Displaying the Best of Jewish Values at Age 10

Orly Malka Uses Birthday Party – and The Jewish Foundation – to Help Others

By Daniel Horowitz--  In a world where too often we take our good fortune for granted, and our youngsters sometimes display a sense of entitlement, it’s refreshing to see an example of somebody giving back.

It’s particularly heartening when that commitment to tzedakah is the brainchild of, just that, a child.

That is exactly the case of Orly Malka, who, upon turning ten, decided that, instead of the guests at her recent birthday party bringing her gifts, the opportunity would be better served helping other, less fortunate children.

Prior to Orly’s October 14th party at the Schwartz/Reisman Centre at York Region’s Joseph & Wolf Lebovic Jewish Community Campus,   Orly, an intelligent and self-assured  youngster, asked her guests that, in lieu of presents, they make a donation to the Orly Malka Tzedakah Fund that she set up with the Jewish Foundation of Greater Toronto.

From the earnings of that fund Orly has the opportunity to make gifts of her own choosing to various needy tikkun olam projects.

And, with 43 party goers helping Orly celebrate her move into the two-digit age, there’s little doubt that the impact of her decision will go a long way.

“I learned from my school, Associated Kamin, and from my Mom, all about how important it is to be involved in our community, to volunteer, and to give back,” said Orly, flashing her dynamite grin. “I volunteer at UJA whenever I can, and this summer, on our family trip, Mom and I volunteered at an Ethiopian Absorption Centre that UJA supports, and I met with new children who, just moved to Israel. For my tenth birthday, all I wanted was to celebrate in a fun way with my family and friends and have them be part of giving tzedakah.”

And, considering the example set by her mother, there’s little doubt that a predisposition to tzedakah, and community for Orly was inevitable.

Her mother, Aviva, is a veteran professional with UJA Federation, and is currently the organization’s Vice-President, Missions Operations & Corporate Fund Development.

“I am in awe that ten years have come and gone,” says the understandably proud mother. “Watching Orly embrace and understand the principles and concept of these important Jewish values makes me so proud of her.  It’s always been my privilege to work on behalf of our community and, now, knowing that Orly is starting to understand ‘why’, means so much to me. Her decision to have her tenth birthday benefit others, rather than herself, is a testament to that understanding. She’s a remarkable girl.”

Orly’s birthday party, held on the same day as the Grand Opening of the Lebovic Jewish Community Campus, an initiative of UJA Federation’s Tomorrow Campaign, saw the 44 youngsters enjoy arts and crafts before moving the shindig to the dance studio where the children showed off their hip hop moves.

“My Mom told me about the Jewish Foundation and about how our Jewish community is growing and about some of the help that people in Jewish Toronto really need,” explained Orly. “The people at UJA and the Foundation really helped me learn about how to start my fund. It was so easy. I highly recommend that other kids do it, too. I even had a private meeting at UJA without my mom, when, for my eighth birthday, I started the fund. If more kids had birthday parties like mine, just think about how many more people the Jewish Foundation could help.”

How does that saying go?  “From the mouths of babes…”