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Noah Silver's Mitzvah Project

My name is Noah Silver. I am almost 13 years old, my bar mitzvah quickly approaching. One of the most important parts of becoming a bar mitzvah is doing "Tikkun Olam," or "repairing the world," usually through a "mitzvah project." During the summer of 2011, my grandparents took me and my family on a vacation in Africa. It was an incredible experience that changed my life. We saw lots of amazing, beautiful animals and learned a lot about them. But something that was even more special than the African animals was the people who lived there. We visited several African tribes, villages, and markets meeting and interacting with the people who lived there. At some of the villages we were greeted by young, happy, smiling children who ran up to us and held our hands or said hello. We also visited a school where I got the chance to interact with some children who were my age. All of the people were so friendly and nice, and always had a smile on their face. However, something that made me sad was that all of the people lived in poor conditions. Ever since that trip, I have wanted to help those people. So, when it was time to start my mitzvah project, it was an obvious choice what I wanted to do.

I started searching for a way to help people in Africa right away. During my searching, I stumbled upon a Jewish tribe in Uganda called the Abayudaya. However, as you may have guessed, being a Jewish tribe in Africa is not very easy. The community went through a lot and faced a lot of challenges. Their Judaism was threatened by external forces, but nevertheless a dedication to Judaism remained among a core group. Rabbi Gershom Simozu's experience attending Rabbinic school in the United States helped to reinvigorate the Abayudaya community. He continued to teach the tribe about their Jewish heritage, and helped hundreds of the tribe members to convert to Judaism.

I find the story of Abayudaya very compelling and inspirational, and want to help them. For my project, I am raising money for the tribe so that the families can buy goats. Many of the Abayudaya members are farmers, and a goat could help them very much. It is expected that at the end of 12 months, a female goat will have given birth to two or four others, helping the family make money to buy food, clothing, school supplies, and more. If you also find the story of Abayudaya inspiring, please help me by making a donation! One goat costs between $60 and $70. Thank you for your help!

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