Caleb Absell: Honouring his Bar Mitzvah with a Chai Mitzvah

There is no such thing as an act of volunteering or a donation that is too small to make a difference. Every minute and every dollar goes into making the lives of our families that much easier. Every act that brings joy matters. When you imagine all of the minutes and dollars added together, the impact is huge. Caleb Absell, 13, of Edmonton, asked for donations to Chai Lifeline Canada in lieu of gifts for his Bar Mitzvah. His story, in his own words below, shows what happens when it all adds up. 

“My name is Caleb. I am from Edmonton and I recently celebrated my Bar Mitzvah.

While planning my Bar Mitzvah, I wanted to make sure that this milestone occasion would be meaningful in many ways.

I knew that choosing a charity in lieu of receiving gifts was one way to make my Bar Mitzvah fulfilling. There are many good charities to choose from, and I didn’t know how to make the decision. 

Coincidentally, around that time, our good family friend Mettannah Jacobson was in Edmonton for a visit. Mettannah told me about her job in Montreal at Chai Lifeline Canada. 

I was so impressed hearing about all of the ways that Chai Lifeline Canada supports sick children and their family. From that moment I knew it was a great choice. I included a note with my Bar Mitzvah invitations about my choice to donate to charity in lieu of personal gifts. I was given a lot of positive feedback regarding this decision. 

I am so blessed to have very generous friends and family. As I saw the donations in my Chai Lifeline Canada webpage grow, I was very excited. Before my Bar Mitzvah the donations were almost $5,000 and I was amazed. Then within a few weeks after my big day, I was overwhelmed to see that I had raised over $10,000. I am so impressed at how generous people are when giving charitably, and how rewarding it felt for me.

A few weeks after my Bar Mitzvah, I was able to participate in a Chai Lifeline Canada event here in Edmonton. There was a group of boys that are brothers to sick kids that were being taken on a fun holiday. The boys were here to get away and have some fun; which I realize can be difficult with a sick sibling at home. I joined these boys for an evening activity and had dinner with them. It was such a nice way to experience Chai Lifeline Canada’s work in person.

Yasher Koach to Chai Lifeline Canada for the wonderful work that you are doing. And thank you for helping to make my Bar Mitzvah extra special and meaningful.”

– Caleb Absell, Edmonton Alberta