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Bar & Bat Mitzvah

The best time to give

Mark your milestone celebration with a heartfelt gift to those in need. Here are some worthy causes to consider.

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Donate Charity Give Help Offering Volunteer Concept

JNF

JNF has been at the centre of the community’s simchas for generations. What sets JNF apart is its longstanding commitment to supporting projects in Israel, covering areas such as community development, water solutions and recycling, environmental research and development, agrotech, ecological restoration, and the provision of forests, gardens, playgrounds and recreational areas all over Israel. JNF also supports a wide range of public benevolent projects, assisting special needs, economically challenged and disadvantaged communities, with a particular focus on the country’s periphery and border regions. When you link your simcha with JNF, your guests can donate to JNF in lieu of gifts. JNF can make tzedakah gift-giving simple by directing guests to a customised JNF simcha donation webpage.

Chloe Marton is passionate about making a difference for the people of Israel and she feels a connection to the JNF vision of social wellbeing, helping other children, and contributing to the environment. Chloe decided to use the occasion of her bat mitzvah to encourage donations towards JNF Australia in support of their major project in 2021: Ramat Herzl. This is a new community currently being established in the Southern Negev that will make an enormous difference to the lives of young families in the region.

With assistance from JNF Australia and the Israeli government, the families who will live in Ramat Herzl will help to create an education and technology hub in the southern Negev, and are continuing David Ben Gurion’s dream of developing the land. JNF welcomes you to consider making your bar/bat mitzvah celebration become more meaningful and impactful by choosing to support one of our many projects in Israel.

For more: jnf.org.au/share-my-simcha or 1300 563 563

Jewish Holocaust Centre

Keep the voices of Holocaust survivors alive for your generation. Begin your future by remembering our past. In lieu of gifts, consider using your bar or bat mitzvah as an opportunity to donate to the Jewish Holocaust Centre (JHC). The JHC deeply appreciates donations made in lieu of gifts that provide much-needed support to its education programs. The centre speaks to tens of thousands of students each year, who come to learn about this tragic period in history, particularly focusing on the danger of racism and antisemitism, as well as the powerful lessons for today.

Jayne Josem, CEO and museum director, believes that “b’nei mitzvah gifts are a way that young Jewish people can inspire a better future by supporting programs that can have a transformative impact on other young people in the community.” Lucia Bekinschtein, granddaughter of JHC co-president Pauline Rockman, decided to use her bat mitzvah as an opportunity to raise money for the JHC. For her, the JHC “has always felt like an important place to me, and somewhere I would be proud to support”. “When I was organising my bat mitzvah I knew I wanted to include an option for charity donation in lieu of presents because I felt that it was a better use of the money. I find it inspiring to see the work that the JHC do to educate and spread awareness about the Holocaust and its impact. I was very happy that I was able to raise the money that I did to donate to this cause,” she said. The JHC has also created a dedicated two-hour education workshop called the Holckner B’nei Mitzvah Program, for upcoming bar and bat mitzvah children to meet a survivor and learn important lessons appropriate for their age.

For more: jhc.org.au/support/in-lieu-giving or (03) 9528 1985

Mazon Australia

Mazon Australia – A Jewish Response to Hunger cordially invites you to share your good fortune with those who are suffering from food insecurity by contributing three per cent of the cost of your simcha to help feed the less fortunate in our community. Historically, rabbis did not allow celebrations to begin until the community’s poor and hungry people were seated and fed. Today, Mazon Australia’s supporters symbolically observe this tradition and share their blessings of abundance by donating three per cent of the cost of their simcha to help feed hungry people of all faiths and backgrounds.

Mazon Australia’s projects include three street pantries, where the community can “give what you can, take what you need”. Throughout the pandemic Mazon Australia has supported the food insecure by providing soup bags full of fresh ingredients and a recipe for a delicious soup. During Succot, it delivered boxes of fruit and vegetables to residents of a Jewish Care facility, and during Chanukah, it provided latke bags with all of the ingredients to make delicious latkes through Souper Kitchen. Mazon Australia has also supported many organisations who are feeding the hungry.

