Hannah Schechter from Teaneck, New Jersey, knew that the best way to transition into adulthood is with social responsibility. On the verge of her Bat Mitzvah, Hanna was exploring different options for a meaningful Chessed project. One thing was clear though: she was doing it in Israel.

Longtime friends of Shalva, Hannah’s parents reached out to have Hanna spend a day doing crafts or sports with the children of Shalva as part of the Bnei Mitzvah Twinning Project. This endeavor has been successfully bringing children with and without disabilities together in hosting joint coming-of-age celebrations.

Her parents liked the idea, but Hannah had something bigger in mind. Already very satisfied with the plans at home for her upcoming big day, Hannah thought it would be even better to host a communal party for all the 12 and 13 year-olds having their Bar and Bat Mitzvah celebrations this year.

Word quickly spread and non-profits from the greater Jerusalem area pitched in to provide face-painting, carnival games and many other party attractions. When the event finally came, participants got dressed up for the occasion and ate, danced and had an all-around blast well into the evening.

But Hannah’s generous state-of-mind doesn’t stop there.
“Presents? Who needs presents?” That was Hannah’s thinking as she sought one more way to make an impact. So she scripted and shot a video, inviting all her family, friends and acquaintances to forgo buying her a gift and instead visit the Shalva Registry at shop4shalva.org and donate pre-selected therapeutic gifts for the children of Shalva.
To Hannah and your wonderful family: You are the kind of friends that make Shalva’s world go ’round! Mazal Tov!