Boy, 13, raising funds, spirits


October 16, 2002|By Heather Tepe | Heather Tepe,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

SINCE 1902, teddy bears have given comfort to countless children around the world. For his bar mitzvah project, 13-year-old Yoni Grossman-Boder found a way to use the stuffed animals to give aid to victims of terrorism in Israel.

Yoni is trying to raise $55,000 - through the sale of a toy bear he helped design - to purchase an ambulance for Magen David Adom, Israel's equivalent of the Red Cross.

"I saw all the killings that were happening in Israel on TV, and I really wanted to do something to help," Yoni said.

He said that after he saw a stuffed bear in his mother's office, "It just kind of clicked that bears are cute and it might motivate people to give a donation."

Yoni is the son of David Boder and Rabbi Susan Grossman of Beth Shalom Congregation in Hickory Ridge. He is an eighth-grader at Krieger Schechter Day School in Baltimore.

"We've all been touched by terrorism. Here's a kid who's doing something about it," his mother said. "He's giving us an opportunity to do something concrete. He's not just being afraid."

Yoni, who had his bar mitzvah in July, began researching his project in the winter. He checked the Internet for bear manufacturers and found a company willing to work with him on his venture.

The bear he designed is 7 inches high and wears a red sweater with a white heart on the front. Inside the heart is a Jewish star. The bear is named Raffi, after Raphael, the angel of healing in the Jewish religion, Grossman said.

Yoni then approached local merchants to ask for their help. Some put collection cans in their stores.

Vinod and Sunil Mulhotra, owners of Parcel Plus in Hickory Ridge Village Center, agreed to provide free boxes and handling for shipping the bears.

Gary Rosenbaum, owner of Party!Party!Party!, stocks the bears in all three of his store's locations. The bears are also offered for $12.99 each at Jacob's Ladder in Baltimore, Greater Washington Jewish Bookstore in Wheaton and at Jay Levine's Judaica in New York. The bear can be ordered on Yoni's Web site:

Yoni's project has raised $10,000. He estimates it will take another 18 months to reach his goal. He credits his parents for their help and guidance in this project. He said he is also grateful for the support of the community.

"What I've learned through this is that anything is possible," he said. "People can really help you."

Chorus to play Mozart

The Columbia Pro Cantare Chorus, directed by Frances Motyca Dawson, will perform at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 26 at Jim Rouse Theatre at Wilde Lake High School. In its 26th season, the chorus will perform pieces by Mozart.

West Columbians who perform with the chorus are Erika Burlas, Franzela Credle, Sandy Fairhurst, Lisa Freund, Stephen Fultton, Carol Galbraith, Cheryl Garnes, Carolyn Gayle, Steve Greif, Eleanor Jennings, Barbara Kraus, Tom Lorsung, Mary Louise McCally, Betsy Middleton, Jinny Racine, Richard Roca, Lynn Stott, Charles A. Thomas, Frank Westbrook, Deloise Wilkie and Lynda Ann Willabus.

Tickets are $23 in advance; $20 for senior citizens and students. A $2 surcharge will be applied to tickets purchased at the door.

Information: 410-465-5744.

50+ Expo

Senior citizens and their caregivers should mark Friday on their calendars. That's the date for this year's 50+ Expo at Wilde Lake High School.

The free event, scheduled from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., offers more than 125 exhibits geared toward senior citizens, a health fair offering flu shots, an alternative health fair and a job fair, as well as food and entertainment.

Shuttle buses from The Mall in Columbia will run from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Information: 410-313-6406.

Yard sale

The Town Center Community Association will sponsor a village-wide yard sale from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday at Vantage Point Park on Vantage Point Road. Spaces are free to sellers.

Information: 410-730-4744.

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