In preparing for her eldest son’s Bar Mitzvah, Anat Avigad was looking for something to make the experience more meaningful and hands-on for her rising 13-year-old Lotan. As a resident in the Arava region in the south of Israel, volunteer opportunities were limited and with the help of some internet research, she found Meir Panim Dimona, still a 45-minute drive from their home.
Anat was so impressed after her conversation with Nissim our branch manager, that she decided to bring Lotan, and also his 11-year-old sister Rotem to volunteer weekly for the last weeks of the school year. This volunteering would serve as a foundation for both Lotan’s upcoming Bar Mitzvah and also Rotem’s Bat Mitzvah, a year away.
Anat informed her two big kids teachers (she also has a 9 and 7-year-old) about this undertaking, getting their blessings and with a promise to work with them one on one with each of them to stay current on their work, and off they went, on Wednesdays to become a part of the Meir Panim family in Dimona.
They felt that this project – this volunteering was so important as a foundation of their Bar and Bat Mitzvah milestones because “it’s something we can do for people and receive back only feelings in our hearts”. Anat wanted to impress on her kids the importance of not only giving tzedakah but living tzedakah and has made an incredible example of this for her children. Anat shared that Meir Panim Dimona is truly a special place- her children picked up on how it feels so “homey” and that the professionals greet the clients like family, giving them “hugs to welcome them in, big smiles and a listening ear”.
After the summer break, Anat will be coming regularly again with Rotem alone as her Bat Mitzvah approaches and is hoping to also bring the rest of her class for a group visit and volunteering day to share this project with more of their community.
We were thrilled to have the Avigad family visit and become a part of our family and look forward to staying in touch with them for many years to come (at least until the younger two are ready for their Bar and Bat Mitzvahs as well!).