For more: mazonaustralia.org, streetpantry.org or email mazonaustralia@gmail.com

Magen David Adom

Magen David Adom (MDA), Israel’s medical emergency, ambulance and first aid service and blood services provider, continues to save thousands of lives by responding to over 600,000 calls every year. MDA needs your support today, and in the future, to help ensure that MDA can respond to every call for help wherever and whenever it is needed. Even in the most challenging of times, there is always a reason to celebrate. Jesse and Josh Slade chose Magen David Adom for donations in honour of their bar mitzvahs that were held over Zoom in October 2020.

Their generous donation was in support of MDA’s 2020 Chanukah Campaign “8 Miracles for 8 Days”, and the boys raised enough money to purchase two defibrillators in Israel. Jesse and Josh said, “MDA helps Israeli citizens in need, whether it be in times of medical emergencies or to provide joy and happiness for extremely ill individuals through the Wish Ambulance. The very impressive Blood Bank currently being built will be life-changing for so many individuals – there are so many important and lifesaving projects for one organisation.”

For more: magendavidadom.org.au

Mount Scopus Memorial College

While Mount Scopus focuses on Jewish learning in its b’nei mitzvah program, part of becoming bar and bat mitzvah means students take on the responsibility for performing mitzvot. At Scopus, that responsibility is tangible. A donation to the Scopus Foundation makes a significant difference to our students and our school community.

As the development arm of the college, the Foundation:

  • Raises funds for facilities
  • Supports innovative programs
  • Assists the school’s program for tuition fee relief and bursaries for families who need help to stay at Scopus
  • Contributes to the Fund for the Future
  • Manages the Endowment Fund.

It’s a special mitzvah to share your celebration with others and we are so grateful when Scopus family and friends choose to ask guests for donations to the Scopus Foundation in lieu of gifts. This thoughtfulness and generosity provide real support for current and future students of the College, and all donations are tax-deductible. Giving is made easy by setting up an online giving page on our Foundation website to encourage your loved ones to join in to support the college and our community.

For more: scopusfoundation.org.au/simcha or (03) 9834 0065

Jewish Care

Your bar or bat mitzvah is an important rite of passage. This transition to adulthood hopefully fosters a new-found level of empathy, emotional maturity and a sense of social responsibility. Jewish Care’s B’nei Mitzvah Program doubles the impact you have on the community – through the partnership with the Sunraysia Foundation, all funds raised from your simcha are matched, dollar for dollar. When you join the B’nei Mitzvah Program at Jewish Care, you’ll be directly assisting individuals and families experiencing domestic violence, mental health issues, homelessness and unemployment. Sadly, these social justice programs currently receive little to no government funding. You’ll also be invited to a two-hour volunteering session. Sessions could involve anything from spending time with elders to packing food for those in need. Being part of the Jewish Care B’nei Mitzvah Program is an important step in your tzedakah journey, because a real mensch understands the positive impact they can have on others.

For more: jewishcare.org.au/page/get-involved/bnei-mitzvah-giving or 0419 568 569

UIA

A bar or bat mitzvah is an incredibly important event in one’s life. As you and your family start planning this special milestone, the United Israel Appeal (UIA) would like you to consider helping those who do not have the same privilege. The UIA provides an opportunity to fulfil the mitzvah of tzedakah by supporting one of our bar/bat mitzvah programs in our youth villages. Our Ramat Hadassah Youth Village runs a bar/bat mitzvah program where you can share your special day with someone in need from this youth village. The children who live at this village usually come from disadvantaged backgrounds, and unstable and potentially unsafe homes where their parents may not be able to provide for them.

This village provides a safe haven where they are nurtured, educated, mentored and motivated to change the trajectory of their lives. In most cases, these children have not been able to celebrate this rite of passage and our bar/bat mitzvah program affords them a special opportunity. With your support, students are able to have a bar/bat mitzvah experience, including learning about social issues and Jewish traditions. Through this, they gain a deeper understanding of themselves, Jewish values, their community and how they can make a meaningful contribution to society. A central theme of the UIA program is tikkun olam. Children volunteer at the village and assist those in their communities who are in need. The program culminates in a bar/bat mitzvah ceremony.

