Boston Youth Bar Mitzvah Celebration Takes Action for Trees

Dorchester, MA (April 27, 2013) – Evan J., a 13-year-old who lives in a Boston suburb, recently celebrated becoming a Bar Mitzvah. As part of the event, Evan chose to focus the celebration on trees and to support ACTrees for his Mitzvah project. His is an inspiring and generous gesture that spans the rich Judaic tradition of planting trees to the healing power of community tree planting after the Boston Marathon bombings.

Evan tree planting on the Neponset River Greenway, Dorchester, MA

Evan tree planting on the Neponset River Greenway, Dorchester, MA

It’s traditional at Evan’s Temple for the Bat and Bar Mitzvah to do tzedakah (social action) projects. This action makes clear that the Mitzvot (commandments) to which they will be obligated encompass both ritual and social action. It’s also a way to underscore the Jewish concept of tikkun olam, or repairing the world.

This is what motivated Evan, and he chose to focus his Bar Mitzvah celebration on trees and to support ACTrees for his Mitzvah project. Along with the importance of trees in Jewish tradition, Evan feels that trees and urban forests help repair the world in many ways—not only through the obvious environmental benefits, but also through numerous economic, public health, and social benefits.

Evan wrote to everyone invited to his Bar Mitzvah about the benefits of trees and urban forests and asked them to consider donating to ACTrees and participating in local tree planting events. Then, at the celebration following his Bar Mitzvah, he gave each person a Colorado Spruce seedling and asked them to plant the trees when they returned to their homes.

Colorado Spruce seedlings given to those who attended Evan's Bar Mitzvah

Colorado Spruce seedlings given to those who attended Evan’s Bar Mitzvah

Evan and his family also made a donation to ACTrees, and in late April he participated in a tree planting event sponsored by the Boston Natural Areas Network, an ACTrees member organization.

The tree planting took on added significance for Evan in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings because it took place in the tightknit community of Dorchester, which was home to the youngest victim of that terrible tragedy. Evan said that he really felt that the trees that were planted will help the community heal by bringing it new life, and hope for the future.

ACTrees is deeply grateful to Evan. His actions are a great model for educating about the value of tree planting and care, and taking action for trees in his own community. We hope others are inspired by his generous initiative and step-up to volunteer for trees in their community, or consider designating ACTrees as a beneficiary for a similar significant life event. Link to

Thanks Evan!