Raising the Bar

by David Rhode

For any of you who’ve followed Pitch In For Baseball you already know what I’m about to say.  I don’t know where we’d be without the support of families and primarily boys getting involved with us as part of their Bar Mitzvah.

For those who may not know, a Bar Mitzvah (male) or Bat Mitzvah (female) is a rite of passage in the Jewish faith where at the age of 13 you become accountable for your actions and part of the adult community.  In practical terms it normally means you have an awesome party and get a lot of gifts.

In conjunction with a Bar or Bat Mitzvah, the young person is many times required to do a “Mitzvah project”.  A Mitzvah is a act of kindness.  This normally materializes into the young person getting involved with some cause or charity that has personal meaning to them.

Fortunately for Pitch In For Baseball (PIFB), a lot of 13 year old boys care deeply about baseball.  In our seven+ year history, literally hundreds of boys (and a few girls) have chosen Pitch In For Baseball for their Mitzvah project.  In most cases the young person will conduct an equipment collection in their league or in the synagogue.  However in recent years, many young people have also started to fundraise on behalf of PIFB.  This is actually quite simple in this era of online fundraising.  Kids can create their own PIFB affiliated fundraising webpage.  They email this link to friends and relatives and then off we go.

I’m rarely surprised by the results anymore.  Kids and their network of supporters are very caring and generous.  But I have to say that I was caught off guard in the case of Murray Lebovitz.  Murray is from Tennessee and while the results are not yet complete, he has raised the bar on fundraising for us to new heights.  Through this morning, he has raised almost $8,000 to benefit our organization and kids we serve.  It’s simply awesome.

(Murray Lebovitz)

In practical terms, Murray and his efforts will help fund an entire 4 team league with new equipment.  That’s a little more than a Mitzvah.  In baseball terms, that’s a grand slam.

Invariably when a child has a giving heart and a desire to help others, you need look no further than the parents to see where it comes from.  Obviously Murray’s folks have made it clear that helping others is not just a requirement, it’s what we do.

A Mitzvah is not just an obligation or a box to check on your way to your Bar Mitzvah reception.  It’s both a responsibility and a privilege.  Murray Lebovitz and his family have set the new standard for our organization.  Pitch In For Baseball and the children we serve as so glad that they did.

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