Downloading mitzvas to the iPhone

New application in memory of terror victim helps young people do good deeds.

By DOV PREMINGER
April 19, 2010 04:34
3 minute read.
Downloading mitzvas to the iPhone

iphone 88.248. (photo credit: )

 
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A new iPhone application called the Mitzvah Project aims to guide youngsters in building projects to promote tolerance in the world.

The Mitzvah Project was established in memory of Daniel Wultz, 16, who was fatally wounded by a suicide bomber at the Rosh Ha’ir shwarma stand near Tel Aviv’s old central bus station in 2006. Wultz, a 10th-grader at David Posnack Hebrew Day School in Weston, Florida, had been eating lunch with his father, Tuly (Yekutiel) Wultz.

Daniel Wultz died in the hospital 27 days later, on Mother’s Day. The blast killed 10 others and wounded 68, including his father. Islamic Jihad and Fatah’s Aksa Martyrs Brigades carried out the attack.

The new iPhone application was released on April 17, the anniversary of the attack.

Daniel’s mother, Sheryl Wultz, spoke about creating an iPhone application for the Daniel Cantor Wultz Foundation.

“First of all, there wasn’t one,” she said. “We thought it would be a very nice tribute for Daniel. He really loved mitzvas. We thought if we could do something related... It was [also] a good way for kids to be able to organize a mitzva project easily. When they go on the application – it basically walks them through it.”

Centered on encouraging bar mitzva projects – good works traditionally undertaken around the time of a bar/bat mitzva – the application promotes good works at any time.

Users are asked to list their talents – for example writing, speaking, or organization. The application then returns projects that might be of interest, in areas such as the environment, neighborhoods, home or school. All of the projects involve the number 18, which is equivalent to the Hebrew word “hai,” life.

“One project example was a performance,” said Seth Eisenberg of the PAIRS Foundation, which helped the Wultz family develop the application. “Creating a performance of 18 minutes or more that through sound and imagery shares the impact of intolerance.”


Eisenberg, who is also a neighbor of the Wultzes in Florida, cited young people’s connection to technology in explaining the reasoning behind the project.

“We recognized that young people are more plugged into technology than ever before. Really from the earliest ages, iPhones and iPods and probably very soon iPads are really a part of the daily life of millions of young people across the world,” he said. “We wanted to reach out to this new generation in ways that encourage them to do mitzvas, which were central to Daniel’s life – he was very intentional about planning what mitzvas he was going to perform that day.”

Sheryl Wultz described a recent mitzva project.

“A child came over and interviewed us. We did a little clip on YouTube of how our life is affected by Daniel’s death. He showed it to his class,” she said. “These were kids in public schools who would have otherwise not have had any connection to it.”

The Daniel Cantor Wultz Foundation was established to memorialize the values and vision that inspired Daniel’s life. The foundation strives to create a safer world by engaging youth, educators and communities in activities that promote tolerance and acceptance.

The Wultz Foundation teamed up with PAIRS – which is headquartered in Weston and teaches best practices in marriage and family life – to build the Mitzvah Project application.

The application is available on the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad, and can be downloaded from the iTunes store.

“We want people to learn about Daniel, to be inspired by him,” Tuly Wultz said. “In his 16 years of life, he inspired a lot of people. If we can spread that, dayenu [it will be enough for us].”

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