Naomi Silver Supports Pet Causes - Bat Mitzvah Fundholder Can Direct Her Funding

by Stu Slayen | Dec 22, 2016
The Silver Family (L-R Ben, Michael, Naomi, Yael)

Now that she is a Bat Mitzvah, 13-yearold Naomi Silver sees it as her duty to give tzedaka. “As a woman, I’m obligated to do the mitzvah now,” says Naomi, who celebrated her Bat Mitzvah in May 2016 at Chevra Mishnayes Synagogue. 

Naomi’s parents, Yael and Michael, opened a Bat Mitzvah Endowment Fund at the Jewish Foundation of Manitoba for Naomi with a gift of $100. Then Naomi agreed to deposit 10 percent of her Bat Mitzvah gifts into the fund. 

When she learned that her participation could help animals, she didn’t hesitate. 

“I really like animals and it’s sad that many are neglected and abused,” says the Gray Academy student. “This is a way I can help.” 

Every year, Naomi’s fund will generate income that she can distribute to the charitable organization of her choice. For her first distribution, she will direct her money to the Winnipeg Humane Society. For next year and beyond, she plans to research other charities in the city that help pets who have been abandoned. 

“She’s very excited about this,” says her dad, Michael Silver. “She plans to visit shelters next year and make an informed choice about which organization to support.” 

Silver says that the appeal of the JFM’s Bar/Bat Mitzvah program is that it’s a longterm engagement. 

“Naomi was going to contribute some of her gift money, anyway,” says Silver. “She could have just donated some of her money to an animal shelter, but then it would have just been a one-time act. As a fundholder, she will have to make philanthropic decisions year after year. The program is great because it engages our kids in tzedaka for the long term.” 

There are now 365 Bar and Bat Mitzvah Endowment Funds, dating back to 1979. In 2015, fundholders distributed over $18,000 to 48 different charitable organizations, and nearly $8,500 to the JFM’s Jewish Community Campership Fund. 

A special and important feature of the program is role of the Nora & David (Z”L) Kaufman Bar/Bat Mitzvah Fund. If a child’s fund reaches a balance of $750 within two years of their Bar/Bat Mitzvah, the Kaufman Fund will add $250 to bring the balance to $1,000. It is when a Bar or Bat Mitzvah Fund reaches $1,000 that a fundholder can make decisions about the recommended distribution. 

“This is a remarkable program,” adds Silver. “It gets our community’s kids off to a good start when it comes to philanthropy. Naomi will learn about how much impact she can have, and how she can make a difference in the community.”