June 16, 2024
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Modiin Teen Raises Money for Playground for Autistic Children

An incredible initiative was undertaken by Gadi Schreiber (nephew of Rabbi Chaim Poupko of Ahavath Torah in Englewood), a 13-year-old boy from Modiin, Israel, who took upon himself a bar mitzvah project to bake and sell cookies in order to raise money to help build a new playground for autistic children and succeeded in raising almost 13,000 NIS.

Last Friday, Gadi’s hanachat tefillin took place at Beit Akadem (a private organization for children and teens on the autistic spectrum in Modiin), where he presented them with the funds he raised.

Elisheva Poupko Schreiber (Gadi’s mother) shares about this unique initiative:

“We made aliyah to Modiin 12 years ago and Gadi is the youngest of our three boys. Our neighbors, the Fishmans, have a son, Yehuda, who is on the autistic spectrum. For years now our boys have been bringing Yehuda to shul on Shabbat so he can be a part of the davening and the community. In the last year Gadi also accompanied Yehuda to his afterschool activities at Beit Akadem. For us as a family, giving back is a fundamental aspect of being part of a community.”

In honor of his upcoming bar mitzvah in a few weeks, the Schreibers encouraged Gadi to take on a chesed project. Simultaneously, Beit Akadem started raising money for their playground, and thus it was a perfect match.

Gadi always enjoyed helping in the kitchen, so he thought maybe he could bake and sell cookies to help raise money for the project. For the last three months he would take orders early in the week and bake for Shabbatot and chagim. His parents assisted with guidance and packaging, but overall it was all him! During that time he baked over 6,000 cookies and raised 12,306 NIS for the project! “We never realized how big the project had become!” shares his mom.

When it came time for his hanachat tefillin, the Schreibers felt the most appropriate place for this to take place was at Beit Akadem. After davening, Gadi presented them with a check of the money he raised. Gadi’s parents hope that he will truly internalize what he has learned throughout this project and apply it to his future.

For more information on Beit Akadem or to contribute to the playground project:�https://my.israelgives.org/en/campaign/AkademPark.

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