Teenage Rebellion

Toby Klein

by Toby Klein for JUF News

"So who exactly is going to take you seriously," a neighbor laughs. "Don't underestimate us," I warned. "You'll soon see we're more than Jewish summer camp rejects..." Read More »

Making Mitzvot part of your Bar or Bat Mitzvah

Bar Mitzvah Guide

See TOV's Guide to Making Mitzvot Part of Your Bar or Bat Mitzvah

Israel Experience

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Bar/Bat Mitzvah Stories

Shira Hefter

Shira Hefter

Shira Hefter wants to live in Israel when she grows up. Danielle Sharabi lives in Israel right now. Both girls love to dance and do gymnastics: if they lived in the same country, they’d probably be friends. And if they were friends, Shira would have been able to go to Danielle’s house to offer comfort when the news arrived that Danielle’s older brother, an Israeli soldier, had been killed in a terrorist attack.

After his death, the family was devastated both emotionally and financially. Danielle’s brother’s income from the army had helped the family make ends meet and without him, the family had neither the energy nor the psychological resources to provide for Danielle’s upcoming Bat Mitzvah. When Shira heard about this, she decided to use her own Bat Mitzvah money to pay for Danielle’s Bat Mitzvah in Israel. “It’s hard to celebrate family events after a tragedy,” says Shira. But it’s important that life continues on.

An organization called One Family Fund helped to connect Shira with Danielle’s family. One Family Fund assists terror victims in Israel, helping them along the long path of emotional and physical recovery. “I wanted Danielle’s family to know that they are not alone,” says Shira. “That here in the U.S. people care about them and want them to happy again.”

Shira had her own Bat Mitzvah this past March at North Suburban Synagogue Beth El in Highland Park. “Being a Bat Mitzvah means I can take a bigger role in being Jewish,” says Shira. “I can help out more, I can go out into the world and stand up for Jewish rights.” And thanks to Shira, now Danielle can, too.