"All Heart" Mitzvah

Monsey Girl's Mitzvah Project is All Star, All Kosher and All Heart.

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When I was a kid growing up in the Bronx, New York, I first learned about tzedakah by putting coins in a pushke(charity box) before my mother lit the Shabbat or holiday candles. I also knew that there were adults who gave large sums of money to local synagogues and schools and to orphanages and institutes in Israel. As much pride and love as I felt sharing what little I had with the less fortunate, I knew I was a kid and had to wait for ‘big time’ giving until I grew up.

Well, times have sure changed. Today young girls, adolescents who are about to become Bat Mitzvah, are quite more sophisticated and knowledgeable about tzedakah than their predecessors were – and that’s a good thing! These days, it’s so easy for a 6th grader to have a little talk with her Mom, to sit down in front of their desktop or laptop, and find a charity that is close to their heart, and make a commitment to donate in honor of their special event.

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Eliana Shatkin, now 13, is a 7th grader at Monsey New York’s Adolph Schreiber Hebrew Academy of Rockland County (known as ASHAR) talked with her mother Debbie, then did some research.  Eliana tells us how she found our Lev LaLev website and learned about our special girls at the Rubin-Zeffren Home in Netanya. “I related to them because after all, they’re girls…” Eliana said. She continued by remarking, “No matter how hard you think you have it, after reading about the orphans, it helps you to realize how good you’ve got it – and not to take things for granted.” That’s how the relationship between our girls and Eliana recently began.

This past Purim, our young fundraiser used her talents and energy to help our girls. Her Shalach Manot mitzvah project was pretty eclectic as she chose various themes for her gift packs – something for everyone. There was a Sport Star basket, a traditional Purim themed collection, a kiddy bag featuring the beloved Elmo character, and my personal favorite, the “Heart to Heart” - a red fancy heart shaped box filled with heart shaped lollies and flash pops (see photos). Eliana advertised her Shalach Manot project in her school’s newsletter and on our Lev LaLev website. Her mother Debbie and her Grandma Esther lent their helping hands to the stuffing and wrapping, Eliana tells us.

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A little history about Eliana’s mitzvah endeavors…
Debbie Shatkin tells us that her daughter’s mitzvah project began last year (’09) in conjunction with her Bat Mitzvah. Here’s an excerpt from an e-mail we received from Debbie.

“Eliana chose to benefit a small local organization called Ezras Chaya Brocho (named for a childhood friend of mine who died as a young woman). We thought that this would generate a good amount of interest in the local Monsey community, particularly among those people who know Chaya Brocho, z’l and her family. We had no idea at the inception of Eliana’s project how tremendous it would become and how she would be able to raise such a large amount of money. Since she was so successful last year, she wanted to do it again this Purim (and hopes to continue to do so every Purim).  

This year she wanted to find an organization closer to her own "heart" and when we came across the Lev LaLev website in our research of worthy organizations, we both knew immediately that it was perfect.    

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Until Monsey was blasted with an unprecedented pre-Purim snowstorm, she was on target to be even more successful with this year's project than her first.  We are already looking forward to planning for her 3rd annual Mishloach Manot campaign.

Interesting anecdote - with the global response Eliana received through her website, she got an order from a woman in Israel who asked us to ship a few packages to her family and friends in the States.  One of her recipients is actually a teacher in the very school Eliana attends!  Small world:-)

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Get to know our "Mitzvah Star - Eliana"

  • Eliana loves figure skating. She’s been gliding on the frozen surface of the Palisades Ice Rink for more than three years!
  • Eliana’s favorite subject is Science. She now studies biology and credits her teacher for her hands-on approach, using exciting experiments that make the subject fun to learn.
  • Eliana is the second of seven children in her family. Her siblings are her brothers Ari 15, and Eitan 11, a sister Kayla 8, brothers Noah 6 and Yonah 4, and baby sister Maya, a one-year-old.

The origin of this Mishloach Manot Project:

  • Eliana was born a few days before Purim, so her Bat Mitzvah was in that theme.  Her chesed project was the Mishloach Manot campaign and her (small) party was a break-fast meal after Megillah reading on ta'anit Esther.
  • Eliana’s parents Debbie and Jason encourage her mitzvah project.
  • Eliana plans to send a note to our special girls in Netanya and hopes that she will have the opportunity to visit them in Israel some day.

All of us at Lev LaLev, along with our dear girls at the Rubin-Zeffren Home, want to say a collective "Todah Rabbah M'kol haLev" - many thanks from the heart, for the labor of love that Eliana has showered upon us! We look forward to sharing many moments of joy with the Shatkin Family and welcome them to visit our Home when they travel to Israel.


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