Tablets for Teens

Bar Mitzvah Boy, Seth Damiani, makes the gift of 29 curriculum loaded tablets to disadvantaged teens in Bat Yam classrooms

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L to R: Seth hand delivers curriculum loaded tablets to teens in Bat Yam; Teen Chair, Maxwell Charlat, congratulates Seth on his commitment to tzedakah and tikkun olam at a l'chaim thrown by B'nai Tzedek

By Jody Kamen-- Keeping up to date on technology is a luxury most North American kids enjoy. Connecting his love for technology, bar mitzvah boy Seth Damiani chose to use his bar mitzvah funds to support the electronic notebook project to enable dozens of Ethiopian immigrants in Bat Yam, Israel, to learn with the same educational tools as their less disadvantaged classmates.

Seth established a Tzedakah Fund through the Jewish Foundation of Greater Toronto’s B’nai Tzedek Teen Philanthropy program and asked his guests to honour his passion for technology, by directing their gifts to his Tzedakah Fund, in order to assist with one of UJA Federation’s high priority areas of need in Israel.

Bat Yam is home to the fastest growing Ethiopian Israeli community in Israel. Bat Yam was also the  rst city in Israel to replace school books with the use of curriculum loaded tablets. Nationally, Ethiopian-immigrant children lag their peers’ scholastic achievements, but in Bat Yam, thanks to the efforts of this program, equal opportunity education is being provided to the immigrants— ensuring a level playing field.

This summer, Seth got to witness the power of his gifts firsthand when he visited Bat Yam as part of his bar mitzvah trip to Israel. Together with his extended family, Seth distributed the tablets to immigrant children and their parents at a ceremony hosted by Deputy Mayor for Education, Ester Perron. “The ceremony was a multilayered blessing,” Perron stated proudly. “It helped to bring Bat Yam partnership families to see for themselves the wonderful work they and UJA Federation families are doing to enable Ethiopian immigrants to succeed in education in the 21st century, and inspire the continuation of Jewish values of tikkun olam (repairing the world) and arevim ze lezey (responsibility for one another).”

“It was such a special and unique experience,” said Seth with a huge smile.

“The event was so meaningful, especially for Seth,” confirmed proud mom, Marnie. “To look out at all the beautiful faces in that room and know that Seth is making a small difference in their lives filled us with happiness and pride.”

Up-close & perosonal wih Seth

B’nai Tzedek: How did you decide on this project in Israel?
Seth Damiani:
This project was a perfect combination of my love for technology with my concern for people in need. And the fact that I could do this in Israel was a perfect link to my bar mitzvah.

BT: Why did you choose to incoporate tzedakah as part of celebrating becoming bar mitzvah?
SD: I have learned about tzedakah at school and at home growing up. My parents always discussed the importance of giving back and taking care of others. It was definitely something I wanted to do.

BT: What was your favourite part of the whole experience?
SD: I got to personally give the tablets to the kids in Bat Yam. It is fantastic to donate money, but it is such an amazing feeling to see where your money is going and how it really is making an impact firsthand.

BT: What would you say to kids your age about getting involved in the community?
SD: It feels great. The experience was more than I ever expected it to be, and it is so amazing to see the difference you can make in the lives of others.