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June 28, 2013

Bat Mitzvah with a Twist: Helping Animals

For her Bat Mitzvah project, one 14-year-old girl rallies the community for animals

  • Jacqueline Rubin, with her friends and family, held a bake sale to support animal protection issues for her Bat Mitzvah project. M. Rubin/The HSUS

  • Tasty treats raised money and awareness for animals. M. Rubin/The HSUS

  • Jacqueline, her dog and her friends, raised $300 for her cause. M. Rubin/The HSUS

  • Animal protection ministry is perfect for bat/bar mitzvah projects. M. Rubin/The HSUS

by Victoria Strang

Earlier this year, 14-year-old Jacqueline Rubin completed one of the most fundamental rituals of the Jewish faith, her Bat Mitzvah.

This coming-of-age ceremony, which incorporates study and recitation of the Torah, is practiced by hundreds of young girls throughout the United States each year. While congregations differ in their requirements, many ask that the student complete a tzedakah, or charity project.

A lifelong animal lover, Jacqueline chose to focus her project on animals. Her tzedakah become a unique opportunity to show her friends and family the importance of animals and raise awareness on the most pressing issues that influence animal welfare today.

“Respect for animals is part of the Jewish faith, and I wanted to show my friends how important it is to be kind to animals."

“Respect for animals is part of the Jewish faith, and I wanted to show my friends how important it is to be kind to animals," she said.

With the help of her friends, Jacqueline held a bake sale. They created colorful signs that were matched only by the parade of sprinkles adorning the cupcakes and cookies. Along with the goodies, they distributed information on animal protection issues.

Jacqueline and her friends raised $300 for The Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society International.

Jacqueline’s project not only brought her friends and family together, but allowed her to give back to her community and the animals that she is so passionate about.

Resources for Bar/Bat Mitzvah Projects

The HSUS Faith Outreach program offers a number of ways teens can incorporate animals into their bar/bat mitzvah projects. They include:

  • Collecting pet food for food banks or supplies for a local animal shelter (please contact the agency or shelter in advance to assess their needs)
  • Host an adoption event at your Temple and bring in adoptable cats and dogs from local shelters
  • Volunteer at a local animal shelter
  • Host a bake sale, car wash or sell homemade crafts to benefit an animal welfare group

Explore more ideas for faith communities in Animal Protection Ministries: A Guide for Churches

Victoria Strang is coordinator for The HSUS Faith Outreach program

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