In the “Yud Alef” neighborhood of Be’er Sheva, home to immigrants from Ethiopia and the former Soviet Union, the children still can’t believe their eyes— on Sunday, December 30, the old basketball court, at the Rimonim elementary school in the middle of the neighborhood, was transformed overnight to a stunning, brand new court. And in January, 2013, advanced basketball lessons will be given twice a week to the neighborhood kids, for free, on the new court, by a seasoned coach, new uniforms included.
The generous individual behind this new initiative is 13-year-old New Yorker Daniel Klosk, who donated all of his bar-mitzvah money to make it happen.
Daniel’s parents, Tricia Kallett and Craig Klosk, joined him, and Dr. Heftzi Zohar, Deputy Mayor of Be’er-Sheva, and Ilan Halperin, representative of UJA-Federation of NY in Israel, at a special dedication ceremony that culminated in a friendly basketball game between kids from New York and a group of neighborhood kids. Daniel plays on the New Renaissance Team of New York, a nationally ranked, Division One team of the American Athletic Union (AAU). New Renaissance of New York finished 10th in the country at the 6th Grade AAU National Tournament. In August, 2012, Daniel was MVP of the 6th Graders’ Game of the JEM 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 in 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 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.”