Not one to do anything simply, one Boulder girl is enhancing her Bat Mitzvah project and wants all of Boulder to help! Buy Erin Barrekette’s challah on August 21st and you will be supporting a Jewish education initiative with the new Milk and Honey Farm at the Boulder JCC.
Erin has a history of using her birthday as an opportunity to raise money for charity. In 2010, Erin raised £630 (approximately $1000 USD) at her seventh birthday party to donate to an animal shelter in London, her hometown, by asking her party guests to contribute the money they would have otherwise spent on gifts. In 2011, she chose the delicate ecosystem of the Louisiana wetlands to be the beneficiary of the proceeds from her eighth birthday. That year Erin raised over $1500 USD for the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana (CRCL) to help rebuild acres of wetlands that were wiped out and struggling to recover after Hurricane Katrina. Erin was so successful in her fundraising that she was honored as one of the CRCL’s “big” donors and was the youngest in that category. Both the British and Louisiana media covered her story of generosity.
This year, for her Bat Mitzvah, Erin has chosen Boulder’s Milk and Honey Farm at the J as her subject of charity.
Erin has been working as a volunteer with the Beit Izim, the Goat Co-op that will move to the site of Milk and Honey Farm once construction of the Boulder JCC and Farm area on Boulder Jewish Commons is completed. Erin fell in love with the goats when she was there for their birthing last year. Her interest in caring for them moved Boulder JCC’s Farm and Sustainability Director, Becca Weaver, to take Erin on and teach her all about farming and caring for the animals.
The two acre Milk and Honey Farm is a new initiative being developed on the back of the goat and chicken co-op that has existed in Boulder for over four years. The farm’s objective is to be an educational facility as well as a community gathering place. The idea is for people to make personal connections with one another while doing something meaningful. A true sense of community will be built through all the opportunities to work, learn and celebrate together at Milk and Honey Farm – all grounded in Jewish heritage, tradition and values.
“It is really the perfect choice for Erin,” said her father, Jonathan Steinberg. “The farm brings together Erin’s love of animals and nature, her passion for connecting with people, and her Jewish identity.”
Erin is taking the mitzvah aspect of her Bat Mitzvah project even beyond charity. She is gathering women from across the Jewish community to gather together to bake challah for Shabbat, thus fulfilling the commandment of challah mentioned in the book of Numbers (Bamidbar). These loaves will be sold and the money donated to the farm. Erin, therefore, is nurturing the community through food, fulfilling a biblical commandment and giving that money as charity to support a Jewish institution dedicated to Jewish values and education. And finally, the Challah bake will be providing an opportunity for all these women to work together and earn an extra mitzvah through being able to say the blessing of challah together as they honor women everywhere.
If you would like to order Erin’s Challah or support her project to help build Milk and Honey Farm, click here.
For more information on Milk and Honey Farm at the J and how you can get involved, email Becca@boulderjcc.org.