Name: Sarah R. Cohen
Town: West Orange
School: Golda Och Academy, sixth grade
Parents' Names: Marisa and Seth Cohen
Bat Mitzva: April 18, 2015
Synagogue: B’nai Shalom, West Orange
Mitzva project: Sarah for Soldiers — making and selling bracelets for $5 each to raise money for the Israel Defense Forces’ Golani unit, where Carmelle Bargad, a Cohen family friend, is serving as a volunteer.
Goal: “I am hoping to raise enough money ($2,000-$3,000) to sponsor a party or BBQ for the unit of 130 soldiers and give them personalized work-out shirts,” said Sarah. “The shirts give the young soldiers a sense of unity when they wear them.”
Inspiration: “I was inspired by the bracelets Maxine Schwartz” — a jewelry maker from Westfield (see sidebar) — “made and sold over the summer benefitting the Israel Emergency Fund. (Maxine Schwartz knows about my project and has given me her blessing!)”
Sarah said she chose this project when she heard about the war in Israel and decided she wanted “to show my support and help.” She wanted to work with Carmelle, who moved to Israel and joined the IDF after she graduated from GOA, since she has a close personal connection with her.
“This project is meaningful to me,” said Sarah, “because I want to be able to help the soldiers and show my love and support for Israel.
Start: Sarah for Soldiers was launched at GOA’s Family Fun Day on Sept. 21. Although bracelets were not sold at the event, Sarah handed out cards with the project’s website information and collected hand-written messages for the IDF soldiers.
Who helped: It was Carmelle who suggested the work-out shirts and party/BBQ and is coordinating the project with her unit in Israel. Sarah’s parents donated all of the supplies needed so 100 percent of the donations will go to the soldiers. Her father helped create the website and set up a PayPal account, and her mother helped Sarah develop the bracelets and create a poster and business cards.
How to contribute: Visit sarahforsoldiers.com to buy a bracelet, write a message to a soldier, or make a larger donation to the project.