There are many fulfilling and meaningful Mitzvah Projects available for Bnai Mitzvah and visiting families to do in Israel. Here are a few suggestions:
Yad Sarah helps with free or low cost services to help the frail and the disabled as well as victims of terror, children with special needs and homebound older adults. Though Yad Sarah is best known for lending medical equipment such as wheelchairs and oxygen machines, its volunteers also drive the injured to medical appointments, help adults and children function independently in our day centers, provide in-home geriatric dental care and advocate for victims of elder abuse.
Here are a few suggestions for a Bnai Mitzvah Project:
Tour Yad Sarah House in Jerusalem, including Yad Sarah’s unique Play Center for Special Needs Children, Toy Library and the Day Rehabilitation Center.
View a brief video and learn how Yad Sarah’s 6,000 volunteers have helped more than 380,000 people in Israel last year.
Assemble a walker: Volunteers at Yad Sarah’s Lending Service distribute walkers to the frail and the injured.
Purchase party favors or general gifts from Yad Sarah's gift shop, featuring charming hand-crafted items made at Yad Sarah. You can also shop for these items online.
Enjoy lunch with your guests in our cafe.
For more information:
HAZON YESHAYA SOUP KITCHENS
Hazon Yeshaya (http://www.hazonyeshaya.org) is Israel’s leading humanitarian organization fighting poverty and hunger. They invite bar/bat mitzvah kids and their families to volunteer in their Jerusalem soup kitchen as a way to incorporate chesed into their special occasion. Bnei Mitzvah can also choose to become a Mitzvah Twin and sponsor Hazon Yeshaya’s Bar Mitzvah and Bat Mitzvah celebrations at the Western Wall for orphans and children from abusive or dysfunctional homes. You can donate or fundraise $1,200 per child, which covers the cost of the celebration plus tefillin for a boy, or a siddur and jewelry gift for a girl.
The Jaffa Institute was established in 1982 as a private, non-profit, multi-service social agency to assist severely disadvantaged children and their families. Our mission is to provide educational, recreational and social enrichment programs to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty found in the communities of Jaffa, south Tel Aviv, and Bat Yam, and support each child's self-esteem so that he/she can evolve into a healthy, educated and productive adult. Through over 30 different initiatives our programs reach 4,000 citizens annually. In 2001, the Institute was awarded the President’s Prize for Most Outstanding Voluntary Organization.
Ezrat Avot's Senior Center offers social, cultural, educational, nutritional and counseling services to senior citizens of diverse backgrounds who live at home, often in abject poverty and isolation. Ezrat Avot also runs a meal delivery program, in which nutritious meals, tailored to seniors' dietary requirements are personally delivered to the ill and homebound needy elderly by the organization's kind volunteers. For more information, please visit our website www.ezratavot.org .
If you are going to be in Israel for your bar or bat mitzvah, there are many ways to 'do a mitzvah' and volunteer for Ezrat Avot:
Help out in Ezrat Avot's kitchen: cook and bake food for needy seniors.
Leket Israel (formerly known as Table to Table) www.leket.org, established in 2003, is a partnership between the non-profit, private and civic sectors that seeks to maximize the use of excess food to respond to the needs of hungry individuals living in Israel. Leket Israel collects high quality, excess food from catered events, corporate cafeterias, factories, army bases and farms. This food is subsequently delivered to emergency food, enrichment and empowerment programs located throughout Israel. All the food that Leket collects would otherwise be discarded.
The following describes Leket Israel's three volunteer programs:
Sandwiches For Kids Initiative:
For more information, contact Shaked at 09-744-1757 ext. 108.
Shekel is a non-profit organization that offers community services for people with special needs. Their
KIDS FOR KIDS
KIDS FOR KIDS is dedicated to easing the emotional and physical suffering of those directly and indirectly affected by terrorism here in Israel. Our many therapeutic programs include: Digital Storytelling, Footsteps, Grief Recovery Support, hospital and home visits, direct financial assistance etc. You can learn more about our organization and its various programs by clicking on our website http://www.kidsforkids.net/site8.aspx .
• “Operation Suitcase”-- bring items that have been donated to the kids and are waiting to be brought to Israel.
