Jun 18, 2013
Like any other girl, Rachel Eckman was excited about her upcoming Bat Mitzvah, and looked forward to the big day. But Rachel and her family, who live in Chashmonaim, Israel, decided to look for a way to make the event even more meaningful and memorable. They found their answer as soon as they saw Shira, a girl of the same age with severe disabilities living at ALEH Jerusalem.
Rachel decided to bring Shira to her own Bat Mitzvah in Chashmonaim, so they could share their special milestone together. Invitations for the twinned celebration were prepared and Rachel’s speech was ready. Shira would be accompanied to the event by her teacher, Zahava, who also lives in Chashmonaim. Everything seemed set for a wonderful day in honor of two girls – who seemed so different on the surface yet shared something so important – and the excitement grew as the day approached.
Then, on the day of the Bat Mitzvah – Shira woke up with a fever. Her trip had to be cancelled and the Bat Mitzvah plans had to be reworked to accommodate her absence.
But through it all, Rachel and her family remained concerned for Shira. They called and emailed her their best wishes, and sent in gifts and toys to show their love. But that was not the end of their generosity and thoughtfulness.
A few weeks later, the Eckmans came to ALEH Jerusalem to visit Shira and see Rachel’s leaf on ALEH’s Bar/Bat Mitzvah tree. They had a special surprise for Shira and all her friends: hundreds of Beanie Babies for all the children in the facility! The children could not get enough of the sensory-stimulating stuffed toys, looking at the bright colors and hugging their cuddly new friends.
In addition to Shira, Rachel now has many new twins who will enjoy her gift for many days to come!
ALEH thanks the Eckman family for their generosity, and we wish Rachel a hearty Mazel Tov on her Bat Mitzvah. May Rachel continue to grow in Torah, mitzvoth and the opportunity to do chessed.