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Guitar hero: Boy holds concert for Israeli kids
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Guitar hero: Boy holds concert for Israeli kids

Staff Writer, New Jersey Jewish News

Jake Gewirtz of Maplewood, raised over $300 by holding a concert in his home to benefit “kids who need coats” at the Israeli orphanage Yemin Orde, devastated by the December fire in the Carmel Forest. Photos courtesy Lauren Rutkin
Jake Gewirtz of Maplewood, raised over $300 by holding a concert in his home to benefit “kids who need coats” at the Israeli orphanage Yemin Orde, devastated by the December fire in the Carmel Forest. Photos courtesy Lauren Rutkin

When your mother is a philanthropy consultant and your father is a rabbi, maybe you are destined to play your guitar for a good cause.

Jake Gewirtz, six, of Maplewood, gave his first benefit concert on Jan. 22, raising over $300 for Yemin Orde, an orphanage in the Carmel Forest in Israel devastated by the December fire.

“I was getting really good at guitar, and my mom said, ‘Let’s do a charity concert,’” Jake said in a phone interview. “I said, ‘That’s a great idea! And it took about two minutes to prepare.”

Together with his teacher Bill Deltz, Jake put together a play list, and created the banter that segued between songs. Through the concert, which attracted nearly 40 people to the family’s Maplewood home, Jake raised $111. His parents both agreed to match Jake’s earnings, raising the gift to Yemin Orde to over $300.

His mother, Lauren Rutkin, acknowledged that the idea for the charity concert came from her. But the rest, she insisted, was “all Jake,” particularly when it came to choosing the people who would benefit from the concert.

Jake, a first-grader at the South Mountain Elementary School Annex in South Orange, figured the youngsters at Yemin Orde had some needs that could be met with the donation. “I wanted to make sure the money went for coats for people in Israel,” he said, particularly those who were affected by “the big fire.” Rutkin and her husband, Rabbi Matthew Gewirtz of Congregation B’nai Jeshurun in Short Hills, allowed their son’s idea to carry the day.

Jake also restricted the invitations to the concert: only friends and family. “Too many people can make you nervous,” he said.

Now, Jake is looking forward to his next concert, which he said he hopes to hold at the local diner where he has breakfast with his dad most Fridays.

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