Thank you to Zak Levenstein of Roslyn, NY, for sharing his Mitzvah Project plans with us. Here is a description of his very moving project, in his own words:
Grownups sometimes think kids are too young to make a real difference in the world. Well, I believe that just one person—any person—especially a kid who is willing to work hard, can make real change and I am going to prove it!
In preparing for my upcoming Bar Mitzvah, I wanted to do a community service project that would be more than just doing it because I have to, but would also mean a lot to me and would have real impact on other kids’ lives. When I did some research about giving music to Israel, I found Youth Renewal Fund, an organization that provides education to disadvantaged children in Israel. Each year, YRF helps more than 6,500 children get the education they need to give themselves a fighting chance for their future. When I saw Ethan Freed’s picture on the Website and learned that YRF is building a new learning center in Ramla, Israel in his memory, I knew supporting this cause was the right thing to do.
Ethan was an amazing kid who I went to camp with. He changed people’s lives every day. Ethan was smart, popular, athletic and funny. He was known for his kindness and generosity to everyone. He had a way of reaching out to kids that he didn’t even know and made them feel like they were part of his special inner circle. Everyone called him “the Peacemaker” because he had a gift of bringing people together. Ethan died at summer camp on July 3, 2006, just a few days before his 13th birthday. It was a very sad day at camp that day. But very quickly, Ethan’s death motivated all of us who knew him to live our lives in the same manner—filled with hope, generosity and kindness, qualities that came so easily to him.
With help from my family and friends, I have organized a special memorial concert that will help build and maintain the Ethan H. Freed Learning Center. The EHF Center will serve more than 5,000 children in a very needy community and will be a tribute to Ethan’s tremendous capacity for generosity and his commitment to learning. The Freed family is working with YRF to establish this new Center as a way to help preserve Ethan’s legacy and pay tribute to his memory.
The concert will feature Julius C, who was crowned “the best band in NYC” in 2006 by the Emergenza International Music Competition. In addition, the band I am in, Juvenile Pariah, will also perform. The concert will be held at The Nutty Irishman, a local pub in Farmingdale, Long Island, on Sunday, February 22, 2009 at 2:00 pm. The event will continue Ethan’s gift of bringing people together.
Editor’s Note: Donations can be sent to: YRF c/o Alison Levenstein, 207 Mineola Avenue, Suite 103, Roslyn Heights, NY 11577.