mitzvot from the heart: Sophie Bernstein

Sophie Bernstein

Sophie Bernstein, Congregation Shaare Emeth

Sophie always wanted to plant a vegetable garden. After receiving a $400 grant from Katie’s Krops, she purchased gardening supplies to start her garden. 

A student at Wydown Middle School and daughter of Moira and Brad Bernstein of Clayton, Sophie donated the produce to the Harvey Kornblum Jewish Food Pantry. She has made one large delivery so far and is patiently waiting for more produce to grow and ripen so she can continue her deliveries. 

What follows is Sophie’s blog about her experience.


I have always wanted to plant a vegetable garden.  My parents were not as eager or supportive to allow me to dive in the dirt to plant a garden. They assumed that a garden would be too much work to start up and that the upkeep and maintenance would be challenging. It is always fun to prove your parents wrong.

With my upcoming bat mitzvah, I started to research a variety of mitzvah project ideas. I decided that my mitzvah project would be the perfect opportunity to plant a garden and donate the crops to a local food bank. I had read about Katie’s Krops in People magazine. The non-profit organization led by a South Carolina girl encourages youth people to grow gardens to feed the hungry.

Katie’s Krops offers grants to youth who want to plant a vegetable garden and donate the produce to a local food bank. I applied for the grant and was excited to have been selected.  

First, I assessed what parts of my backyard received the most sun. I knew I wanted to be within the hose’s reach of the garden.  I decided to plant a raised garden bed, which I put together with a simple wood kit. 

I purchased both carrot and tomato seeds along with green pepper, cucumber, eggplant, hot peppers, watermelon, basil, cilantro and parsley plant seedlings to plant. All of these produce and herbs are accepted at the Harvey Kornblum Jewish Food Bank. 

Planting a garden taught me some valuable lessons about patience as I waited for the vegetables to grow. I learned to be responsible from the daily watering of the garden, a true appreciation for rain that helps ease my responsibility of watering the garden, and how to deal with frustration when rabbits, birds and squirrels nibble in my garden. Fortunately, I quickly learned to problem-solve by purchasing netting and a small fence to surround and cover the vegetable garden.  The best part of my gardening experience is that I get to give back to the community while hooking my family into gardening. We all like to go out and watch the green peppers grow, the tomatoes multiply and turn red and watch the bees pollinate over the garden.

Mitzvot from the Heart is compiled by Elise Krug. To have your child’s mitzvah project featured, email [email protected] or call 314-743-3671.