July 21, 2008
Bar and Bat Mitzvah kids never cease to amaze us with the originality of their mitzvah project creations. Some time ago we spoke with a family in Kansas…the Bar Mitzvah boy was a huge basketball fan and wanted to use that interest in some way to help kids in Israel. He also had some friends who wanted to join in the effort so we suggested a possible connection to The Forgotten People Fund-an all-volunteer group that works in Netanya where there is a large Ethiopian population, most living in very poor surroundings. The FPF volunteers, led by our friends Aida Miller and Anne and David Silverman, establish personal relationships with many individuals and families and help provide them with so many needs-food, education costs, health education, clothing…the list is endless and they truly make a difference. When we put the boys in touch with Aida it did not take long before they came up with a plan. With the funds the boys would raise, a court that had fallen into disrepair at a nearby school in Netanya could be rehabilitated with working lights, resurfacing and possible seating. In addition, the boys purchased 30 basketball jerseys with the team name printed on them and these were hand-delivered to Aida this summer when a local Rabbi traveled to Israel. As one of the boy’s mothers recently wrote …this was a winner of a project all the way around:
Valerie’s boys raised money by hosting mini basketball camps at their home. Mothers in the neighborhood paid the twins to watch their children for a few hours and play basketball with them. Jake and Ethan raised money by "flipping" for FPF. They made a poster highlighting the efforts of FPF and the Ethiopians it serves. They gave a brief introduction about their project, and then collected money from participants at various Jewish events in the community. They played a short game (using a coin flip) and gave the winner a small prize. (The game is actually very clever, so I’ll be happy to provide more details if you need them.)
The bottom line is that the boys raised over $500 on their own. They each decided to donate a percentage of their monetary gifts as well. We hope to send you a check for over $1,000, and the boys are so proud of themselves. We’ve sent photos to Aida of the boys, and she’s sent us photos of the Ethiopian youth. It’s been a wonderful sharing kind of experience. Ethan has expressed to me that he hopes to go to Israel someday soon to see the fruits of his labors and play basketball with the Sapir team!
Yasher koach boys!