NCHS Junior Launches Effort To Raise Money for Civilians Caught in Israel-Hamas Conflict


New Canaan High School junior Tahlia Scherer reached out to us the week prior to Thanksgiving, expressing concerns about civilians caught amid the armed conflict between Hamas and Israel, which declared war following a surprise attack on Oct. 7. She’s raising funds for the American Red Cross, which is providing civilian aid in the Israel-Hamas Conflict—see this GoFundMe page. (Note: Here’s a list of other ways to volunteer and donate, from the Center for International Disaster Information.)

We put some questions to Scherer about her efforts. 

Our exchange follows.


New Canaanite: Tell us about how you came to hear about the Israel-Hamas conflict and what was your initial reaction to it? How do you respond to those who feel that a person must choose a side in order to help?

Tahlia Scherer

Tahlia Scherer: The recent events between Israel and Hamas which began on October 7th, deeply resonated with me for several reasons. As a Jewish teenager, the disturbing and violent events have been profoundly unsettling. In addition to this, having an aunt and cousins who live in Israel, in such close proximity to a warzone, made the conflict that much more tangible to me. 

Initially, I was simply shocked. Witnessing the treatment of civilians, in particular, the vulnerable elderly, women, and children, was both heartbreaking and simply incomprehensible. I kept reading and seeing news reports detailing the unspeakable acts committed against children and I couldn’t help but see that there was an utter lack of humanity in our world. It was hard for me to sit idly by and not do anything to help.

For those who exploit the conflict to propagate hatred or who succumb to the polarizing influence of the media, I’d like to emphasize the importance of considering the civilians caught in the crossfire. In such times as these, instead of choosing a side, I feel it is imperative—regardless of one’s religion, background, and identity—to transcend the divisive narratives and focus on the lack of humanity in the conflict.

I encourage others to adopt a similar perspective—to humanize the conflict and not simply choose a side based on preconceived notions or views. What if it was your mother, child, or grandparent in the midst of such turmoil? I wish for others to empathize with the real people affected by this conflict, to overcome political or ideological opinions, and to see that there are real faces and bodies beyond the growing number of casualties. 

What are you proposing to do to help civilians?

I think one of the best ways to get involved would be to donate to humanitarian organizations that are there on the ground, in the warzone, actively helping civilians – whether that be providing emergency health services, needed food and supplies, or otherwise supporting those who have lost family members amid this conflict. 

Tell us about how you chose your beneficiary organization? 

Given the divisive and polarizing nature of the conflict, it required a significant amount of research to find an organization that would equally benefit civilians on both sides of the conflict. My goal was always to find a way to assist with humanitarian efforts in both Israel and Gaza – to help those caught in the crossfire. The Red Cross seemed like the best option. National Red Cross and Red Crescent societies such as Magen David Adom and The Palestine Red Crescent Society have been working on the ground to aid civilians who have borne the brunt of the conflict. The American Red Cross has stated that its “staff and volunteers in Israel and Gaza are providing life-saving aid and emergency services, supporting reunification for families of those held hostage or detained, and working to restore essential services in the most impacted areas.” We are looking to support these efforts.

What are some other ways that people here can help support those directly affected by the conflict?

If people are looking to help support civilians, the best way is to donate. We have created a GoFundMe in which funds go directly to the Red Cross. This is an accessible and impactful way for people to get involved in aiding civilians. 

What is your hope for the region?

While this is a lofty goal, I hope for peace in the region. The repercussions of the ongoing conflict are not only detrimental to individuals in Israel or people in Gaza but to people globally. Currently, finding a definitive resolution to the deep and long-standing conflict in that region seems challenging. Nevertheless, my heartfelt wish is for the safe return of those held hostage and for civilians across the region to be provided with the essential aid they need in this time of crisis.

2 thoughts on “NCHS Junior Launches Effort To Raise Money for Civilians Caught in Israel-Hamas Conflict

  1. So happy to hear of Tahlia’s efforts to provide aid to those in desperate as a result of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. However, in your opening, you say there was surprise attack in Gaza. Hamas entered Israel and slaughtered 1,400 Jews. Speaking truth to this horrible act is the only way to prevent it from happening again. Thank you Tahlia for your commitment to helping the innocent victims.

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