Twin a Bar Mitzvah
by Shalvi Waldman
0 Comments | Sunday, January 25, 2015
, Big Brothers and Big Sisters Program
, Bar Mitzvah Project
Help us improve Israeli families lives in Israel
From the donor, Refael S., Manhattan
"I am able to make a good parnassa, and for me, part of expressing my gratitude is sharing what I have with others. By donating to Yad Eliezer I feel that I am half of a meaningful partnership that improves Jewish lives. As an older single, I wanted to give tzedakahh in a way that would have personal meaning to me. When I was almost Bar Mitzvah, my father took me to our Rav to put on tefillin for the first time. I remember the feelings of yearning and connection that I felt, along with the fresh new scent of shiny leather straps. As the years go by, and I have yet to build a home of my own, I wait impatiently for the opportunity to share such a moment with my own son. Meanwhile, though, I can provide tefillin for boys whose families can’t afford them on their own, and this is deeply meaningful to me.
"I found Yad Eliezer by looking online for a tzedakah organization that sponsors tefillin
. When I saw on their website that they have a four-star rating on Charity Navigator I realized that this was a trustworthy organization that I could give to with confidence. After speaking to Meira from the Yad Eliezer office, I became really excited at the prospect of giving each boy a one-time spiritual gift that he would use every day for the rest of his life. Yad Eliezer’s twinning program
works with wholesalers who provide quality kosher tefillin and new clothing for the boys at discount prices, so I knew that I was getting the best deal around, both financially and spiritually! Now, every morning, when I don my tefillin, I know that there are young men in Israel who are putting on tefillin as a result of my donation, and that means the world to me. I know some of the details of the families that I helped � and continue to help. It has become more than a contribution; I feel a personal connection to them. So when Meira called to tell me that one of the Bar Mitzvah boys who I sponsored had lost his mother, and that the family was struggling, I felt deeply gratified to be able to provide them with warm clothing and nutritious food.
"Jews are all responsible for each other, right? I bring warmth to their homes, and they bring warmth to my heart. A genuine partnership.
The Recipient: Chevroni Family
"Dear Mommy, I miss you, I think of you every day, sometimes at every moment. Your shoes are too big for me to fill. I’m only seventeen; and I’m not ready to be carrying all of this on my shoulders. Today is a year since Rafi’s bar mitzvah, and next week will be your first yahrtzeit. How did you know to make the bar mitzvah a month early? Only you had the intuition and consideration of others to know that if the celebration had taken place on Rafi’s birthday you wouldn’t have been there. If we had waited, there probably wouldn’t have been any celebration at all. It isn’t easy for me. I try to stay strong � maybe by writing to you I will reconnect to your strength.
"Aharon was here for a visit last month. He came to see the family, and it’s nice to have an older brother who cares about us. I thought that Abba would be more considerate after Aharon gave us all of his savings to fix the leak in the roof, have the electricity turned back on and buy food, but Abba didn’t even smile and say thank you. What can I do? Now Aharon went back to his job in NY, and I’m on my own again. I know I’m not totally alone; Rabbi Eli Ya’akobi from Yad Eliezer helps me. He called me after you passed away and asked me to come to his office. I was a little nervous, but I remember how you thanked him at the Bar Mitzvah for helping us with the celebration and with the purchases of Rafi’s tefillin and new clothing. The next day was rainy but I went to his office after school anyway. He asked me lots of questions: How we’re managing, if there is food at home, do we have sweaters. I was very embarrassed, but I sensed that he really cared, so I told him the truth. No, we don’t have sweaters. Except for little Ruti who has the sweater that I wore when I was her age. I tried to sew up the holes, but I’ve never been very good at sewing. I told him that I’ve been trying to learn how to cook, but I can’t cook when there is no food in the house. Occasionally I make a little money babysitting, but I prefer to spend it slowly and just buy bread and margarine. I told him that it’s hard to keep up with my school work, while also making sure that the home stays clean and the clothing is washed. I thanked him for the Big Brothers who have been mentoring Rafi and Meir. I couldn’t meet his eyes, I was so ashamed to be crying in front of him. But when I finally looked up I saw that his eyes were also red. Rabbi Yaakobi handed me some tissues. Then he told me he'd help me set up a bank account to receive the money sent by a generous donor in NY to help with specific needs. Next, Rabbi Yaakobi's office called the donor, the same one who had helped us with the Bar Mitzvah and Rafi's tefillin. The kindhearted donor promised that we would soon have food and warm clothing.
"Ima, I never imagined that he would do as much as he did. He transferred money to the account as soon as it was opened, and told me to buy coats and winter clothes for the family
. He said that the rest should be used for food. Finally, I can experiment in the kitchen with real ingredients! He also arranged for us to get a food box each month from Yad Eliezer
. Ima, I miss you; you were my everything. Now I’m alone, but I have Yad Eliezer by my side. I feel your prayers from above, and I’m sure that the good people from Yad Eliezer, and those who are helping them help us, are your emissaries. Please pray for me. Pray that the boys succeed in their studies, that Abba should be healthy, and Ima, pray for me to be strong."