For most kids, their 13th birthday means blowing out candles, having a party, and becoming a teenager. For Sabrina of Bethesda, and other Jewish teens, their 13th birthday is marked with a Bar or Bat Mitzvah, which signifies their entry into adulthood and ability to lead their communities. Sabrina studied with a religious teacher for the better part of a year, delivered a speech in front of her whole congregation at Temple Sinai in DC, and completed a charitable project benefitting City Dogs & City Kitties Rescue that related to her Torah portion.
From interacting with street cats in Jerusalem to playing with her family dog Rizzo, Sabrina really connects with animals. With her Bat Mitzvah Torah portion focused on 2nd chances and Moses smashing the 10 Commandments, choosing a project that gives animals a second chance connected everything.
Sabrina’s family friend runs an organization that teachers kids how to be philanthropists. That was how Sabrina started researching the different ways to help animals. CDCK’s mission resonated with her the most – and we couldn’t be more grateful that it did.
When she learned that CDCK's biggest need was money, she sprung into action. With some help from family and friends, Sabrina spread the word far and wide asking for donations. (She also got creative and used cat food wrapped in pink tissue paper as decorations at her Bat Mitzvah!) Folks who she knew – and some she didn’t – donated so generously because they knew how much Sabrina cared. And they really wanted to commemorate her Bat Mitzvah.
When all was said and done, Sabrina raised over $5,000 to help fund CDCK’s new Intake and Operations Center!
It is clear that Sabrina’s amazing accomplishment isn’t by accident. In Sabrina’s family, community service is a legacy. Her great-grandfather helped get the Smithsonian institution off the ground (he even has a brick in the castle on Washington, DC’s National Mall!). And her parents are so happy that Sabrina found something she’s passionate about and an area where she can make a huge difference.
Sabrina is such a remarkable teen. She isn’t the kid who you’ll find up in front of a group of people, and she may never be the loudest person in the room. But when it comes to animals, it’s clear that it’s her passion and something she’ll be involved in for the rest of her life.
To commemorate Sabrina’s hard work, CDCK will dedicate a transport of animals to the DC area in her honor. She’ll also be a Guardian Level donor in the CDCK fundraising campaign.
Sabrina shows that any animal lover can make a difference at any age. Thank you so much to Sabrina and her family!
City Dogs Rescue & City Kitties volunteers.