June 21, 2024
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Bat Mitzvah Bakes Up $10k Twinning Campaign for ADI

Inspirational tween Shana Miller rallies family and friends to raise funds and awareness for Israelis with disabilities during uncertain times.

Shana Miller prepares for her bat mitzvah bake sale to benefit ADI on Sunday, June 9.

(Courtesy of ADI) To mark her bat mitzvah earlier this month, Shana Miller of Woodmere, New York, embraced her new responsibilities as a Jewish adult and rallied family and friends to raise more than $10,000 for ADI (adi-israel.org), Israel’s network of specialized rehabilitative care for those living with and touched by disability. Wanting to personalize her campaign, Shana chose to “twin” with an ADI resident named Inbal Agai, who is also becoming a bat mitzvah this year, and geared her efforts towards furthering Inbal’s advancement.

Working together with her parents, Abby and Steven Miller, and ADI’s Coordinator of Marketing, Development and Special Projects Dov Hirth, Shana constructed a campaign so compelling that she surpassed her initial $5,000 fundraising goal in record time. With her bat mitzvah still weeks away, Shana decided that she “had to go bigger,” and baked up a plan to sell cakes, cookies and other confections to double her impact and ensure that Inbal would continue to receive the therapies and experiences needed to make her next developmental leap.

“My cousin, Sefi Fleischman, has been volunteering at ADI Jerusalem since he was 14 years old, and has continued after his army service, and I’ve always been so inspired by ADI’s mission and Sefi’s dedication to the cause. When it came time to choose a bat mitzvah project, it was a no-brainer for me—it had to be ADI,” explained Shana. “From the very beginning, I felt very determined. This was my opportunity to really make a difference, and I knew that we could count on our family and community to help us reach our goal.”

In addition to the familial connection and inspirational inclusive vision, Shana was drawn to ADI’s crucial wartime efforts and wanted to empower Israel’s most vulnerable citizens during uncertain times.

“ADI’s Bnei Mitzvah Campaigns allow young women and men to transform their special day into a platform for performing the ultimate act of kindness—providing peers who can’t walk, talk or even breathe on their own a chance to live better, happier and more fulfilling lives. Over the last eight months, these campaigns have become more important than ever,” said Elie Klein, ADI’s director of development for the US and Canada.

Inbal Agai, Shana Miller’s “Bat Mitzvah Twin,” participates in a baking workshop at ADI.

“Day after day, ADI provides its residents and special education students with the consistent positive engagement and specialized developmental exercises necessary to promote growth and safeguard their emotional wellness. We are so grateful to incredible young leaders like Shana who enable us to continue providing our ADI family members with the tools and programming they need to stay happy, healthy and whole. This is what becoming a bat mitzvah is all about!”

Just ahead of Shavuot, the Miller family hosted a bake sale extravaganza that featured everything from cheesecakes to flower bouquets to raffle tickets for restaurant vouchers, with all of the proceeds going towards Shana’s campaign for ADI. Just as Shana predicted, the community stepped up and bought out the bake sale, driving her fundraising grand total up to $10,800. But Shana still isn’t interested in calling it quits and now has her heart set on reaching a baker’s dozen—her new goal is $13,000.

“As an educator with a background in special education, I’m thrilled to see my daughter talking about disability inclusion with her friends and going above and beyond to make others feel accepted,” said Shana’s mother, Abby Miller, associate principal at SKA High School for Girls. “It’s very impressive when 12 year olds are so inspired that they donate $36 and $50 of their own money, and it gives me hope that we can all work together to include everyone and give the most vulnerable among us as rich a life as possible.”

ADI provides its residents and special education students with the individualized growth plans and specialized services they need to grow and thrive, its rehabilitation patients with the treatments and therapies they need to heal and return to their lives, and the community at large with tangible opportunities for encountering disability, raising awareness and promoting acceptance.

To donate to Shana’s campaign, please visit https://adi-il.org/campaign/shana-millers-twinning-bat-mitzvah.

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