Mitzvot from the heart: Jake Burstein

Jake Burstein

Jake Burstein, Congregation Shaare Emeth

Jake really wanted his mitzvah project to be hands-on and interactive — in fact, he found three separate projects.

Son of Laurie and Mark Burstein of Chesterfield, Jake’s first project was for Gateway 180, a homeless shelter in the city. He organized friends to go to the shelter after school to read and play with the elementary-age children. He also organized “hat day” at his own school, where the students could wear a hat for a $1 dollar donation. About $200 was raised for the shelter.

 “I loved being able to read and play with the children at Gateway 180.” said Jake. “They enjoyed having us there and we all instantly bonded. Even though the kids were homeless, they were so happy to be with us. To me, it was a mitzvah to be with these kids and make them smile.”


A student at Parkway Central Middle School, Jake’s second project was filling grocery orders for the clients at Food Outreach, the only food bank that provides nutrition for those living with AIDS/HIV or cancer. Jake’s last project was volunteering with his family at the Harvey Kornblum Jewish Food Pantry. For several Sunday mornings, they stocked and organized the food donations.

“It meant a lot for him to be able to meet and work directly with the people he was helping,” said Jake’s mother, Laurie Burstein. “He was able to go to each location and interact with the clients and residents which proved to have a great impact on him and helped him understand each group’s mission at each place,” she continued.