Before her bat mitzvah last June, Devorah Simon, then a 6th grader at Bais Yaakov of Queens, decided to do a chesed project in honor of her special day. With the help of her mother Michelle, and the universal reach of Google, Lev LaLev was easily found and contacted. And, since the Children’s Home in Netanya was restructuring and enlarging their library book collection, what better gift could Devorah think of but creating colorful tote bags for the girls to carry around their library books in.
Devorah decided to create these bags with a natural theme that included animal and flower patterns. She used stencils and fabric markers to accomplish her designs. Devorah’s classmates, younger sisters, and mother all contributed their time and artistic talents ~ spreading the mitzvah to many people. To date they have completed approximately 70 cotton totes to send to the precious girls at the Home.
Decorating library book bags was definitely an apropos project for Devorah, whose mother Michelle told us is an avid reader. She also plays the piano, having attended lessons both summers following 2nd and 3rd grades. Since receiving instruction, she has continued her piano practice strictly by ear and has performed mini concerts for her family at Chanukah time. Recently, Devorah began strumming the guitar and has mastered some Hebrew songs. Having a musical ear, Devorah is not taking guitar lessons but is teaching herself to play by ear.
There is no question that Devorah’s mother is proud of her daughter and the connection she has made to the girls in Israel as a result of her library book tote bag project. By sharing the mitzvah with her friends, who helped decorate the totes, the good deed was greatly increased and served as a connection to Israel for all involved.
Not only did Devorah contribute her time for her personal project to benefit the girls, but this summer, when Lev LaLev sponsored a Swim-A-Thon fundraiser, Devorah enthusiastically spread the word to all her friends and family to support the cause.
On May 30th, Devorah’s paternal grandparents, Sharon and Richard Simon of Long Beach, NY, who were traveling in Israel, made a special stop in Netanya to visit the girls at the Home.
Michelle Simon concluded our interview by reflecting on her daughter’s wonderful experience by saying, “Devorah loves giving tzedakah. I was hoping that she would feel the connection (to helping the girls in Israel) and that is exactly what happened.”
Lev LaLev, and each and every girl at the Home, thank the Simon Family and Devorah for their enthusiasm and efforts in creating the tote bags that the girls will proudly carry.