Swim4Sadna Mitzvah Project
by Heidi Krizer Daroff
My family is in the final stages of preparing for my younger daughter's Bat Mitzvah. For anybody reading this who has hosted a similar event you know that this is an extremely busy time. I have so many tasks on my To-Do list that it seems as if every time I check something off as completed, suddenly five more tasks take it's place! I am definitely not complaining though as this is a joyous time for our family and we are so proud of the wonderful young lady our Bat Mitzvah girl has grown into.
From the time Arianna was born and throughout her life my husband and I have sought to ensure that Israel is an important part of her life and that she feels connected and close to our homeland even though we live thousands of miles away. In her Bat Mitzvah speech she speaks about traveling to Israel and how much she loves visiting the Kotel (touching the cool white stones as she connects to all the history and heritage within them) and swimming in the Kinneret and Mediterranean Sea.
Every time we visit Israel, Arianna enjoys walking, often for hours at a time, stopping into restaurants to refuel our energy with the delicious tastes of the fresh vegetable salads and scrumptious fruits that the Jewish homeland is known for serving. My daughter is something of a produce aficionado so the flavor combinations of the various salads piques her interest and we often try to replicate these dishes when we return from our trips. This translates into purchasing along with the usual cucumbers, tomatoes, and melons, items such as fresh mint, hyssop, zataar, rose water, tahini, and plenty of lemons.
For her Mitzvah Project Arianna chose Swim4Sadna, an annual women’s swim-a-thon fundraising event on behalf of Sadnat Shiluv in Gush Etzion. This swim-a-thon is not a race; it is a personal swimming challenge across the Kinneret to raise funds for a therapeutic kitchen for students with special needs.
Anyone who knows my daughter knows this is a perfect fit as she herself has special needs and attends a school that routinely offers cooking classes. This is an area that Arianna excels in and the skills she has learned in these classes transfers to her being able to help with meal preparation at home. Who knows, this may be the line of work she goes into as an adult. She would certainly love that!
This project is particularly meaningful to me because as the mother of a child with special needs I know how critically important it is to provide these children with opportunities to learn life skills that will further their independence and maybe even open up job opportunities as they become young adults.
Choosing a Bat Mitzvah project to help raise money for children like Arianna in Israel so that they can participate in something that she loves feels like we are further strengthening her ties to her homeland.
This is a beautiful effort to show children with special needs that we know there is so much they can learn and a variety of ways they can contribute to their communities and society.
Just as my husband and I have raised Arianna with a focus on what she can do, while supporting her in the areas she needs assistance, our hope in choosing Swim4Sadna as her Mitzvah project is that all the children who benefit from the funds raised will know that people care about them, believe in them, and want them to reach their fullest potential.
During one of our future visits to Israel Arianna would like to visit the Sadnat Shiluv School and tour the kitchen they build. She wants to see it for herself and I am sure she will offer plenty of suggestions about what dishes they can prepare. So I hope they too have plenty of fresh mint, hyssop, zataar, rose water, tahini, and lemons.