In a time where many skeptics speak of the selfish nature of this next generation, JCFS has had the incredible pleasure of seeing just the opposite: a variety of teens and tweens looking to give back to their communities. From collecting sports equipment to giving a portion of their B’nai Mitzvah gifts, young individuals throughout Chicago have designated JCFS as the recipient of many acts of generosity. These acts prove that these B’nai Mitzvahs are ready to be counted as an adult in our community.
Recently, JCFS worked with Emma Schwartz, who belongs to Am Shalom in Glencoe. Emma, as part of her Bat Mitzvah project, set out to collect art supplies and school supplies to benefit a number of programs at JCFS including the Therapeutic Day School. Pictured above showcasing her collection, Emma was proud to display the pom-poms, glitter sticks, and every other imaginable art item at her Bat Mitzvah celebration. She also took the opportunity to tell her friends and family about some of the programs that would be aided by the collection—in essence becoming an advocate in a real and tangible way for those less fortunate.
Emma had the opportunity to personally drop off her collection at JCFS’ Joy Faith Knapp Children’s Center, where she received a tour of the Therapeutic Day School and the Integrated Pediatric Intervention rooms. Emma was able to see just exactly where her art supplies would make a difference: for kids with special needs through JCFS’ Family Common’s program; for teens receiving care in our alternative school and for pre-schoolers with developmental delays learning their ABC’s.
When asked about becoming a bat mitzvah and how this collection project connected with her Torah reading, Emma replied:
In [my] Torah portion, Moses is talking about how it is great to stand up and be resolute. This relates to my Mitzvah project because I stood up for JCFS and helped them by asking friends and family who were so amazingly generous. [I also] donated money I earned myself to what I think is a special place.
Can you hear the pride in her statement? It looks like there is hope for this next generation after all.
To learn more about how you can invite JCFS to be part of your B’nai Mitzvah, please contact Elizabeth Judd at 312-673-2726.
JCFS is a partner in serving our community, supported by the Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation.