Jenna's Mitzvah Project

Hi!  I am Jenna Asher.  I am becoming a Bat Mitzvah on April 15, 2018.  This webpage is about my Mitzvah Project.

My Mitzvah Project is to satisfy the mitzvot of bikur cholim – the mitzvah to visit and care for the sick and injured – AND hiddur p’nai zaken – the mitzvah to show respect for the elderly – by providing pet therapy to residents of nursing homes who suffer from dementia from things like Alzheimer’s disease.  My grandfather (pictured below) died from Alzheimer’s disease and suffered from dementia.  He had a cat and enjoyed playing with it and talking to it.

But, the problems with typical pet therapy are that:

•  Alzheimer’s and dementia patients show a particular type of anxiety and restlessness.

•  Their distress can happen at different times of the day and especially at night.

•  Pet visits have to be arranged.

•  Pet visits can usually only happen during the day.

•  Pets need to be fed and cared for.

Nursing homes have started using robotic pets.  My goal is to raise enough money to provide at least 2 nursing homes in the area with robot dementia-care pets.  I have the support of CaringKind  – the leading expert on Alzheimer’s and dementia caregiving in NYC, formerly known as the Alzheimer’s Association, NYC Chapter.  Anything left after purchasing the robotic pets will be donated to CaringKind.

Here's a video to help explain how robotic pet therapy works.

The benefits of robotic dementia-care pet therapy are:

•  Robotic pets don’t have to be fed or cared for.

•  Robotic pets are ready to help 24 hours a day 7 days a week, at a moment’s notice and whenever a resident is feeling distressed.

•  Residents love and respond to the attention they get from these pets and give to these pets.

•  Many residents can’t tell that they’re robotic and interact with them as if they are real.

Friends and family, this is how I need your help.  I will be very thankful for any donations you can make to help me along my way towards my Mitzvah Project goal.  Please click on the DONATE NOW button or message me for instructions if you want to pay by check.

And, helping me with my mitzvot is the same as doing the mitzvot yourself.  Here's a little more about the mitzvot my Mitzvah Project is satisfying.

Bikur cholimביקור חולים – the mitzvah to visit and care for the sick and injured. 

It is considered an aspect of selflessness and loving-kindness that stems from when G-d visited Abraham after his circumcision.  “Just as the Holy One, Blessed be He, visits the sick, as it is written with regard to God’s appearing to Abraham following his circumcision:  'And the Lord appeared unto him by the terebinths of Mamre' (Genesis 18:1), so too, should you visit the sick.” – Talmud Sotah 14a

Bikur cholim is mentioned in the Talmud (the study of the Torah) several times, stating, “One must visit even a hundred times a day” and that “He who visits a person who is ill takes away a sixtieth of his pain.”

“The mitzvah of Bikur Cholim obligates the community to take care of the worldly concerns of the patient and to provide essential peace of mind.’ – Shulchan Aruch (known as the Code of Jewish Law).

Hiddur P’nai Zaken - היור פני זאן – the mitzvah to show respect for the elderly.

In Book of Psalms (71:9-10) we hear the cry of the elderly:  “Cast me not off in the time of old age; when my strength faileth, forsake me not.”

“Thou shalt rise up before the old, and honor the face of the zaken (the elderly).” Leviticus 19:32.

A little about me:

I am in the 7th grade.  I love theater and have starred in many productions in my community.  I also love to dance, paint, sing, travel (especially to NYC), and hang out with friends and family ... and eat ice cream.

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Jenna Asher 
Yorktown, NY