The opening lines of Adina Falk’s first song declare: “You say, ‘It can’t be done’ / I say, ‘Let’s have some fun.’” And that pretty much describes the approach taken by this 12-year-old from East Brunswick.
For her bat mitzva project, Adina decided she wanted to use her own talents to help others. She brainstormed with her parents, Michele and David Falk, and came up with the idea of incorporating her love for writing in her project: She would write a song and offer it for sale on the Internet with the aim of raising funds to help people like her beloved Uncle Josh, her dad’s brother, who is mentally disabled.
David Falk told NJ Jewish News, “Within two weeks, she came back with the lyrics for ‘I Say,’ and they were wonderful. I was blown away.”
Adina herself said the writing was tough, but “not that different than writing a poem because it has rhymes and stanzas.”
The next step was deciding where the proceeds should go. “We wanted to help people in Israel,” Falk said, and Adina chose Aleh, Israel’s largest network of residential facilities for children with severe physical and cognitive disabilities. It cares for 650 children in four locations, providing them with round-the-clock medical and rehabilitative care.
Adina said, “My hope is that I can raise a lot of money for Aleh. It is going better than I thought it would — people are starting to hear about my song and they are buying it. And many of them have told me they like the song.”
To get the song recorded, Adina enlisted the help of a friend, high school student Ezra Shoen, to compose a tune, and then another family friend, Arik Gordon, a professional musician working in Los Angeles. With time in a studio and help from producer Gil Levy, he turned out the polished product that can be downloaded for just 99 cents.
‘Act of kindness’
The song was posted on the Web in late July, a month after Adina had her bat mitzva celebration at Young Israel of East Brunswick. Her 16-year-old brother, Jonathan, lent his Internet savvy to research how to get the song on-line. Her brother Daniel, 14, helped too, though in a more traditional way — as “social director” organizing the games at his sister’s bat mitzva celebration, according to their father.
Adina’s Uncle Josh loves the song, David said, and so do the people at Aleh. A message on the mitzva portion of www.Aleh.org challenges would-be do-gooders: “Enter this new stage in life by doing the ultimate act of kindness and hesed — Help give kids who can’t walk, talk, or even breathe on their own a chance to live a better, happier life.”
In an e-mail to NJJN, Dov Hirth, who oversees mitzva projects for Aleh, wrote, “When Adina told us about her project, we were blown away by her creativity, the depth of the idea, and the effort she put into bringing it all together.
“Her song is so beautiful and carries such a powerful message,” he said. “At Aleh, our goal is to give the disabled population of Israel the opportunity to reach their fullest potential. Adina’s song brings this message home, reminding all who will listen that we can…make a difference in someone’s life.”
The Aleh residents have expressed their appreciation, too. They sent Adina a package of gifts they made. She hasn’t seen it yet, but her parents have been sending her messages, telling her about their response and the broadening ripples from her song.
“We won’t know how many people are downloading the song for a few months,” David said, “but this has already been a tremendous ride.”
To download “I Say,” go to adinasbatmitzvahproject.bbnow.org; it costs 99 cents, and all proceeds go to Aleh. Funds can also be donated to Aleh through a link at the site. For more information about how to share a bar or bat mitzva with Aleh’s kids, visit www.aleh.org or call 1-866-717-0252.