My online bar mitzvah student absolutely loves to play baseball. He plays in two leagues that has him playing or practicing almost every day of the week because it is his passion. As part of my online Hebrew school, we learn lessons from the Torah and how we can share our resources with the less fortunate. How can we look for opportunities to be kind and caring. My student told me that he feels badly that there must be kids who want desperately to play baseball but can’t afford it or live in a neighborhood where they can’t afford to have beautiful baseball diamonds. We did some research online and found a wonderful charity that my online Bar Mitzvah Student decided that he wanted to partner with as his bar mitzvah project.
Foundation, in partnership with Variety – The Children’s Charity and the Vancouver Canadians Baseball Foundation, opened the first fully-accessible baseball diamond in Western Canada this past week. This project was the recipient of a $100,000 Field Of Dreams grant from Jays Care Foundation in 2015. Field Of Dreams is Jays Care’s infrastructure granting program, which awards funds to groups across Canada to build, enhance or refurbish safe spaces for children and youth to play baseball, develop life-skills and learn from positive role models. The project included an overhaul of the baseball diamond in Hillcrest Park, Vancouver, to create a facility safe for use by children with physical and cognitive disabilities. Representatives from all funding partners opened the field with the help of local Challenger Baseball participants; an adaptive baseball program for children and youth with physical and/or cognitive disabilities. In January of 2017, Jays Care Foundation assumed leadership of Challenger Baseball programming in Canada in partnership with Little League Canada and Baseball Canada. Since then, Jays Care has provided robust training to more than 150 Challenger coaches across the country and will invest $250,000 in Challenger Baseball programming across Canada in 2017. Challenger Baseball has more than 1,400 participants in 72 leagues across the country. Through the Field of Dreams program, Jays Care has invested almost $10,000,000 in 80 infrastructure projects across Canada, including accessible baseball diamonds in Ottawa, ON and Moncton, NB.
Jewish education is of course more than learning to read Hebrew or just learning about the holidays. And bar and bat mitzvah preparation is so much more than learning how to get up in front of family and friends and sing a Torah portion. It’s about starting a chain reaction of kindness and goodness each and every day. My student above loves baseball, and wants to give that gift to other kids. He donated a large percentage of his gifts to this worthy cause and encouraged his guests to do the same – to be charitable and kind