Gideon (Gidi) Zilberstein died on September 4, 2016, three days before his fifth birthday. The Hebrew calendar date of his death was Elul 1.
Gidi was all of the wonder and joy of life wrapped up in a small bouncy body. He exuded confidence, happiness, tolerance and acceptance. He made friends with strangers everywhere he went, he saw beauty in things no matter their purpose, and he met any challenge with a giggle and a hop in his step. Gidi was a different kind of kid- he didn’t fall into gender stereotypes or boxes of any kind. He was always true to himself, and always encouraged others to be true to themselves. He brought out the best in everyone he was around with his giggle, his smile, and his remarkable ability to bring joy to any room. From his bright socks to his colorful dresses, from his painted nails to his sparkling eyes, Gidi was quite literally the happiest kid on the block.
Each year in the season of the anniversary of his death, in memory of his beautiful soul and in honor of his important life, we ask friends, family, and strangers alike to engage in random acts of kindness. We can think of no better way to bring some of Gidi’s incredible spirit back to the world than having hundreds of people show kindness to their fellow human beings, bringing smiles in the most unexpected places. Wherever we went, Gidi managed to talk with strangers and make everyone smile. We’d love for some of that Gidi Magic to be present in the weeks spanning the anniversary of his death all the way through his birthday, helping us to smile as we remember his incredible spirit.
This year, the Jewish lunar calendar date Elul 1 begins on the evening of Saturday, August 11th. So from the evening of August 11th until the evening of September 7 (his birthday), we are asking you to try to do acts of random kindness and have your friends do the same. You can leave behind a card that honors Gidi when you do your act. We have hard copies if you live nearby, or you can print some out yourself right here: Kindness Card
Once you’ve done your act in Gidi’s honor (and please don’t feel the need to stop at just one!) join us at the Facebook group page Gidi’s Kindness Project and post what you did and how it made you or the person you gifted with kindness feel. We’d love to have the internet lit up with your stories in honor of Gidi, and be able to feel that he is still, somehow, playing a role in making the world a more beautiful, warm and kindness filled place.
What kinds of acts of random kindness are we talking about? The possibilities are endless, so think big or small! But here are some examples to get your wheels turning:
- Leave flowers at a stranger’s door
- Bring food to the homeless person you pass everyday
- Make sandwiches or cookies for your local firefighters
- Pay for the person’s coffee in line behind you
- Pick up trash everywhere you go
- Collect picture books for your local women and children’s shelter
- Bring toys to the nearby children’s hospital
- Call a friend who’s been having a hard time
- Have your kids make cards for folks in an assisted living facility
- Leave change taped onto a vending machine
- Leave a really nice tip for a waiter
- Collect toiletries for the local homeless shelter
- Bring a loved one an unexpected gift
- Offer to watch a friend’s children for the day so they can have some down time
- Take in your neighbor’s trash cans
- Make a donation to Lambda Legal in Gidi’s name (www.lambdalegal.org/Gidi). We have chosen to support this organization in honor of Gidi because it strives to create equality for all humans, regardless of gender identity or who one chooses to love. Gidi made sure we all know that love is for everyone!
- Make a donation to the Selah House and Carefarm in Gidi’s name (https://missfoundation.org/help-build-the-selah-house – don’t forget to choose Gidi’s Team when asked). We have chosen to support the Selah carefarm in honor of Gidi because it is a place where families who have experienced traumatic loss can come to feel supported and understood alongside the rescued animals who live there. Selah House has become an important place for our family, and we are honored to be a part of it.
Whatever you do, don’t forget to leave a Kindness Card to let everyone know that your act was done in honor of Gidi. And go on to the Facebook group page Gidi’s Kindness Project to let us know all about the kindness you’ve spread in his honor.
Thank you from the bottoms of our hearts. Now go spread some Gidi Magic out there ✨