As Sara Merker, Arielle Kahana, Julia and Jacob Hyman were preparing for their special day and their joint Bar/Bat Mitzvah family trip to Israel they began a quest to find a chessed opportunity that would allow them and their family members to make a difference in the lives of children less fortunate than themselves. When hearing about Afikim’s work with children at risk and their families they chose to make Afikim the beneficiary of their efforts.

In a collaborative effort, the Merker, Hyman and Kahana families generously donated funds to purchase gardening equipment, plants, paints and furniture and set off to beautify the grounds of the community center. In the summer heat, the family members, joined by Afikim participants, raked, hoed, planted and painted. Three hours later, no one could believe what had been achieved – a blossoming corner of beauty in one of Jerusalem’s poorest neighborhoods. Now when children, and their parents, arrive for Afikim programming they are greeted by a beautiful garden and wall mural – a pleasant reminder of their friends abroad who cared enough to make a difference.