By Lisa Mallis
Each year synagogues and Jewish schools around the country, including Temple Kol Emeth, send home forms at Tu B’Shevat for families to purchase a tree or two in Israel for $18 each in honor or in memory of someone, thus generating donations to Jewish National Fund.
As the years go by, fewer families partake in this mitzvah. So when I opened the Molina envelope in March to check the information (all forms are mailed out together, so as the JNF fundraiser coordinator at TKE, I review them all to ensure they are complete), I was speechless while counting over $300 and a list of donors for 17 trees.
A note indicated that fifth-grader Cohen Molina, the oldest of Carissa and Maike Molina’s four children, decided to reach out to others in his family’s circle of friends and family and invite them to donate. His Facebook solicitation cited trees’ value as “a way to grow new plants, foods and restore water to an area that often suffers from great droughts.”
LM: Why did you decide to sell trees?
CM: I know Israel is mostly desert, and I want to help and plant some trees.
LM: How did you get so many tree orders?
CM: So when I got home, I told my mom about the paper (from the TKE religious school about the JNF fundraiser). I wondered how I could reach out to others. I asked if I could post it on Facebook (my parents’ page). My mom said yes, so I wrote a note to post and picked people. People responded!
LM: Your teachers and family are very proud of your accomplishment. How do you feel about what you did?
CM: I feel great!
LM: Do you think it is possible to motivate other students to sell more trees and help our homeland, Israel, even more? And if so, how?
CM: Yes, I think it’s possible. I’ll think about how.