Mitzvot from the Heart: Jennifer Goldberg

Jennifer Goldberg

Jennifer Goldberg, Temple Israel

Jennifer loves to dance and has been fortunate to participate in many singing and dancing classes over the years. She knew that other teens could not afford this luxury and hoped her mitzvah project would allow them to have the same opportunities she has had.

Through several shoe drives, Jennifer, daughter of Susan and Paul Goldberg of Ladue, collected gently used jazz, tap, ballet and hip-hop shoes. After hearing about her project, dancewearsolutions.com generously supplied about 60 of the over 100 pairs collected. Jennifer donated the shoes to COCA, which were then given to students there who might have difficulty purchasing their own. As a result of its success, COCA has made the shoe drive an annual event.

A student at MICDS, Jennifer also established a scholarship fund for pre-professional dance students at COCA this school year. She was thrilled to be able to spread her love of musical theater and dance to others. The Jennifer Goldberg Scholarship Fund will provide scholarships to students in COCA’s Talent Identified Program (TIP). These are promising young kids, ages 9-11, who take classes at COCA yet need assistance in order to participate. COCA provides them with dance instruction, dancewear, mentoring, transportation, and meals. The cost of an annual TIP scholarship is roughly $2,500 per student. Jennifer requested that donations be made to her fund in lieu of bat mitzvah presents and $10,000 was raised, enough for four TIP scholarships.

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Recently meeting Antonio Douthit-Boyd, a former TIP recipient who is now a principle dancer with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Jennifer really understood how the donations she had fostered could transform one or more lives. He was in town for a performance at the Fox Theatre and invited her backstage to meet the other dancers, and receive a signed, tour poster. When Jennifer gushed and thanked Antonio, he said, “Nothing is too much for someone like you.”

“I know how lucky I am to be a participant in dance classes and to have a pair of dance shoes on my feet when I walk into the classroom,” said Jennifer. “It was my goal to make sure I could provide others with this luxury. I was so excited for this opportunity to take action and I am so thankful for how this project turned out. Thanks to the generous support of my friends and family, I was able to turn my goal into a reality.”