Talia Bell, putting the "mitzvah" back into bat Mitzvah

In honour of her Bat Mitzvah, Talia Bell knew she wanted to do something especially meaningful.  So, following in her older sister Samara’s footsteps, Talia decided to put her Bat Mitzvah gifts toward a philanthropic project in Israel.

photo_talia_bell

Talia at UJA’s Walk with Israel

Talia loves to play soccer, so she decided to fund a soccer program for children in Bat Yam, Israel. Bat Yam is home to the fastest growing Ethiopian-Israeli community in Israel, which is also the most vulnerable segment of the Israeli population. 40% of Ethiopian-Israeli youth are categorized as being “at-risk.” Extra-curricular programs, which enable youth to develop talents and form an integral part of a well-rounded education, are beyond the means of most Ethiopian-Israelis. Sports, in particular, promote teamwork, motivation, and self-confidence - vital characteristics for educational and social success. Talia’s Bat Mitzvah gift will give 60 Ethiopian-Israeli youth in Bat-Yam the opportunity to enjoy soccer training, practice and recreational games.

“It’s great that I can help children in Israel play soccer because it is something I love and something that will teach them lifelong lessons,” says Talia.

Talia and her family feel a strong connection to Israel. Every year, they participate in UJA’s Walk with Israel, and this year was no different - despite the fact that it fell on the same weekend as Talia’s Bat Mitzvah. In May 2012, Talia walked with her family and extended family from Boston, Connecticut and Vancouver, including a Great Aunt and Uncle.

After making her gift to the soccer program in Bat Yam, Talia decided to use the remainder of her gifts to open a B’nai Tzedek tzedakah fund. Every year, the interest generated from Talia’s fund will be distributed to charitable projects and organizations of her choice.

Mazel tov to Talia on becoming Bat Mitzvah and taking this significant step toward tikkun olam!

Up Close and Personal with Talia

B'nai Tzedek: How do you feel about your project in Israel?
Talia Bell: I’m really happy I’m able to help others at such a young age. It’s great that I can help children in Israel play soccer because it is something I love, and something that will teach them lifelong lessons. 

BT: What is your inspiration for giving?
TB: My older sister, Samara. For her Bat Mitzvah, Samara helped children in Israel in a way that was meaningful to her. After seeing her do that, and going to visit the Yemin Orde Youth Village she helped in Israel, I knew I wanted to do something similar for my Bat Mitzvah.

BT: What about this project appeals to you?
TB: This project lets me help other kids around my age do something I’m passionate about. I love playing soccer, and I want to make sure other kids have the opportunity to play soccer too. On top of it all, I feel a strong connection to Israel, and I’m so glad I’m doing something to help the country.