Meet the supporter: Jonny Bechler

Jonny Bechler is one of the hospital’s newest bed sponsors, generously donating funds raised from his Bar Mitzvah to support patients in the Rosella Ward.

According to Jewish law, when Jewish boys turn 13, and girls 12, they are now accountable for their actions and become a Bar or Bat Mitzvah. After this age, they bear their own responsibility for Jewish ritual law, tradition, and ethics, and are able to participate in all areas of Jewish community life.

“The Bar Mitzvah ceremony is a key milestone for a Jewish boy and was a joyous time for Jonny and our family.  In line with widespread practice, Jonny was called up to read an ancient passage from the Torah (the five books of Moses) shortly after he turned 13,” said mum Maxine, “which, for Jonny, meant months of tutoring to not only learn the words in Hebrew, but also learn the precise way to sing it.”

With the help of a Bar Mitzvah teacher, Jonny worked weekly to study his passage and perfect its delivery in preparation for his ceremony in late 2017. On the Sabbath shortly after his 13th birthday, Jonny, surrounded by family and friends, delivered his reading at the family synagogue.

In addition to reading from the Torah, Jonny also delivered a speech called a d’var Torah reflecting on his interpretation of the Torah passage.  “My passage featured the story of a child being protected, which relates really well to The Royal Children’s Hospital,” said Jonny.

The Bechler Family has spent time at the RCH, both when Jonny received care when he was younger, as well as in support of their family friends and fellow fundraisers the Kurcs (read Libby’s story here). It was the witnessing of the hospital’s support firsthand that inspired Jonny to raise funds for the RCH in lieu of gifts for his Bar Mitzvah.  The term ‘mitzvah’ is commonly used to describe a good deed, and this was truly exhibited by Jonny choosing to give to charity.

“As part of the planning for my Bar Mitzvah, I sat down with my parents and decided that rather than receive gifts, I wanted to ask our family and friends to consider making a donation.  My parents were very supportive of this, so we included a card with the invitation that explained to family and guests how they could donate,” said Jonny.

Jonny was overwhelmed with the support that RCH received which exceeded $8,000. Through research into the different options at the hospital, Jonny felt the RCH bed sponsorship program was a great way to support patients in the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit. Jonny’s donation is recognised on the donor wall outside the Rosella Ward.

“It’s cool to come and see my name on the board and know that through my Bar Mitzvah I was able to support the RCH,” said Jonny, “I’d love to come back to see it on the anniversary of my Bar Mitzvah next year!”