The following essay on community service was written by Yelena Keller-Wyman, a middle schooler, enrolled in City Congregation’s Bar/Bat Mitzvah program. Students spend a year and a half researching their heritage, values and beliefs, and write on a Jewish subject of their choice, their major project; they also perform 13 hours of community service, and write about it. An example of this component can be seen below. The process improves both the student’s writing and critical thinking skills, as well as their self confidence and overall maturity.
For my Bat Mitzvah I did community service. I did a lot of different things. One place I volunteered was at a soup kitchen, but they had me just running errands for them and I got kind of bored.
I spent most of my community service hours, however, making cards for the elderly. I made them at home, and then we sent them to an organization that distributes them. At first it was really boring and I hated it, but hen I started painting them. After that, I had a lot of fun. I enjoy art and painting and I just had fun with it. I hope the cards I made make someone happy. I also liked writing the messages inside of the cards.
I have been going to summer camp every summer since I was ten years old. It is a very important part of my life. This year will be my last year going as a camper. I hope to become a counselor. I will be donating 10% of my bat mitzvah money to the Camp Onas campership fund. The campership fund lets a child that wouldn’t be able to afford to go to camp come to camp. I am realizing that helping the community is a nice thing to do, and it can even make me happy.