One of the key objectives of the bat mitzvah component is to empower girls to gain a worldview in order to strengthen their individual and national identity. The program gives young girls a model and inspiration for them to work towards a better future for themselves, which they do not get at home. UIA’s Ben Yakir Youth Village runs a similar program preparing boys for their bar mitzvahs. Most of these boys are of Ethiopian descent and have not experienced a bar mitzvah. Your generous support for these programs will make a lasting impact on the lives of underprivileged children and will act as a gift that keeps on giving well into the future. Your generosity will truly fulfil the highest level of tzedakah, allowing others to become self-sufficient and to excel – the greatest gift of all.

For more: uiaaustralia.org.au/states/vic or (03) 9272 5533

WIZO

A bar or bat mitzvah is such a significant and memorable milestone in any Jewish child’s life. Sadly, for a variety of reasons, there are many children in Israel who are not fortunate enough to be able to celebrate their bar/bat mitzvah. Women’s International Zionist Organisation (WIZO) supports hundreds of children each year as part of its Bar and Bat Mitzvah Twinning Program. How can you help? For only $180 you will enable an Israeli child in WIZO’s care to celebrate their milestone. This donation enables WIZO to create a memorable ceremony for each participant that they can share with their family. To enhance the experience, they travel to the Kotel and receive a tallit or candlesticks that they will treasure forever.

WIZO is extremely proud of our Bar and Bat Mitzvah Twinning Program. However, WIZO cannot provide this valuable simcha without the generous support of the Jewish community in the Diaspora. Share in the happiness of your upcoming simcha, or that of a friend’s, by sponsoring the bar or bat mitzvah of Israeli boys and girls for $180 each.

For more: wizovic.org.au or (03) 9272 5588

Make-A-Wish Australia & Israel Shared Appeal

Thousands of children and teens in Israel and Australia are diagnosed with a critical illness every year. Make-A-Wish takes each wish child on a unique wish journey where they anticipate and experience their most cherished wish coming true. Imagining their greatest wish gives sick children something to look forward to, building positivity and resilience. A wish journey complements medical treatment at a time it is really needed. Whether it’s building a snowman for the first time, swimming with dolphins or becoming a superhero, each wish journey creates anticipation, lasting memories and uses positive psychology to give critically ill children and their families a feeling of hope.

All donations (tax-deductible) to the Make-A-Wish Australia & Israel Shared Appeal are shared between the two countries, which means every bar/bat mitzvah child supporting the charity will be changing lives for critically ill children in both Australia and Israel. Zoe and Jamie Kahane chose to support the charity for their recent simcha: “Being a kid, I can relate to those kids feeling isolated. I miss my friends if I don’t see them even for one day. I can’t imagine not seeing them for months on end. Having their wish gives them something to look forward to and I wanted to help contribute to that, ” said Zoe. “I chose Make-A- Wish because I like the concept of distracting the kids from their sicknesses. It makes me happy that I have helped to make a difference in their lives,” Jamie said.

For more: makeawish.org.au/shared-appeal or 1800 032 260

Cancer Council Victoria

Be part of the fight against cancer when you celebrate your bar or bat mitzvah. Cancer Council Victoria is here to help reduce the impact of cancer for all Victorians. To be part of this important work, ask family and friends to make a donation instead of giving gifts at your bar/bat mitzvah. By creating a page for donations instead of gifts on the Cancer Council Victoria’s Fundraise Your Way site, your generosity will make a lasting contribution to the fight against cancer. Funds raised allow Cancer Council Victoria to fund lifesaving cancer research, world-class prevention programs and support individuals and their families through a cancer journey.

Donations will go towards vital research, which paves the way to develop new techniques for the detection and treatment of cancer. In 2019, Cancer Council Victoria invested $20 million in cancer research, funding universities, research institutes and hospitals. To help Cancer Council Victoria in its work, simply create a dedicated fundraising page for your bar/bat mitzvah and send the link to family and friends. One-off donations in honour of the occasion are also welcome.

For more: cancervic.org.au/giveincelebration

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