By Jackie Stochel
On Purim, February 24, 2013, I hosted a Dog Show Charity Event for my Mitzvah Project at my synagogue Temple Beth Shalom of Mahopac, New York, before our Purim carnival. I knew that if I hosted a major event, I could raise both money and awareness about the Israel Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind. With the assistance of my Rabbi, Eytan Hammerman, we came up with the idea of a dog show, we would call it, "Best in Shul!"
For this dog show, I was able to get eighteen dogs, belonging to members of our congregation registered to be contestants. There were nine categories the canines could compete in to show-off all of their hidden talents. Among the categories were, Best Tricks, Best Dancer, Best Speaker and even Best Costume, it was Purim after all! Once all the dogs performed, the audience was able to buy voting tickets to cast a ballot for their favorite canine in each category. This dog show turned out to be so much fun for our congregation, it was something that had never been done before and added so much to our Purim celebration. I was able to raise over $500.00. Not only did this event raise money but it was also able to exemplify the impact dogs can make our lives by providing companionship and joy.
In November 2012 I was fortunate to visit the Israel Guide Dog Center for the Blind in Beit Oved, Israel and meet the wonderful volunteers and puppies. I was truly inspired by the work that is done there to aid the blind citizens of Israel. I am so proud that I chose to represent this wonderful foundation for my Mitzvah project. It is my desire to continue to support awareness of this amazing foundation.
Amit Bar-El was a soldier fighting house-to-house during the 2006 Lebanon War. As he rushed to the aid of a wounded comrade, Amit opened a door only to have a rocket fly past and explode in the wall next to him. He received multiple shrapnel wounds
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