It’s not about the limit of what you can do, it’s about doing what you can. Such is the philosophy that drove a young resident of Bergenfield, New Jersey, to start a fundraiser based on selling kippot to raise money for United Hatzalah in Israel. Out of nothing, young Aiden Sausen raised over $500 in a short time. The 13-year-old student of Yeshivat Noam in Paramus began the initiative after hearing a speaker from the organization talk about the important work that United Hatzalah does to save lives.
Following the passing of Ezra Schwartz last November, a speaker from United Hatzalah visited the school and explained how the national volunteer EMS organization responds to medical emergencies and saves lives across the country. “Aiden heard, together with his class, about how United Hatzalah responds to emergencies faster than other organizations, and how they help the people who are injured,” said Rosalyn Sausen, Aiden’s mother.
“After hearing the speech, Aiden wanted to donate money,” she explained, “so we went on the organization’s website, www.israelrescue.org, to learn about the various options in the MyMitzvah campaign. After deciding upon a goal Aiden then had to find a way to raise money for the donation.”
“The MyMitzvah platform offers an exciting way to build your community, keep Judaism relevant, and establish a strong, immeasurable, and unbreakable connection with Israel,” said the MyMiztvah campaign manager Jason Katz. “MyMitzvah is a fun and effective way to teach people about philanthropy and connect families to Israel because it gives them something tangible to work towards- on your next visit to Israel you can touch and hold in your hands the lifesaving equipment you worked hard to make possible.”
Aiden decided to utilize a talent that he has in order to help raise funds for the campaign. “He had designed the kippot for his Bar Mitzvah,” said Rosalyn, “and decided to start a ‘Bar Mitzvah project’ to make specially designed kippot to raise the money. He created the whole thing himself, and even added the website and the donation request to the kippot.”
The kippot sold for $12 and $15 respectively, depending on the color. “People thought that the gesture was beautiful and wanted to learn more about the organization. The campaign raised money as well as awareness about the organization.”
Rosalyn said that the people in the school bought the kippot directly from Aiden after classes or during recess, and that the idea became so popular that the family began receiving emails inquiring about where the kippot could be purchased. “The school got behind the fundraising drive and sent out a notice in their email newsletter, and even allowed Aiden to sell them at basketball games.”
“Aiden was really inspired by the organization and wanted so much to help out. He was ecstatic that he was able to make this donation happen,“ concluded Rosalyn.
In a letter that was mailed to the Friends of United Hatzalah office in New York, which the organization received permission to reprint, Aiden explained why he decided to hold the fundraising drive.
“My name is Aiden Sausen and I wanted to do a special Bar Mitzvah project that had meaning for me. I feel very connected to the ideals upheld by the organization and I really want to help Israel even in the smallest way. I thought that selling kippot would be cool and all the money could go to United Hatzalah to continue their work in helping to save lives in Israel. I am sending you all of the