Shalom Life | July 01, 2014

Israeli Basketball Fans Benefit from New Yorker’s Bar Mitzvah

Daniel Klosk uses his bar mitzvah gifts to get young Israelis back on the court

By: David Shear

Published: January 8th, 2013 in News » Israel

As proof that you are never too young to help others comes word that a recent bar mitzvah boy from New York City has chosen to use his cash gifts not for himself, but rather the youngsters – who he’s never even met – who live in Beersheba’s Yud Alef neighborhood.

The neighborhood is mainly home to immigrants from Ethiopia and the former Soviet Union.

Deciding that he wanted to do something for others, bar mitzvah boy Daniel Klosk decided to use his newfound gelt to help the children in the Israeli neighbourhood and, with the swipe of a pen, Daniel transformed an unkempt basketball court at the Rimonim Elementary School into a brand new one.

Klosk changed these kids’ lives through UJA Federation of New York’s Give a Mitzvah-Do a Mitzvah program, which allows bar and bat mitzvah youngsters to come up with their own, creative ways that help others, based on their own interests and hobbies.

Klosk, a tremendous basketball fan, and a talented player who plays for New Renaissance, a nationally ranked team of the Amateur Athletic Union in New York, won Most Valuable Player of the 6th-Grade Game at the J.E.M. All Star Classic.

“I have been very fortunate to have had the best coaches and the best facilities to play in and I wanted them to have the same things I had,” Klosk told The Jerusalem Post.

Klosk, with his family and a group of 40 other New Yorkers flew to Israel where they attended a dedication ceremony for the new basketball court.

“The kids were all jittery,” Klosk said. “It was amazing to see that they were so enthusiastic. We had a little assembly and as soon as I cut the ribbon and the balloons flew, all the kids started running to the court.”

The ceremony ended with a friendly game between the visiting New York youngsters and some Israeli youngsters.

“It was a great feeling to see them happy,” added Klosk. “I made a permanent connection with them, despite our language barrier.”

Klosk’s donation also covers advanced basketball lessons by a seasoned basketball coach twice a week and new team uniforms.

“I thought it’s important to give the kids in the neighborhood not only a new basketball court, but also the opportunity to enjoy the experience of learning and playing competitively on a real basketball team, with a real basketball coach,” Klosk said. “I hope that this basketball training will give the kids the inspiration, ability and motivation to successfully overcome their daily challenges.”

Klosk’s older sister inspired him to donate his bar mitzvah money as she had done so before him. Her donation went to a few places including a teen shelter just outside Tel Aviv.

Who says “youth is wasted on the young?”

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