In some ways, Nachliel Jacobs is your average Orthodox Jewish twelve year old boy. He loves sports, music (he plays the drums) and hanging out with his three younger siblings. But there is something about this New York native which sets him apart from other pre-teens: instead of having a bar mitzvah party for just himself, he decided to raise money to throw a party for 300 complete strangers – bar and bat mitzvah-aged kids (and their families) in Israel who have cancer.
It’s not to say that Nachliel hasn’t enjoyed the fancy and lavish bar mitzvah affairs he’s attended, but several months ago while at such an event he got to thinking: All of this for just one night? Why so much wasted money? What could be done with the same amount of money but that would be lasting? It was then the idea for a bar mitzvah celebration to put smiles on the faces of kids who were suffering was born.
Although he is surely mature beyond his years, Nachliel’s way of looking at the world didn’t come about by accident. Raised in an observant Jewish home, Nachliel has always seen his parents doing chesed and helping those who are less fortunate. His mom has a company called Charge to Recharge – a credit card processing company where people can give a certain percentage of flights and credit card perks to different charities and families that need it instead of keeping it for themselves. When Nachliel told his parents of his dream, they immediately got behind it and started to research worthy charities to orchestrate such a celebration. They discovered Zichron Menachem, an organization in Israel that raises money and provides treatment, hope, and smiles for children with cancer.
Then they started to plan: they decided to throw a Purim carnival at Zichron Menachem’s treatment center in Jerusalem, which will take place tomorrow (Thursday, March 17). Their extravaganza will include food, jugglers, music, face painters, clowns, contests, prizes, trips, magicians, activity booths, games, shows and Shaloch Manos gift bags for the kids. Nachliel didn’t just ask others to fund this party (via a Charidy campaign which was so successful it began raising bonus money – funds which will go directly to Zichron Menachem for future events and parties). Since charity begins at home, Nachliel he cleaned out his life-savings – $2000 of hard earned money which he acquired several years ago buying live chickens, building a chicken coop in his backyard, cleaning and selling the eggs, and then the chickens.
As Nachiel embarks on the journey of becoming a Jewish man, his dream is nothing more than to put smiles on the faces of people who are suffering. He hopes his campaign will not just brighten the lives of the kids who attend the carnival, but that his story will inspire others to find opportunities to do acts of chesed too!
Mazel tov, Nachliel, on not just reaching this milestone, but entering adulthood with a generous heart and purpose. In our selfie-obsessed generation, how wonderful that such a young boy has worked so hard to think of others.