In the Yud Alef neighborhood of Beersheba, a tough neighborhood mainly home to immigrants from Ethiopia and the former Soviet Union, the children still can’t believe their eyes – the old basketball court at the Rimonim elementary school in the middle of the neighborhood was transformed overnight to a stunning brand new court.
Even more exciting is that in January 2013, advanced basketball lessons will be given on the new court by a seasoned basketball coach twice a week to the neighborhood kids, for free.
Furthermore, the kids also discovered that new basketball team uniforms have already been purchased for them.
Surprisingly, the generous individual behind this new initiative is a 13-year-old Jewish boy from New York City named Daniel Klosk, who decided to donate all of his bar mitzvah gifts and money toward a basketball project for kids his age in Israel,
combining both his love of basketball and Israel.
Old basketball court (Photo: Ilan Halperin)
Transformed overnight (Photo: Ilan Halperin)
This inspired project is no accident; Daniel plays on the New Renaissance Team of New York, which is a nationally ranked Division One team of the American Athletic Union (AAU). New Renaissance of New York finished #10 in the country at the 6th Grade AAU National Tournament.
In August 2012, Daniel won MVP of the 6th Grade Game of the J.E.M. All Star Classic, and according to basketballspotlight.com, he is one of the best pure shooters in the country for his age group.
“I thought it’s important to give the kids in the neighborhood not only a new basketball court, but also the opportunity to enjoy the experience of learning and playing competitively on a real basketball team, with a real basketball coach, and to give them the same kind of opportunity that was given to me,” said Klosk.
“I hope that this basketball training will give the kids the inspiration, ability, and motivation, to successfully overcome their daily challenges.”
“The Give a Mitzvah–Do a Mitzvah program of the UJA-Federation of New York enables bar and bat mitzvah students to create their own unique mitzvah project that connects their interests and hobbies,” said the Director of the Center for Youth Philanthropy and Leadership at UJA-Federation Sheila Devore.
“Daniel’s project is truly amazing. Not only does it provide other young kids a great example of how to become more involved in philanthropy, it also helps to strengthen the relationship between the Jewish community in New York and in Israel.”
To learn more about Give a Mitzvah-Do a Mitzvah, please visit http://www.ujafedny.org/mitzvah-project/