August 16, 2009 / 26 Av 5769
Celebrants were beaming as Benjamin Sternklar-Davis gave his thank you speech at yesterday's playground dedication ceremony in Sderot.
Benjamin's Bar Mitzvah is in April, and as he becomes a man, he is focusing his efforts on tikun olam: his bar mitzvah gift, which he is giving through the Jewish Agency for Israel and the UJA-Federation of New York, is a playground- which Benjamin is personally designing- to be built on Brit Arim Street in Sderot.
Benjamin is following the path led by his family - his mother Sarah Sternklar is one of the founders of "Moms for Israel," which has invested greatly in Israel's vulnerable children after the second Lebanon war and Sderot.
In honor of Benjamin's gift the city welcomed Benjamin's family first at the mayor's office, with a personal reception with the mayor of the city, Mr. David Buskila, and other municipality officials and directors of the Jewish Agency for Israel. The celebration continued at a ceremony featuring hip hop and rock and roll performances by young musicians from Sderot. Mayor Buskila thanked Benjamin at the ceremony, and gave him a beautiful tefillin shawl on behalf of the city. Benjamin and his friends then had a chance to place Benjamin's thank you speech and a scroll signed by all of the city representatives and ceremony attendees into a time capsule, which they buried in the ground where the playground is to be built.
Benjamin's playground will be completed just in time for his Bar Mitzvah in April, which he will be celebrating in Israel. He plans to hold a ribbon cutting ceremony in which he will play with the children of Sderot as they use the playground for the first time.