A PACKAGE FROM HOME
“A Package From Home” sends thousands of packages to Chayalim Bodedim (soldiers without family in Israel) and combat soldiers. Each package contains items for the soldiers and a letter of appreciation from children and adults from all over the world for their part in securing our country. For more information, and to find out what items you can bring in your luggage from abroad for the soldiers, go to http://www.apackagefromhome.org/
Hair Donation--taken from http://www.zichron.org/wigs_e.php
One of the most serious emotional hardships that children with cancer have to deal with comes when their hair falls out as a result of chemotherapy. At this point, the children begin to look very different from what they were used to and some respond very badly. In some cases, it is the “straw that breaks the camel’s back.” The children are ashamed to spend time with their friends. “The looks and whispers behind our backs are the worst of all,” say the children candidly.
To minimize the difficulties, Zichron Menachem arranges a temporary replacement for the children and a staff of trained professionals comes to fit a wig for each boy or girl that wants one.
We gratefully accept hair donations that meet the following criteria:
Hair should be braided and tied with a rubber band at both ends before cutting
Hair needs to be a minimum of 12.5 inches or 30 cm when braided.
Please mail braids to:
Zichron Menachem, P.O. Box 16383, Jerusalem, Israel 91163
ONE FAMILY FUND
OneFamily was founded in September 2001 when twelve year-old Michal Belzberg of Jerusalem cancelled her own Bat Mitzvah party to contribute the funds to the orphans, bereaved families, and wounded victims of terrorism.
The International Bar/Bat Mitzvah twinning program keeps this idea constantly before us, as we continue to help victims of terror, especially those victims who themselves are about to mark their own entry into adulthood.
As you celebrate your Bar or Bat Mitzvah, you are invited to mark this special occasion by twinning with a victim of terrorism in Israel. We can tailor the program to meet what you want to accomplish.
· Many kids decide to include a note with the invitation to the Bar or Bat Mitzvah. In the note, you ask that instead of gifts, you have decided to ask your friends and relatives to assist victims of terrorism in Israel. Donations to OneFamily are welcomed. Donations can either be made by credit card over our website, or by check made out to OneFamily. In either case, please earmark the donation in honor of the celebration.
· In other cases, the boy or girl decides to allocate a either a certain amount or a percentage of gifts to help victims of terrorism.
· Or their parents can make a donation in conjunction with the celebration.
This support can help a terror victim around the same age to rebuild their life after the horrors of an attack. Some of them need computers to help them with homework or if they are in hospital and want to keep up with the world. There are others who need help paying tuition for school. Larger amounts can provide financial assistance to the family of a victim for a whole year – something that can be quite meaningful for a boy or girl celebrating a Bar or Bat Mitzvah. And even larger amounts can help pay for a larger event for many teenaged victims to help them celebrate a holiday or attend a day of fun.
OneFamily will provide you with the profile of a victim of terrorism who you can help in conjunction with your own celebration. We will also enable you to make contact with the victim you are helping, either by mail, email or phone (not all victims have access to the internet). If you will be visiting Israel, we can arrange for you to meet with them and get to know them better. That way, a real connection can be forged, and perhaps a lasting friendship can develop from this act of kindness.
ISRAEL BAR/BAT MITZVAH TWINNING-AISH HATORAH
Imagine the special meaning and joy you will experience when you twin your simcha with a boy or girl in Israel!
On this special occasion of your Bar or Bat Mitzvah, you can really do a MAJOR MITZVAH by having your family sponsor a young boy or girl who needs assistance in order to have their own simcha. The families of these boys and girls immigrated to Israel from the Former Soviet Union. They therefore have special needs in adjusting to life in a new country and many still need to learn the basics about Judaism.
Many Russian-Israelis cannot afford to celebrate a Bar/Bat mitzvah, and we provide all of the items needed to make their simcha. For many of these families, this will be the first Bar/Bat Mitzvah in generations. You can get to know the Bar/Bat Mitzvah child that you sponsor through correspondence and picture exchanges.
Please visit our website at: http://www.simcha-twinning.com
For more information, please contact Russell Myers firstname.lastname@example.org (Tax receipts issued)