Hi, my name is Elisheva Hermann. I am an incoming 7th grader at Yeshivat Noam and I just celebrated my bat mitzvah. I have two siblings: my older brother, Ezra, and my younger sister, Avital. Yes, that makes me a middle child, but I always like to do my own thing.
For my bat mitzvah, I did not want a typical bat mitzvah party with simcha dancing. I told my parents that I did not want ANY dancing. Instead, I surprised my friends by having them solve a mystery at my party. It was totally fun and cool. We split up into seven teams and we interviewed the actors and tried to solve the mystery.
Also, I wanted to do something unique for my chesed project to give back in honor of my bat mitzvah. So, I thought really hard about what I enjoy doing and what I could do that would make a difference. That was advice my parents gave to my brother when he was trying to think of a chesed project in honor of his bar mitzvah. Since he enjoyed doing magic tricks, he gave magic shows at kids’ birthday parties to fundraise for NCSY. What a great idea! I also wanted to do choose something that I could do that would be fun for me, even if it involved a lot of work. So…
I decided that since my birthday is in the summer, and I love summer camp, especially when I get care packages—that I would make care packages to send to kids who would really appreciate them. I chose to make them for the children at Camp Simcha, since they have to be strong as they fight cancer and other serious illnesses. Rather than asking all of my friends and family members to donate money for my care packages, I researched different companies that manufacture, import, and sell the things that I would want to get and requested that they donate over-stocked items, or items that are no longer needed—such as hats, nail art, fun games, projects, books, puzzles, etc. I tried different ways to communicate with the companies. Sometimes I called them, sometimes I wrote to them, sometimes I called and wrote to them, and sometimes I asked them in person. It was a learning experience. I tried not to get discouraged by the negative responses (there were a few, even some hang-ups), the times I had to keep contacting different people, or the non-responses, because the enthusiastic YESes I got were awesome and so empowering!
The first time I had a company respond positively was incredible. And then it happened again and again and again. At one company, I connected with a childhood cancer survivor who was delighted to be extremely generous. She wanted her own chance to give back to others, which is exactly what I was doing and which guided me through what I was doing.
I am so thankful to the companies that so generously donated to my chesed project: Justice, Toys “R” Us, The Wish Factory, 4 Imprint, Gamewright, and the Teaneck General Store. Thank you!! The items they donated were absolutely fabulous—exactly the kinds of things I would love to receive. Some of my personal favorites were the scented nail stickers, the light-up phone cases, the scented lip gloss, the science experiments, the Frozen character dolls, the funky socks, and my own personalized rolling clocks that I decided to donate from my bat mitzvah.
It was tremendous fun unpacking all of the donated items when they arrived at my house, it was fun packing them with my friends at my bat mitzvah, and I know it will be fun for the kids at Camp Simcha when they unpack all 200 care packages that I will be sending up to camp. I can’t wait for that to happen! I love thinking about how it will make them smile! Maybe, my parents will send me a nice care package at camp, too!