Mitzvot from the Heart: Noah Kleinlehrer

Noah Kleinlehrer

Noah Kleinlehrer | Temple Emanuel

As the son of Temple Emanuel’s Rabbi Elizabeth Hersh and Robert Kleinlehrer, Noah is the self-described congregation’s child; everyone was invited to his bar mitzvah and reception.  In his mother’s Shabbat speech, she said to Noah, “There is a legend that ‘when God measures a human being, God puts the tape around the heart not the head.  The human heart that responds to the sound of the heart of the world is the truest index of a person’s humanity.’  Your pulse, Noah, is in tune with the cries of the world. You are a true humanitarian.”

Noah requested his congregation, friends and family to make a donation to the St. Louis County Library Foundation in lieu of gifts for his bar mitzvah. He said he is supporting the foundation because reading inspires kids to do many things. The money donated to the foundation can be used to buy more books as well as support its many programs.

“Ever since I was a little kid, I have loved the library, and the discoveries that it held,” said Noah. “My mother encouraged the love of reading for me. When I was little, my mom would take me to the Daniel Boone branch, and we would sit in a comfy little red chair and read picture books together. The library was a really great place where I could connect with my mom.

 “I have always believed that every child, and people of all ages, should be able to enjoy the library. What I most enjoy is the gift of learning, and all of the knowledge that is packed into one itty bitty book.”

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Family and friends were very generous as Noah had the most donors for a single honor tribute as well as garnering the most donation dollars for a single honor tribute. seventy-seven donors contributed $4,250 to the St. Louis County Library Foundation. 

Noah said that he doesn’t need any recognition at all since the donations are for the library and he should not be the center of attention. He feels great about it, though.

Jim Bogart, development/foundation manager of the St. Louis County Library, said, “ When Noah’s mother first called to ask about arrangements to have Noah’s Bar Mitzvah gifts directed to support children’s literacy programs at the library, I was stunned. It seemed incomprehensible that anyone, much less a 13 year old young man, would consider such a gift. Since then, I have become convinced that Noah should take on world peace for his next project. All of us at the Library Foundation are inspired by Noah’s act of philanthropy. And the Library Foundation Board of Directors, at their recent meeting, approved a resolution to thank Noah for his generosity and commitment to the library.

When asked where his generous spirit comes from, Noah replied with, “Generous spirit? This is really just how I live my life; as a mitzvah, or a commandment. I try to make my life and the world around me a great place to live in. This is just how I live my life.

As Noah, a student at MICDS, looks to the future, he says when he grows up he wants to travel the world helping poor communities of all religions and race. 

“If it’s founding schools in poor areas or going to help kids around the world with curing sicknesses, I know I WILL help the worlds’ communities,” he said.