May 22, 2024
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My Bat Mitzvah Bake Sale—Baked by Miri!

My name is Miri Kaplan and I love to bake! I have been baking with my mom since I was 5 years old, and since then I have improved my baking skills. For my bat mitzvah chesed project I decided to take my love of baking and turn it into a bake sale. I wanted to raise money for two organizations that I am connected to: Yad Leah and Yad Yissachar. Yad Leah collects new and used clothing in good condition and packs them up to send to Israel. I have donated a lot of my clothes to Yad Leah and I’ve also gone to pack the clothes many times. Jessica Katz, who runs Yad Leah, came to my school, RYNJ, last week and showed us a video of where the clothing goes in Israel. There are a number of stores in different communities in Israel where people can come to buy these clothes for very cheap. Mrs. Katz explained to us that having nice clothes helps children (and adults) feel good about themselves. I am thankful that I have nice clothes to wear and I want to help others have that too. That is why I picked Yad Leah to donate to. I also chose Yad Yissachar, which is an organization that is similar to Tomchei Shabbos for the Ashdod community in Israel. Yad Yissachar was started by students and rabbis at KBY (the yeshiva that my brother Shmuel is learning in) and it provides a variety of services for underprivileged families in Ashdod. Just like my mom and I pack Tomchei Shabbos boxes on Wednesdays in Teaneck, so too my brother Shmuel packs for Yad Yissachar on Wednesdays in KBY. Because Shmuel is so connected to Yad Yissachar and told us that they struggle week to week to fund their operations (see the July 26, 2018, article in The Jewish Link), I wanted to help raise money for them.

For my bat mitzvah bake sale I wanted to do all of the baking since I love to bake. So first we went to Costco and bought 25-lb. bags of flour and 10-lb bags of sugar, in addition to all the other ingredients we needed. Then my mom and I started baking over Labor Day weekend and continued throughout my days off of school before the chagim. My brother Gavriel helped me set up a Google form that we sent out to friends and family and posted on Facebook. We ran a pre-Rosh Hashanah and pre-Sukkot bake sale with a variety of items that people could choose from. My mom’s friend (and my birthday twin) Julie Farkas designed a logo for me; we called my project “Baked by Miri.” Over the next few weeks, my mom and I baked a lot! We made 60 challahs, 20 apple cakes, 15 chocolate cakes and dozens and dozens of chocolate chip sticks and peanut butter squares. We also wrapped each item so they looked nice. All in all, my bake sale was fun but a lot of work. It was all worth it, though, because in the end I raised $2,000, with all of the money raised going to tzedakah. I was so happy because I was able to use my love of baking to help other people.

By Miri Kaplan

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