Vote For MitzMedalist of the Month



Each month, eMitz.com selects and salutes a young person doing an extraordinary mitzvah project as part of his or her journey of becoming a bar or bat mitzvah. It's our way to recognizing our honorees' creativity and dedication to the key Jewish values of tzedakah (charity) and gemilut chasadim (deeds of loving kindness), while spotlighting charitable organizations that remain much in need.

We are delighted to announce that our MitzMedalist of the Month is:

Erin Mackenzie Dodson
of Southern Florida

Here's our Q&A with Erin, the first girl in her family to celebrate becoming a bat mitzvah:

eMitz:
Can you describe your mitzvah project?

Erin:
The project I chose supports JAFCO, the Jewish Adoption and Foster Care Options program in South Florida, which helps abused, neglected Jewish kids. (View the website; view the video). My mom and I made an appointment to meet with the coordinator and discuss different ways in which I might help support the program. After our meeting, I decided that I can help by gathering donations of hygiene items, which are what the JAFCO kids always request on their wish lists because they run out of them a lot. Since that initial meeting, my mom and I visited about three times, bringing several items that we hope they are making good use out of, including my old television, school suplies, dishes, pillows, blankets and lots of clothes.

For my bat mitzvah party, my mom got a large carton and my friend Zanny and I are going to decorate it with all JAFCO stickers and literature that the staff at JAFCO sent my mom. Enclosed in my bat mitzvah invitation, we added a little card asking each guest to bring a small hygiene item with them to place in the box that will be set up in the party room. I hope to get it all filled and bring it over to JAFCO right after the party.



eMitz:
What got you interested in JAFCO?

Erin:
I saw a movie about it in my Judaic class last year at Congregation B'Nai Israel (in Boca Raton, Florida) and I knew right way that I wanted to help. I even asked my mom if we could adopt a little baby!! I'll never forget that!

eMitz:
How does working on your mitzvah project make you feel?

Erin:
I feel really good that I can help some of the kids with their needs. It has to be really hard not being with your mom and/or dad.

eMitz:
How do you think celebrating becoming a bat mitzvah would be different if you weren't doing this mitzvah project?

Erin:
Becoming a bat mitzvah is, among many things, about doing mitzvot, and I really feel that this mitzvah project not only makes me feel great, but gives added meaning to my accomplishments on my bat mitzvah day and always.

What I hope for the most is that more people become aware of the JAFCO organization and find ways where they can help, too.



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