Meet our latest Mitzvah Mensch, Alexander (Alex)! Alex is 13 years old and will be starting 8th grade in the fall. He completed his Bar Mitzvah with Anshe Emet Synagogue earlier this year. This mensch has an older brother, Nathaniel, and two dogs, Giacomo and Gian Luca.
Alex likes playing sports and staying active. He’s been playing soccer at school for over a year now and loves it! During our interview, Alex was proudly wearing a jersey supporting his favorite player: Lionel Messi. Aside from staying active with sports, his adorable dogs, and attending military camp this summer, Alex is passionate about comedy. He enjoys watching comedians on Netflix with his family and loves to laugh.
When searching for a Mitzvah project, it was important to find an opportunity where he could interact with people who were different from himself. His goal was to meet new people and learn from them. Alex and his dads learned of The Selfhelp Home through Anshe Emet’s J2M (Journey to Mitzvot) program.
Alex’s dads, Mike and Carlton, added: “We picked Selfhelp because of its location and flexible scheduling. We would recommend it, though, because it facilitated rich intergenerational learning and created a thought-provoking experience for Alexander that helped him to convert his experience from an academic understanding of tikkkun olam to a practical experience.”
Alex is quite the comedian himself. For Alex’s Mitzvah project, he visited Selfhelp once a week to meet with our residents and tell them jokes. He brought a joke book to share riddles and laughter with our community. During his visits, Alex would also chat with residents:
We asked Alex’s parents what they are most proud of regarding their son’s journey to becoming a Bar Mitzvah…
“Alexander understood that the bar mitzvah was a religious rite of passage and not just a kid’s celebration to get gifts and have a party. He also went into his journey years behind his peers in preparation for his bar mitzvah. Our family recently converted to Judaism and he didn’t speak or understand a word of Hebrew before his preparation began just one year before his bar mitzvah. Alexander persevered, learned about what it meant to be an adult in the Jewish community, and has prospered through this process.”
Rabbi D’ror Chankin-Gould of Anshe Emet Synagogue had a few words to say about this Mitzvah Mensch:
“Alexander is a thoughtful and kind young man. His service at The Selfhelp Home truly touched him and the way that he has shared that story with our community has been inspirational to so many. One thing that stands out is the way that Alexander would study up on jokes and riddles to share with residents every time he came to volunteer so that he would always have fresh material to share. He is a superstar!”
We loved seeing our residents’ faces light up and hear so much laughter in our home during his visits. Alex found a way to connect his Torah portion to his own life. His haftarah was about rules and commandments that rabbis need to follow in order to lead a congregation. Alex shared how he was the team captain on his soccer team which required strong leadership on his part, and setting a good example for the rest of the players.
After his Bar Mitzvah, Alex had a party at Dave & Buster’s to celebrate his accomplishment. Mazel tov, Alex, and thank you for choosing The Selfhelp Home for your Mitzvah project!
Interested in becoming a Mitzvah Mensch at The Selfhelp Home?