(June 4, 2019 / JNS) Benjamin and Brian Barth, 13-year-old twins from New York City, are passionate about the State of Israel and the transformative power of sports.
To celebrate their recent bar mitzvahs at Park Avenue Synagogue, they worked with UJA-Federation of New York’s “Give a Mitzvah-Do a Mitzvah” program to raise a total of more than $122,000 to donate to two Israeli nonprofits that work to empower people through sports.
When they’re not watching their favorite teams, the boys enjoy playing tennis, sailing, biking, golfing and skiing. The twins have also visited Israel several times, which has helped them build a stronger connection to their Jewish heritage and identity.
Through “Give a Mitzvah-Do a Mitzvah,” the teens were able to design projects that reflected their passions and were personally meaningful to them, and requested donations in lieu of gifts to support their projects.
Benjamin, a tennis enthusiast, raised $61,199 for Israel Tennis Centers’ programs, which teach children peaceful coexistence through tennis and programs offering academic support, enrichment and mentoring.
“I just love playing tennis, and to find out that there was a place that plays tennis and supports coexistence excited me a lot,” he said. “I am glad I was able to fund it.”
Brian, who loves sailing and cycling, chose to donate to Etgarim, which utilizes the two activities to rehabilitate individuals with cognitive, sensory and physical disabilities. He raised $61,199 to encourage children in Tel Aviv, Nahalal and Holon to pursue athletic excellence and participate in otherwise inaccessible sports.
“I continue to enjoy the State of Israel, and it was perfect for my bar mitzvah project to be in and associated with it,” he said. “As cycling and sailing are two of my personal passions and interests, being able to contribute to an institution that gives people with disabilities the opportunity to have fun with these endeavors is truly an honor for me.”
For more information on “Give a Mitzvah-Do a Mitzvah,” call 212-836-1460 or email: email@example.com.