Lori and Blake Rogolsky speak with Inside Our Home editor, Chava Yelloz
Whether it’s planning a birthday party, shopping for a new winter wardrobe or running a charity drive for a mitzvah project, you can count on a mother and daughter team to rise to the occasion. Moms and their daughters are dream teams, as proven by the amazing accomplishments of this dynamic duo who are both bundles of positive energy!
How did they find Lev LaLev?
The duo’s Mom, Lori Rogolsky tells us her daughter Blake used keywords like “orphans, Israel, and orphanage” when she googled her search for a special project in honor of her upcoming Bat Mitzvah to be held on August 27, 2011 at the Marlboro Jewish Center –Congregation Ohev Shalom. A few months ago, Blake, who is into stage acting, auditioned for a play about orphans. After her try-out, she had a vision and a plan. She wanted to concentrate on doing something for girls her own age - girls she could relate to who are also about to celebrate their bat mitzvah.
Making her decision
Blake, a mature and savvy 12 year old with a serious side, also possesses a bubbly and charming personality. She explained that it was easy finding The Lev LaLev Fund’s Rubin-Zeffren Children’s Home in Netanya on the net. After surfing then navigating the site and reading about our very special girls and their plight, she shared her newfound information with her Mom. They contacted the New York office and began a warm relationship with our secretary, Chavi Lieberman. She helped Lori and Blake channel their energies to focus on helping Miri, one of the girls at the Home, who would become a Bat Mitzvah, just like Blake.
What’s Really Important
The more Blake and her Mom learned about Miri and our Home, the more enthusiastic they became in their desire to help give her the joy of a special day. Blake tells us that although it’s so much fun to search for the right dress and shoes, think about a new hair style and inviting friends and family to dance and enjoy, what’s really important is: “…becoming a Jewish citizen – learning to read Hebrew, study the Torah portion, and realizing it’s just the beginning of doing the right things as a young Jewish woman.”
Blake and Lori’s Dedication
In the past few months, Lori and Blake received tzedaka boxes – adorable pink plaid decorated charity canisters, shipped to their home by Chavi. Mother and daughter set out in their neighborhood placing boxes. Besides dropping the canisters off, they explained our girls’ challenges to the shopkeepers. Blake also wrote a 5 x 7 neon colored card to place alongside each box so that contributors would know more about the Children’s Home. Mother and daughter placed 20 tzedaka boxes in establishments like clothing boutiques, a bakery, and restaurants. And, like clockwork, every two weeks, Blake and her Mom, or sometimes her father Alan schleps along, go to collect the cash from the boxes. Blake also placed a notice in her synagogue’s newsletter that reaches 700 families. Blake, an all-around 7th grade student at the Marlboro Middle School, also keeps a log of her collections.
Getting Her Message Out
Blake also sent a mass e-mail to more than 100 addresses that include her friends and family – telling them about her decision to support the Children’s Home. She provided a personalized link to her very own fundraising campaign page where people can read about her mission to help Miri. Blake’s 8-year-old sister, Elexa, a student at the Asher Holmes Elementary School, also distribute white rubber bracelets with hot pink letters and a heart to their friends and contributors. The bracelet’s message: “I support orphaned girls in Israel - Lev LaLev Fund.” Although it seems unbelievable, on the first night Blake began her campaign, she met her original monetary goal. She then decided to keep going to earn more funds for others girls.
Making a Difference
Blake admits that her choice for a mitzvah project was not the easiest. After talking to her and her Mom for a few minutes, it was evident that neither one is the type of individual who chooses the easy way. Blake tells us, “Just taking 10-20 minutes of my time each day can make a huge difference in someone else’s life.” After watching Lev LaLev’s CD, Blake says, “Seeing and learning about the girls at the Home, who were either abused by their parents, or have tragically lost them, made me so appreciative of my life.” She continued, “…but at least the girls have each other – like sisters.” Lori is so proud that her daughter decided to help a charity with meaning, Lev LaLev, because she can see the direct impact her work is having on a girl her own age.
Learning About Charity Young
This is not Blake’s first experience with tzedaka – charity. In the past she has been involved in helping a soup kitchen and in food/canned goods collection for the needy. Lori Rogolsky tells us that her belief is that a kid should be exposed to and get involved with a charity project a year in advance of their right of passage. This way, she says, acts of kindness and mitzvahs will be ingrained in them.
Mother Daughter Bonding and More
Lori says that this mitzvah project has surpassed her expectations of a mother-daughter experience and is more rewarding than she imagined. She is also proud of the awareness towards the cause that was created through Blake’s campaign. On Nov. 30th, their local New Jersey Jewish News-Monmouth edition published an article entitled “Helping Girls with Heart” (view here) that generated interest and got people talking about Lev LaLev.
More About Blake…
Besides her busy school schedule, rehearsal for plays and being a member of ShowChoir, Blake spends two weekly sessions of two-and-a-half to three hours each at her synagogue’s religious school in preparation for her Bat Mitzvah. She is learning to read prayers in Hebrew and says it’s her biggest accomplishment. She is also currently in her school’s production of Fiddler on the Roof where she portrays a villager named Avram. Blake aspires to travel to Israel some day, and of course wishes to include a visit at the Children’s Home.
Lori tells us that in March, Blake plans on doing even more to benefit the girls at the Children’s Home by selling Passover candy.
Also in the planning stage is Blake’s Bat Mitzvah party theme ~the Kotel, Jerusalem’s Wailing Wall. Guests will be asked to write prayer and request notes that will be sent to Israel and placed in the wall.
For opportunities to help the girls at the Children’s Home celebrate their upcoming bat mitzvahs, click here to learn more.