Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Extraordinary Student Gift

Her speech took us all by surprise.  It wasn't the poise and eloquence of 7th grader Meryl Musicante's Bat Mitzvah speech that surprised our teachers and administrators sitting in the audience that shabbat morning a few weeks ago.  We expected that from Meryl.  What no one expected was her announcement, in front of all who had come to daven in Baron Hirsch that morning, that she planned to give a significant percentage of the money she received for her Bat Mitzvah to the Margolin Hebrew Academy.

Sure, bnei and bnot mitzvah have given a percentage of their gifts to charitable causes before.  It's a wonderful practice that we should all highly encourage.  Yet, so often our young men and women are encouraged to contribute toward the needs of those who live great distances away or locals whom they've never met or with whom they'll never have a meaningful relationship.  Seldom do we encounter a young man or woman, who realizes that sitting in their very own class are students whose families need help.  Seldom do we see a young man or woman who recognizes that attending a Jewish Day School is an extremely costly endeavor that many in our own community simply cannot afford.  Seldom do we meet a young man or woman who understands that giving of their Bar or Bat Mitzvah gifts to their school can help give the gift of Jewish Education to students for whom it might otherwise be out of reach.

Yesterday, Meryl handed me an envelope at carpool that had "Donation to School" written on the outside.  I opened it up to find a check for $900.  It was an extraordinary gift from an extraordinary student.

May we all draw inspiration from her stellar example.

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