When Rachel became a bat mitzvah, she made a donation to Hand in Hand to commemorate the occasion.
She was proud to speak about Hand in Hand during her ceremony, she said, and to share the good wishes of the Israeli students from the bimah (podium). Below is a letter she sent to Hand in Hand students in Israel. She and her family subsequently visited the school and spent time in a classroom.
Dear Hand in Hand friends,
I am so honored to be able to support your school. The moment I saw the video for your school I knew that your school was the best place for me to use as my bat mitzvah project. As you all may know my name is Rachel and I am in sixth grade.
I really loved all of your wonderful notes. I really appreciate all of you giving me your e-mail addresses. At my bat mitzvah I brought the big picture of the class that you sent to me and your notes. Everyone loved reading your notes and were so impressed that you all wrote them to me. I also spoke about the school at my bat mitzvah and people think that the school is fabulous...
I am coming to Israel this summer and hope to get a chance to meet as many of you as I can and see the school. Enjoy the rest of school and have a great summer!
Close friends Becky and Josh sold homemade bracelets, among other things, at their school to raise funds and awareness for Hand in Hand. They also donated a portion of their bar and bat mitzvah gifts. After Becky’s family visited Israel, her mother sent this note:
We're just back from Israel. We had an amazing visit to Hand in Hand's school in the Galilee!
We met with principal Kamal Abu-Younis, and he gave us an overview of the school, curriculum, teaching philosophy, and many of the challenges that the school faces. Then we had a brief tour, stopping in on second-, fifth-, and seventh-grade classes. The kids were all terrific, and they were happy and proud to use their English and talk about their school.
Being there in person really brought home the enormity of the school's challenges and also the importance of its mission. We were so impressed with what they've done. Becky is proud to have supported Hand in Hand, through her projects with Josh and also by donating some of her bat mitzvah gifts. It's clear that there is so much more to accomplish, in this school and others throughout Israel.
I've attached a few pictures from our trip. Please keep us posted on Hand in Hand's growth -- we look forward to working with you in the future!
Marc talked about Hand in Hand in his bar mitzvah speech:
In Israel, we also went to a school called Hand in Hand, which inspired my mitzvah project. I was inspired because the school is different from every other school in Israel. This school is for Jews, Arabs and Christians. These children learn in the same classroom and create friends even if they are of a different religion. I wanted to help this school raise funds for better supplies and resources for their students. I will be giving a percentage of my Bar Mitzvah money to this school and I invite you to do the same. You can contact Hand in Hand with the brochure in your Siddurim. I believe that these children should receive the best education possible, because these kids do not care if they are from a different background learning in the same classroom together. In the future, this diverse school and other diverse institutions can only help strengthen to get Jews, Muslims, and Christians to come together and make peace. It is also very interesting that Jews, Muslims and Christians are in many ways children of Abraham.