JFCS Helps Teens Get into the Mitzvah Habit

[by Jacob Efman]

Jewish Family and Career Services (JFCS)’s Pledge 13 program gives teens an easy way incorporate the performance of mitzvot into their bar and bat mitzvah preparation.

Through the Marjorie & Robert Kohn Pledge 13 Program, pre-bar and bat mitzvah participants agree to devote 13 hours of service to a community service project of their choice during the year. Each receives a list of volunteer opportunities and consults with Shelley Kahn, JFCS’s volunteer coordinator, to identify projects that might be of interest.

Often participants work within the Jewish community at agencies such as Shalom Tower, Four Courts, Jewish Community of Louisville’s Jewish Community Center or other programs, Jewish pre-schools and JFCS. Volunteering with other community organizations is also an option.

Louisville’s rabbis wholeheartedly support this program, which helps young people, learn about tikkun olam – the obligation to help one another and help repair the community. They encourage their bar and bat mitzvah students to take part in the program as a step toward establishing a lifelong mitzvah habit.

“We know how busy these young people are so we are not requiring that they spend additional hours fulfilling their Pledge 13 obligation,” said Kahn.
Volunteer hours spent on Beta Club, National Honor Society or other community projects could be counted in the total. Those who meet the 13-hour goal receive a special gift from JFCS at their bar/bat mitzvah ceremony to acknowledge their efforts in the community.

If a bar/bat mitzvah is scheduled early in the year, Pledge 13 hours can be completed after the event, and JFCS will acknowledge their pledge publicly with a gift during the ceremony.

For more information or to enroll in Pledge 13, please contact Shelley Kahn at 452-6341 x 103 or e-mail her at skahn@jfcslouisville.org. An informational meeting will also be held at JFCS on Monday, September 13, at 7:15 pm.

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