Hannah Damiani celebrated her 7th birthday on January 9, 2010. She asked all of her friend to make donations to Ve’ahavta, instead of presents, to help the homeless. In January, Hannah and her brother Seth, came into Ve’ahavta’s office to give us the funds they had raised to help the homeless. What a beautiful and compassionate gesture. We learn much from little people.
Hannah decided to contribute to Ve’ahavta becasuse she says, “she wants to help people” especially those who live on the streets. Here is the thing. Her parents, Sam and Marnie, told me their children strengthen them. What a beautiful thing to hear from parents. What they meant by that was that when Hannah and Seth see people in need, like a homeless fellow living on the street, they insist that their parents stop and help.
There have been times when they were so upset but the fact that someone was so in need, that both children would cry. I know this level of empathy. It runs deeply.
On one occasion, the family was heading down to the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and Hannah and her father spotted a fellow who needed some change. They were short on it so the next time they went downtown Hannah insisted the famly drive around to find him. They didn’t but saw someone else in need sitting on the edge of the street. They went over and gave him money.
“Early on when Seth was starting to read, he saw a sign that a person did not have a home or money for food; all of a sudden we heard crying in the back seat of the car. It was Seth who was so upset by what he read,” said mother, Marnie Burke.
They are beautiful children with an intuitive sense of empathy and caring. Like so many children they understand the importance of sharing and the true meaning of tzedakah, justice, finding balance in our world. The question is, our Hannah and Seth like this because of their DNA or is it a learned response? Are most or all children like them? Do we as adults have that inside of us?
Sam and Marnie constantly remind the children how fortunate they are to have so much when so many have so little. Seth and Hannah would like to personally challenge all children to play their role in tikun olam (repairing the world) by assisting those on the streets of Toronto or around the world through acts of tzedakah in support of Ve’ahavta’s projects.
- Avrum Rosensweig
Thank you so much for including this on your website. Hannah and Seth were sheepishly thrilled to read it!
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Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful story! Hannah and Seth seem like amazing children and I hope that they will continue to share this warmth and happiness with those around them in the days to come!