Bar mitzvah boy raises $50,000 for Ukrainian Jewish kids - Illuminate the World

Bar mitzvah boy raises $50,000 for Ukrainian Jewish kids

Bar mitzvah boy raises $50,000 for Ukrainian Jewish kids
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Dylan Sharp used his bar mitzvah to raise nearly $50,000 from family and friends for the Tikva Children’s Home, which rescues and houses at-risk Jewish children in Ukraine. Now he’s spreading the word to his peers across the country.

At his bar mitzvah last September, Dylan spoke on the bimah of New York’s Temple Shaaray Tefila about how moved he was by the plight of the children at the Odessa home after watching the organization’s videos.

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Dylan Sharp

The 13-year-old Manhattan resident urged his nearly 300 guests to donate to the charity in lieu of giving him gifts. In addition, he made available informational pamphlets about the Tikva Children’s Home.

The seventh-grader at Riverdale Country Day School hopes to “inspire a lot of kids” to use their b’nai mitzvah as a platform to help others.

Recently, Dylan and his parents, brother and sister visited Tikva Children’s Home. Over the course of several days he played sports and other activities with its residents. “Playing with the kids and really seeing where my money and the money from those who donated went, I was really happy,” Dylan said.

Dylan Sharp

The 13-year-old Manhattan resident urged his nearly 300 guests to donate to the charity in lieu of giving him gifts. In addition, he made available informational pamphlets about the Tikva Children’s Home.

The seventh-grader at Riverdale Country Day School hopes to “inspire a lot of kids” to use their b’nai mitzvah as a platform to help others.

Recently, Dylan and his parents, brother and sister visited Tikva Children’s Home. Over the course of several days he played sports and other activities with its residents. “Playing with the kids and really seeing where my money and the money from those who donated went, I was really happy,” Dylan said.

Now an email campaign is urging pre-b’nai mitzvah students to share information about Tikva with their network of peers. Rabbis at 10 U.S. synagogues are assisting in the effort.

For his generosity and serving as a role model to other teens, Dylan was honored at the Tikva Children’s Home annual gala in New York. “It’s extremely important to give and help in any way that you can,” he said . “A bar or bat mitzvah is not just about having a big party, it’s also about becoming an adult and maturing.”

JTA caught up with Dylan to ask a few questions.

JTA: What do you think are important qualities of a hero?

Dylan Sharp: A hero is somebody who gives to others in need and inspires others. He does what is right for everyone and not just for himself.

JTA: What do you want to be when you grow up?

DS: I’d like to be either a chef or a writer. They are two things that I really love doing. My dad’s a great cook, and I cook whenever I can.

JTA: What is your favorite Jewish holiday?

DS: Hanukkah, it’s really great. My family has the most traditions for when we all come together to light the candles, and we give thoughtful gifts.

JTA: What kind of things do you like to do for fun?

DS: Play guitar, cook and play lacrosse.

JTA: What advice would you give to other kids when choosing a bar or bat mitzvah project?

DS: Choose something that isn’t for you — something that will help the less fortunate and those who don’t have the same privileges as you, something that says there is good in the world.

 

By suzanne kurtz sloan , jta

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