Finding the Silver Lining

By David Cornman

On this day five years ago my life was shattered into a million pieces. My twelve year old brother, Ezra, was suffocated by the most playful thing in the universe. As much as it hurt, as painful as it felt, I knew it was for the best. Let me rephrase that - no matter how much something hurts it is for our ultimate benefit and there is some silver lining. Often the silver lining may be buried in tons of rubble, but somewhere it is there.

A few weeks after Ezra's passing my family found a possible silver lining: in one of the greatest communities - if not the greatest - there are thousands of families living paycheck-to-paycheck, fighting to stay afloat. For these mainstream community members, even the most basic Bar Mitzvah can cripple their finances and leave them in heaps of debt, or worst, force them to neglect their child's big day, and leave behind a young boy riddled in embarrassment.

Five years ago, my family made a pledge to eradicate this hardship from community members. No longer will a family need to mortgage their future to pay for a Bar Mitzvah or have a child stand-by and watch all his friends celebrate the big day while he is unable to. In the memory of my brother, who never had a chance to have a Bar Mitzvah, we've been fortunate to help over 60 families. Providing them with the most basic necessities (Tefillin, Koracha, clothing and so much more) to ensure these boys have dignified Bar Mitzvah's they can be proud of.

Let me tell you about one particular case we worked on a little while ago. One day I received a phone call from a young mother in the community. She told me her story and explained how she had no money, and no plan for a Bar Mitzvah for her youngest son who was turning 13 in less than a month. After conducting my due diligence, I uncovered the real story: her husband of close to two decades decided one day he had enough, and wanted to call it quits.

He literarily left, with no divorce papers, and no financial resources for his wife and children. A child, completely innocent was going through hell on earth. Not only was his family in ruins, the most important day of his life was going to be a mess. This boy, who watched both of his older brothers and all of his friends have Bar Mitzvahs, had no hope. BUT, because of the generosity of this community, a few weeks after I received the phone call, this boy got up to the Torah, decked out in a beautiful suit, tallit draped around him, with Tefillin strapped to his arm. And most importantly, a smile on his face.

We plan to continue to find ways to put smiles on as many faces as possible. Our mission is to work day and night to ensure the future members of our community, the ones that will take us into the next gear, start their adult lives on the right foot. As our organization grows we need partners!

1) There are plenty of people in the community that need help. If you know someone we can help, refer them to us!

2) We have plenty of different sponsorships available from Tefillin, Korachas, clothing, Torah reading lessons and more!

For more information about the Ezra Cornman Bar Mitzvah Foundation, please contact:

David Cornman
(646) 628-7128