Sam Goldberg and Josh Levine set out to make their bar mitzvah chesed project something unique and memorable, and at the same time make a difference in the world. They had the privilege of recording an outstanding music album, entitled Tikkun Olam (Fix the World) and their goal is to raise $45,000 to help Leket Israel lease a 15-ton refrigerated truck for one full year.
The boys chose inspirational songs from famous artists. What makes the album unique is the fact that all the tracks and harmonies are original; the boys are not singing along to recorded music, they are actually making the music that they are singing too. This was a huge undertaking and commitment as the boys spent a minimum of four hours per week over the past six months in a recording studio. “It’s a little easier than performing live because if you mess up, you could start over,” Josh said. “We wanted the album to be perfect,” said Sam.
With many volunteers and staff members, Leket delivers 220 tons of food per week to 180 non-profit partners including soup kitchens, homeless shelters, senior centers, and other social service organizations around Israel. They reach more than 140,000 needy people on a weekly basis.
Both Sam and Josh expressed their love for music early on. Alyssa, his mom, tells a story about Sam. When he was turning 4 they asked him what he wanted for his birthday and he said, “I want a guitar, but please buy two, so Max [his older brother] could have one too.” Alyssa explains, “It’s Sam’s nature to want everyone to have equal.” Sam received a guitar for his birthday and started lessons. “Sam would wake up and run to practice; he didn’t have to be told,” says Alyssa. Sam continued to learn guitar and also took piano and voice lessons.
Shira and Seth Levine, Josh’s parents, started his guitar lessons in second grade after he expressed a lot of interest from playing the Guitar Hero video game. The boys, who are both in 7th grade at The Moriah School, started playing together around three years ago. “They work well together, they have a knack for music, and they love and enjoy it,” said Seth Levine. They spent summers together in music camp with a mentor, Ben Hyman, who was very inspirational in both their music talent and in wanting to help people through music.
When Ben Hyman was looking for students to play in his band for a benefit concert, Sam and Josh jumped on board and helped raise thousands of dollars for charities such as Bet Elazraki and Hopes & Heroes. “They are self-motivated to learn and use their talent in such a way to help others,” said Hyman. Hyman was very instrumental in creating their Tikkun Olam album. Hyman helped guide Sam and Josh on song choice, compilations, and arrangements. The album was recorded in Hyman’s recording studio.
When it came time to choose a bar mitzvah project, “we wanted to teach them that you can do something you’re passionate about and still help the world,” Alyssa said. An album was something they always wanted to do together. “This is something special they will always remember…,” said Jay Goldberg, Chairman of The Moriah School, who also sings on the album.
Joseph Gitler is very grateful for anyone who comes to Leket with an offer to raise funds for the organization. But in this case “it’s different than just sending out an email and asking friends and family to donate, which is also good, but these boys put in a lot of hard work.” Gitler was very pleased with Sam and Josh’s album. “It is wonderful and they are very talented,” he said.
“You always hear people running for a charity, biking for a charity…but to see two young men spend so much time and effort to make music and an album and sell it on behalf of a charity is really something unique and special,” Gitler added.
To buy the album, please go to: http://bsimchas.leket.org/en/page/samandjosh.aspx.
“We hope everyone supports them; we hope to meet our goal or even exceed it,” Jay Goldberg said.
By Kellita Weber