Teaneck’s Hannah Vogel is embracing the digital age for her bat mitzvah: the RYNJ student has officially launched her new website promoting chesed and tzedakah as part of her own chesed project for her bat mitzvah. The website, https://spreadsomelight.com/, offers visitors ideas for chesed opportunities, both in the Bergen County area and in Israel, along with links to organizations looking for volunteers, assistance or donations. Additionally, the website has a shop section, where products can be purchased with the proceeds being donated to organizations such as Tomchei Shabbos, Yad Leah, Yachad and more.
“I am fortunate to have had so many things in my life that make me happy, but [I] realized that what brings me the most joy is bringing happiness to others,” Hannah explained on her site. “I created this website in honor of my bat mitzvah to raise money for multiple chesed organizations that I have been involved with—BUT, more importantly, to give others ideas of how they can spread some light. Not only will you help someone, but you will help yourself as well, because you will realize that it makes you happier to give.”
Speaking with The Jewish Link, Hannah discussed the website and talked about the event that inspired her to put something together that would enable her, and others, to help people. For her, it all began with a trip to Israel.
“My family and I went to Israel for winter break, and while we were there my brother and I got to donate a Playstation system that we both chipped in to pay for to a lone soldier center,” Hannah shared. “It made me feel really good, and I wanted to do something more for my bat mitzvah project. I wanted to do something that would make other kids want to do good things too, and my family and I came up with the idea of starting a website.”
There are currently two products available for purchase on the website: a Shabbat door sign and a Yom Kippur bowing mat. They are for sale in bulk, so purchasers can hand them out and spread their own light. An About page on the site details Hannah’s story, and there is also a branch that will contain videos in the future. The website may be in its early stages, but her parents, Aviva and Avi Vogel, are extremely proud of her efforts and what she’s already accomplished. The website is planned to be something that she’ll continue using in the coming years, and, as her mother explained, Hannah had a lot of enthusiasm going into it.
“Hannah is really excited about this website and idea,” Aviva explained. “She knows how fortunate she is in life and really wanted to do something for her bat mitzvah that would help other people. We’re all really proud of her and what she’s trying to do here. If there are other teens who have either a bar or bat mitzvah coming up and are looking for inspiration, I think it’s really important to remember in the midst of the celebration how important it is to think about other people.”
Hannah’s bat mitzvah, which took place this past weekend, was when she unveiled the website. At press time, the site had already raised $1,200. Hannah said that if the site can inspire others to want to do something good in the world, then all her efforts will have been worth it.
“The website is all about spreading positivity and helping people out,” she expressed. “Even though it might feel like an obligation at times, tzedakah and chesed really helps people out and I hope it will inspire other kids to want to do something good, too.”
Please email her father with any questions at [email protected]
By Adam Samuel
Adam Samuel is a journalist from Teaneck. He blogs at adamssoapbox.com.