Benjamin and Brian Barth, 13-year-old twins from New York City, are passionate about the State of Israel and the transformative power of sports. To celebrate their recent bar mitzvahs, they worked with UJA-Federation of New York’s “Give a Mitzvah-Do a Mitzvah” program to raise a total of more than $122,000 to donate to two Israeli nonprofits that work to empower people through sports.
Sports play a very important part of Benjamin and Brian’s lives. When they are not watching their favorite teams, they enjoy playing tennis, sailing, biking, and golfing. In the winter, they love to ski. The twins have also visited Israel several times, which has helped them build a stronger connection to their Jewish heritage and identity.
Through “Give a Mitzvah-Do a Mitzvah,” the boys were able to design projects that reflected their passions and were personally meaningful to them, and they requested donations in lieu of gifts to support their projects.
Benjamin, a tennis enthusiast, raised $61,199 for Israel Tennis Centers’ programs that teach children peaceful coexistence through tennis and programs offering academic support, enrichment, and mentoring.
Brian, who loves sailing and cycling, chose to donate to Etgarim, which utilizes the two activities, among others, to rehabilitate individuals with cognitive, sensory, and physical disabilities. He raised $61,199 to encourage children in Tel Aviv, Nahalal, and Holon to pursue athletic excellence and participate in otherwise inaccessible sports.
“I just love playing tennis and to find out that there was a place that plays tennis and supports coexistence excited me a lot,” said Benjamin. “I am glad I was able to fund it.”
Brian Added: “I continue to enjoy the State of Israel and it was perfect for my Bar Mitzvah project to be in and associated with it. As cycling and sailing are two of my personal passions and interests, being able to contribute to an institution that gives people with disabilities the opportunity to have fun with these endeavors is truly an honor for me.”
“UJA’s ‘Give a Mitzvah-Do a Mitzvah’ program enables bar and bat mitzvah kids like Benjamin and Brian to put their interests and love for Israel and the Jewish people into action,” said Lori Strouch Kolinsky, director of UJA’s Manhattan Division. “We are so inspired by the twins and their incredible generosity, and hope this is just the beginning of their philanthropic journeys.”