On December 22, 2012, we will celebrate our Bar Mitzvahs. A Bar Mitzvah is a religious initiation ceremony of a Jewish boy who has reached the age of thirteen. It means we will be considered as adults who are responsible for certain moral duties. This is a very important event for us.
One of our major obligations is to be moral people who perform acts to help the less fortunate. Our parents have, of course, been encouraging us to do so from our earliest days. We have been trying to help people for many years. Directly after the earthquake that struck Haiti in 2010 that killed perhaps 350,000 people and left much of Haiti in ruins, we created a website and raised over $8000 to help the Haitian people receive medical care. We have worked with a most wonderful human rights organization, the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH), on other projects which have helped to improve the lives of the Haitian people. This is an organization of incredibly dedicated and highly competent people who have done so much for Haiti.
Today, we pledge a substantial portion of our Bar Mitzvah gifts to IJDH. Judaism makes it clear that our work to help others is not voluntary but is required. According to Jewish law, we must give gifts that help people so that they can support themselves and live a better life. Donating funds to IJDH is an important investment in people who desperately need our help. IJDH works diligently and successfully to empower Haiti’s poor to build better lives for themselves and their children.
We have spoken at our school and our synagogue about the need to donate funds to IJDH. We will certainly speak about it again at our Bar Mitzvah and anywhere else in our community that we are allowed to do so. We hope you will consider making a donation to IJDH. You will never regret it.
Jacob and Joshua Stotzky
P.S. Happy Hanukkah!