For Hometown News
When 13-year-old Judah Lebofsky had to choose a Mitzvah project for his Bar Mitzvah he was a little apprehensive about how he could make a positive impact on his community. A Mitzvah project is a charitable service project that is conducted before a Bar Mitzvah, the Jewish coming-of-age ceremony.
One evening, his mother, Jill Lebofsky, returned home from an event where a speaker from SafeSpace discussed the organization's mission to provide shelter and other assistance to victims of domestic violence.
"My mom told me about SafeSpace and how kids and their mothers sometimes have to leave all of their belongings and run away in the night to safety at the SafeSpace shelter," said Judah. "I thought a great idea for my Mitzvah project would be to collect books for SafeSpace because most people enjoy reading, and a good book can be a comfort and escape from the real world."
SafeSpace is a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization that operates programs in Martin, St. Lucie, and Indian River counties where families are provided with a safe environment through emergency shelter and outreach services. The organization offers victims of domestic violence safety, support, and education to empower them and provide the assistance necessary to set a positive direction and gain control over their own lives.
With the project and beneficiaries in mind, Judah worked hard to spread the word about what he was doing. It was a team effort, as his family shared the information through a newsletter, word of mouth, and social media. Judah also hosted a book drive contest for his classmates at Hidden Oaks Middle School where he was able to collect 300 books. He also had a collection box placed at his temple, Temple Beit HaYam, and was able to gather books from the congregation as well.
In total Judah collected 725 books for the benefit of families receiving shelter and support through SafeSpace. When he realized he collected far more books than he anticipated, Judah decided to use some of the money he received as Bar Mitzvah gifts from family and friends to purchase bookshelves to house the books at the shelter.
"It's heartening to know that a young man would take an interest in our mission, and that, of all the possibilities for a Mitzvah project, Judah chose SafeSpace to be the beneficiary of his generosity," said Jill Borowicz, SafeSpace CEO. "Not only are we grateful to Judah for the donation of the books and the bookcases, but he is helping to spread awareness about our organization and the work we do, and helping us to connect to younger generations."
For more information, visit www.safespacefl.org or call 772-223-2399.