First from Cantor Lee: As part of the rite of passage for a Jewish teen, the Bar or Bat Mitzvah ceremony (usually at the age of 13), the student is required to design a mitzvah project which entails community service. This is such a unique and beautiful mitzvah project that can inspire all of us, I knew I had to share it! When I asked this amazing teen if I had permission to do so, she replied, "Of course you have my permission to share my project! I would really like it to reach as many people as possible!"
As most of you know, I am now 14 which is a later time to be entering the world as a Bat Mitzvah but also still perfectly okay, to me, I feel unique having this experience during this time of my life while various other changes are already happening around me, such as the beginning of high school and making new friends and new memories. I really wanted my Bat Mitzvah to reflect this. A Bat Mitzvah project usually consists of a good deed that you perform in order to enlighten a difference around you. I took this general idea and tried to make it different and unique in the same way that I am. Instead of executing one or two acts of change, I have decided to implement myself in 14 divergent ways of being so that I am able to perform many individual acts both now and in the future.
I call my project “BE,” this is because I want to inspire people to be their greatest selves and to be whomever they want to be. So for my Bat Mitzvah project, I came up with 14 separate adjectives that I want to become during my time as a Bat Mitzvah. And adjoining each one of these adjectives, is an activity that I can perform to further mold myself into becoming this characteristic. I am now going to read through each characteristic and explain how I have or how I plan to exemplify it.
· Active -- planning to participate in runs to support charity
· Appreciative -- simply say thank you and express to people how much they mean to you, it’s easy
· Artistic -- planning to support a classroom in need of art supplies by raising money through selling art work
· Considerate of the earth -- recycle and pick up trash in the woody areas around my town
· Courageous -- be outgoing and assist a stranger or stand up for people
· Determined -- finish what you start, stay focused and get things done. Personal goal and mitzvah regarding school work.
· Friendly -- always smile and be nice to others, encourage your friends both old and new or in the making, a smell gesture could change someone’s day completely
· Generous -- leave a nice tip at restaurants and such and encourage others to do the same, and just generally remember to give back, keep a tzedakah box
· Happy -- or “gay,” I plan to support others being happy as who they are by raising money for Orlando Foundation with bake sales
· Helpful -- volunteer at a soup kitchen, offer your assistance without having to be asked around the house or elsewhere
· Kind -- show small acts of kindness, left notes in books @ library, leave lucky pennies
· Intelligent-- always strive to learn and share information with others. Helping younger students, such as brother and friends
· Caring -- volunteered at an old folks home and socialized with the patients on Saturdays, we also played games
· You -- be yourself among all of these things, I have personally aimed to achieve this goal and be my best self around everyone
With these 14 separate attributes in trying to repair the world, I hope that was able to and will continue to make whatever small difference I can in this large world; I also want to encourage everyone here to do the same. You don’t have to use these adjectives but you can or you could make up your own; we can never stop improving.
Here is Gabbie, 14 years old
Gabbie volunteering with elderly
Gabbie's Project of putting hearts in Library Books