Celebrate a birthday with a huge mitzva

As we get older we still want to celebrate our birthdays, especially our “special” ones, but by the time we hit our 50s and 60s we rarely need or even want presents. We already have a houseful (and maybe even a garage- or basement-full) of unnecessary gadgets and ornaments.  Yet we still want to mark the important day.

Caroline Ben Ari

Times of Israel blogger Caroline Ben Ari has come up with a brilliant, simple and innovative way to celebrate her special birthday – by asking all her friends, family and even passing strangers, to make a donation to the One Family Fund instead of giving her a present. Thus she gains a twofer: a mitzva by making a charitable donation and making sure her birthday won’t be forgotten!

Here is Caroline in her own words (emphases added):

… in February I read Shoshanna Keats Jaskoll’s blog, “I’m turning 40 and this is what I want for my birthday.”

And she also inspired me to set myself an outrageous goal: By my 60th birthday, which will be on November 4,  I want to raise $18,000 for OneFamily — specifically, for their Orphans Project.

One Family Fund aiding victims of terror

OneFamily is a wonderful organization that provides support to thousands of people who have been bereaved and injured by terror attacks. As they say on their website:

OneFamily understands the trauma of bereavement and injury from terror. Our family can provide the key elements that lead to successful rehabilitation. With this level of trauma, comes a feeling of isolation by singular experience. The perception of being alone affects every element of the recovery and rebuilding process. Our presence and resources ensure that victims and their families never need to feel alone.

The Orphans Project supports children who have lost both parents (and sometimes also siblings) in terrorist attacks. OneFamily holds multiple events for the orphans throughout the year, including Passover Seders and retreats, and also provides these particularly vulnerable survivors both with both financial and emotional support. OneFamily does what their parents would have done if they were still alive, such as help pay for tuition, weddings and other life-cycle events, and also attend each and every event. In short: OneFamily is their family.

You can help OneFamily continue their amazing work by donating as much or as little as you want at the special page OneFamily has created for my Big Birthday Project.

I am moved almost beyond words at Caroline’s initiative (yes, and Shoshana Keats Jaskoll’s too). I can’t think of a better way to celebrate a milestone birthday or any other important life cycle event.

Here are the ways to donate: If you are in the US, click this link.

If you are in Israel, Canada or the UK, click this link – but make sure you mention that the donation is for “Caroline’s Birthday Project” (or for Caroline Ben-Ari) because it’s not certain the Israeli page can identify that automatically like it does for the US donations page.

You can also keep up with the project, leave comments and share the project at Caroline’s Facebook page that she set up for this purpose.

Share, tweet and email this wonderful initiative and let’s help Caroline raise at least $18,000 for Israel’s orphan victims of terror.  And let me add a huge Kol Hakavod to Caroline for her generosity and initiative.

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7 Responses to Celebrate a birthday with a huge mitzva

  1. Anne, thank you so much for your support of my Big Birthday Project, and for the lovely compliments. I want to stress that I didn’t think of this entirely out of my own head–it was the initiative of Shoshanna Keats Jaskoll earlier this year that gave me the idea.

    Thank you once again, and I hope we can spread the word far and wide!

    • anneinpt says:

      It was my pleasure and honour, Caroline. I hope my post will help towards your project.

      And yes, I know it wasn’t your original idea. But not many people follow through and adopt it for themselves so you deserve a huge kol hakavod.

  2. Reality says:

    What a lovely idea.Happy Birthday ,Mazal Tov with best wishes for good health ,happiness and success till 120

  3. floranista says:

    What a wonderful way to celebrate a milestone birthday, or any birthday for that matter. Best wishes to you, Caroline.

  4. Thank you so much, floranista!

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