaz Upper School, which Moffson graduated in 2012, a special edition Pirkei Avos was compiled including commentaries by both faculty and students. Proceeds from the sale of the sefer will go to a fund that will provide scholarships to Ramaz female students who hope to spend a year studying in an Israeli seminary that emphasizes chesed. 

file - Handout picture provided by the Honduras Firefighters Corps showing minutes after the bus accident where Danielle Moffson was killed in El Canton locality, Honduras, on 13 January 2016. EPA file - Handout picture provided by the Honduras Firefighters Corps showing minutes after the bus accident where Danielle Moffson was killed in El Canton locality, Honduras, on 13 January 2016. EPA

Several events will be held over the next few days to commemorate Moffson’s first yahrtzeit. At the University of Pennsylvania’s Penn Hillel, volunteers will be packing care packages and writing cards for patients at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia on Sunday night and the Columbia University Yavneh will hold a memorial of their own on Monday. 

Chabad.org reported that the Daniella Moffson Foundation is working with Chabad to hold several events in Daniella’s memory in honor of her yahrtzeit ,with a social media campaign encouraging teens to light a Shabbos candle and do a mitzvah in Moffson’s memory.

Rabbi Mendy Kotlarsky of Chabad Lubavitch’s Merkos Suite 302 said that the Moffson family is working with Cahbad to create more long term project’s to honor Daniella’s memory.

“We’re looking to engage and inspire a wider group of Jewish teens and young adults to keep alive all the good that she has done,” said Rabbi Kotlarsky.



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