SOURCE: UJA-Federation of New York

UJA-Federation of New York

June 21, 2012 15:23 ET

Mitzvah Project by 12-Year-Old New York Girl Helps Establish a Knitting Class for Girls in Sderot as a Therapeutic Escape

SDEROT, ISRAEL--(Marketwire - Jun 21, 2012) - At a time when rockets are falling on Sderot, a group of young girls from the city are meeting together in the local community center to knit as a part of a new project that aims to help them to cope with the traumatic and dreadful reality that is surrounding them.

The person behind this new initiative is a 12-year-old girl from New York City, named Noa Mintz, who wanted to do something significant to honor her bat mitzvah that combined her love for knitting and her love for Israel.

Noa was interested in creating a mitzvah project to benefit girls like her living in Sderot, a community in southern Israel traumatized by constant rocket fire from the Gaza Strip. She chose to work alongside a UJA-Federation of New York mitzvah project coordinator, as part of the UJA-Federation "Give a Mitzvah-Do a Mitzvah" program, to brainstorm an individual project and then contributed her time, energy, and a portion of her bat mitzvah gifts to this special mitzvah project. She decided to create a knitting class for girls in Sderot, as a therapeutic escape from their endangered lives, and to sponsor it along with her family, who donated $15,000 towards the project.

"When I visited Sderot three years ago and saw how close it is to Gaza, it was a very moving moment for me," said Noa Mintz. "I recently fell in love with knitting as a group bonding and therapeutic thing, and decided that I wanted the same for the girls in Sderot. "

Following Noa's mitzvah project initiative and her family's generosity, a special class was recently opened in Sderot, where young girls started to gather for knitting classes. This class has become a very well-known and in-demand activity among young girls in the city.

In New York City, Noa and her friends are part of a corresponding group of young girls that meet on a regular basis to knit and spend time together. The two groups, from New York and Sderot, connect with each other frequently via Skype video calls, where they spend time dancing to each other's music and sharing the experience of knitting.

A few days ago, Noa arrived in Israel with her family as part of her bat mitzvah trip. However, the main reason for the trip was to meet the girls in Sderot. The emotional meeting took place today when Noa finally met them face-to-face and had the opportunity to knit together.

"Give a Mitzvah-Do a Mitzvah program of the UJA-Federation of New York enables bar and bat mitzvah students to create their own unique mitzvah project that connects their interests and hobbies," said Sheila Devore, director of the Center for Youth Philanthropy and Leadership at UJA-Federation.

"Noa's project is truly amazing. Not only does it provide other young girls a great example of how to become more involved in philanthropy, it also helps to strengthen the relationship between the Jewish community in New York and in Israel."

To learn more about Give a Mitzvah-Do a Mitzvah, please visit http://www.ujafedny.org/mitzvah-project/.

About UJA-Federation of New York
For more than 90 years, UJA-Federation has been a central force for communal planning and philanthropy in the New York Jewish community. Through UJA-Federation, more than 60,000 donors pool their resources to help people in need, inspire a passion for Jewish life and learning, and strengthen Jewish communities around the world -- to address the issues that matter to us most as Jews and as New Yorkers. Working with more than 100 network beneficiary agencies, synagogues, and other Jewish organizations, our reach spans from New York to Israel to more than 60 other countries around the world, touching 4.5 million people each year. Because we do the most good when we do it together. For more information on how to donate or how to volunteer, please visit our website at www.ujafedny.org.

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