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Yossi Weinbaum, left
Yossi Weinbaum, left

Sometimes doing the right thing is easy, but sometimes it involves giving up something we love.

Yossi Weinbaum is 9-years-old and lives in Hawaii. He has been playing soccer for three years, but recently he came home from a game in tears.

“Before we began playing,” explained Yossi, “the referee saw my tzitzit hanging out of my shirt and told me I couldn’t play unless I took them off or cut off the strings.”

Unsure of how to proceed, Yossi—who has never encountered a problem like this before—took the advice of his coach to tuck in his tzitzit and get back on the field, joining his teammates on “Hawaii 808.” Within minutes, he scored a goal, and things appeared to be back to normal.

But then in the second half of the game, the referee noticed his kipah and ordered him to remove it or leave the game.

Even though he loves the game and wanted to play, taking off his kipah was non-negotiable, so Yossi walked off the field.

Later, Yossi received a letter of apology from the referee who did not know what a kipah and tzitzit are, and also from the Oahu League President. Yossi can now play again with confidence, having learned a valuable lesson about himself: he is strong in his convictions, even in the face of challenge.

Have you ever been in a similar position? Tell us about it in the comments below!

Yossi Weinbaum, left, and his soccer team in Hawaii. The 9-year-old left a game this season when a referee asked him to remove his kipah (after he was required to tuck in his tzitzit).
Yossi Weinbaum, left, and his soccer team in Hawaii. The 9-year-old left a game this season when a referee asked him to remove his kipah (after he was required to tuck in his tzitzit).

Jewish girls across the world are joining Bat Mitzvah clubs. There are over 500 clubs in more than 30 countries! The girls receive journals and club kits as they prepare to embark on a year’s worth of cooking, art projects, volunteer projects and learning together. Each child also gets an apron to use when they are elbow-deep in crafting and cooking.

The groups meet on Sundays, twice a month, to discuss what it means to officially be approaching womanhood. They also talk through the practical aspects of preteen and teenage development, and seek to give the girls the confidence to make sound choices and do the right thing even when it’s not always comfortable or popular to do so. The girls also participate in mitzvah projects based on their interests, such as volunteering to pack food at a local pantry, sending care packages to Israeli soldiers and other ideas they offer.

For more information and to find a club near you, go to: www.batmitzvahclub.com.