This past May, soon-to-be twelve-year-old Moriah Kanar, who lives with her family in Tel Aviv, was in the late stages of planning for her upcoming bat mitzvah celebration, to be held the next month.
It was during that time that the IDF embarked on the eleven-day Operation Guardian of the Walls, targeting Hamas and other terror groups in Gaza.
With the images of war on television, Moriah and her family decided to explore options for a meaningful bat mitzvah project, which would show the residents of southern Israel that they are not alone.
The Kanars posted on social media asking for suggestions for a project, and received a response from Rabbi Ari Katz, Director of PR at the Max and Ruth Schwartz Yeshivat Hesder in Sderot.
With Rabbi Katz’s help, the family decided to host an art workshop for a group of girls in Sderot. Moriah turned to family and friends in Israel and abroad, for their support in raising the funds needed for the art supplies and workshop.
After raising the necessary funds, and since the situation has calmed down significantly (the rockets have stopped for now, but incendiary balloons are still being launched at southern Israel nearly daily), the Kanars arrived in Sderot this past Sunday with some of Moriah’s childhood friends from Jerusalem, where the family used to live, to hold the workshop.
Around 15 girls - including Moriah, her friends, along with 9-10 year old girls from a local summer day-camp run by a school in Sderot, gathered for a professional art workshop run by local artists Haviv and Sharon Ben Abu from “Haviv Art.” Some of the couple’s artistic sculptures are on display throughout the city.
Moriah’s mother Vika said that the idea was “to host a day of fun for the girls in Sderot, through an art workshop,” after everything they had been through in recent months. “I saw how the girls were bonding and laughing together, with art and pizza. It was especially meaningful.”
Vika said that purchasing the art supplies and pizza locally, and bringing in local artists from Sderot to run the workshop, was another way to financially contribute to the community, which had been hard-hit.
Moriah also decided to contribute a portion of her bat mitzvah money to Sderot’s Yeshivat Hesder.
After the workshop, Rabbi Katz said: “It was an honor to help Moriah carry out such a meaningful event. The Hesder Yeshiva in Sderot is proud to facilitate bar/bar mitzvah projects, and to partner in other types of projects or events, which bring happiness to the children of Sderot.”
Katz added, “The last several months have been quite difficult, and it’s great to see groups visiting again from Israel and abroad. I’m happy to take visitors on tours of the hesder [yeshiva] and of Sderot, to show them the resilience and vibrancy of this beautiful community.”