A boy whose barmitzvah is in doubt amidst an extended coronavirus lockdown has come up with the idea of a ‘virtual simcha wall’ on Instagram by way of logging Jewish community members’ missed celebrations.
Jordan Pearlman, 12, who is due to celebrate his bar mitzvah at his synagogue in Hampstead Garden Suburb in August, launched the virtual simcha wall on social media “as a reminder that we can still all come together”.
The youngster said: “Many of us have been unable to arrange a bar mitzvah, bat mitzvah, wedding, bris, birthday, anniversary or baby naming ceremony, so I decided to unite us and create a virtual simcha wall on Instagram.
“It will feature a photograph of yourself or something that is important to you. I would like this wall to be filled with wonderful photos and a reminder that in these strange times we can still all come together.
Pearlman said he wanted to use the wall to raise money for “three wonderful chosen charities” including GIFT, medical response teams at Hatzola, and children’s charity Camp Simcha, which supports Jewish families affected by serious childhood illness.
Among the first to post was Hasmonean pupil Rina Serfaty, who decided to do a five-mile charity run for GIFT to mark her special day in a meaningful way.
“These difficult times have taught us how lucky many of us are to have what we need to stay safe, showing us how important it is to extend a hand to help those who don’t have what we may often take for granted,” she said.
Another was Mia Samuels, a student at Immanuel College, who baked challah for the elderly in her community. “I was inspired to step up,” she said. “I realised that however hard I was finding lockdown, others were finding it much harder.”
Together with others she baked 18 challahs the first week, then expanded it to include friends and family when she saw how grateful people were. Her mother, Naomi said: “The whole thing has been such a brilliant experience for Mia.”
GIFT’s Rabbi Sandor Milun said: “Amidst so many diversions, it is inspiring to see such amazing children who, as they are becoming adults, choose to ‘Give It Forward Today’. They are a shining example to our youth to step up and make a difference.”
If you have celebrated a Simcha since lockdown or about to, or it has been affected, and wish to be included on the wall please forward your photo to:
firstname.lastname@example.org and include your name, function type (e.g. Barmitzvah, wedding or other), date and Instagram name.
If you wish and are able to donate please go to www.jgift.org/virtualsimchawall.