His Bar-Mitzvah Mitzvah

When I was 10, I read an article about Jasmine in our local paper. I was so touched by her story that I decided to write her a letter and tell her how brave I thought she was. My grandfather had passed away the prior year from brain cancer and I knew what he had gone through. I couldn’t believe that such a young girl would have to go through the same thing. I told her she was my hero and that I hoped to meet her someday (I didn’t tell her about my grandfather because I didn’t want to upset her).

myherojazzy2That year, I started 5th grade at a new school. When I walked into my first class, there was Jasmine! We became instant friends. That week, I read my letter in front of the entire class and at the end, everyone clapped and hugged Jasmine. For the next half hour, they asked Jasmine questions about her surgeries and treatments. Now they understood why she sounded different when she talked and walks slowly. The teacher called my mom that day and told her that he was so proud!

Jasmine lives in a small house with her mom. Because her mom is on disability, they struggle with bills. Jasmine gets special treatment in Boston because their hospital is the only one in the country that specializes in her type of cancer. When they go to Boston, the flights are expensive. They also have to pay for hotels and food. They were almost unable to go on their last trip but we raised enough money through a fundraiser to send them. When I was planning my Bar Mitzvah, I was having a hard time picking a mitzvah project that was meaningful to me. One day it hit me. I told my parents that instead of a bar mitzvah project, I would like to do a “Bar-Mitzvah Mitzvah.” I told them that I wanted to donate every monetary gift that I receive from my bar mitzvah to Jasmine’s medical fund. My parents told me that I should keep some of the money but I insisted that I give it all to her. In the end, I was able to contribute $5000. Now that my story is on the news and Yahoo, I started a GoFundMe account to try to get $10,000 (or more) for her medical fund. This money will go towards all doctor and medicine co-pays and toward anything that is not covered by insurance (like her next trip to Boston).

I did this not only because it made me feel good, but because Jasmine deserves it. She has gone through so much in the past 4 years and I want to be there for her to help her in any way I can. It feels so much better to give than to receive and I hope other kids and adults learn that from my story.

All the Best,

Jesse Kaufman

Address for cards / letters / checks:
P.O. Box 6, Trafford, PA 15085

Jasmine and Jesse at his bar mitzvah

Jasmine and Jesse at his bar mitzvah