As parents, we strive to educate our children towards sensitivity, awareness, and generosity. We know that starting from birth, children are focused on self-preservation. As they develop throughout childhood years, we as parents teach our children to start to consider the needs of others, in addition to the needs of themselves. In doing such, we begin to train them to look beyond themselves, identify a need, and become a giver. What better time to do this than when our child begins to mature-when they start to cognitively and emotionally step beyond the bounds of “me” and become part of a community?
In the Jewish world, that time is Bar or Bat Mitzvah age. At twelve and thirteen, Jewish Law and community hold our children to different standards, expecting of them to begin to take responsibility for their relationship with God and with man. And yet, so often, we celebrate this tremendous milestone with an extravagant party, a lavish weekend, an affair whose sole stated purpose is…ME! And while that can have value for our children in providing them with a positive sense of self, a genuine feeling of care and love from family and friends, and recognition of the stage they have entered, parents often neglect using this time to teach their maturing child to look beyond themselves.
And then there are families like Natasha Sprungin’s family. Natasha, a recent bat mitzvah girl was imbued with the values of giving. Natasha was encouraged and subsequently motivated, by the early age of 12, to see the plight of another and use her Bat Mitzvah commemoration to provide for those who are not as lucky as she. Natasha decided that she wanted to help Israeli children, who could not otherwise do so, have exposure to technology to advance their education in English and computers. Natasha turned to Yad Ezra V’Shulamit, knowing them as the premiere address for support for the needy in Israel. With her generous Bat Mitzvah donation, Natasha was able to provide a computer station to the Children’s Center, providing an amazing tool which assists Yad Ezra V’Shulamit staff in helping the children to have a positive outlet for recreation, and more importantly, to advance themselves educationally and academically.
Everyone knows that in this generation, computers have become key resources for both educational and professional advancement. And yet, even today, computers are a luxury which needy families simply cannot afford. Now, with this special Bat Mitzvah donation, the children who frequent Yad Ezra V’Shulamit’s Children’s Centers can be equipped with modern technology to get the most out of learning and growing. Imagine these children being able to play a computer game to practice English spelling or math skills! Think of them learning how to use basic computer functions, a critical skill in the modern workplace! These computers are not only a solution for the here-and-now, they are an investment in the future of needy children in Israel! By teaching our children to make use of their Bar and Bat Mitzvah’s to donate to Yad Ezra V’Shulamit, we are also making that investment in our own children! A true win-win situation!