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.
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.
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.